The ups and downs of owning a classic motorcycle
Reader Wade Fuller remembers his buddy Bob Nichols’ CB350 racer. Photo courtesy Wade Fuller
Your Project Honda CB350 (September/October 2015) jolted my memory back to a simpler time. Could it be four decades since a Honda 350 was turned into a real race bike?
My good friend and scrambles partner Bob Nichols had chosen to go beyond the New England loam we had both so enjoyed and move up to real pro AMA racing. We had both been helped tremendously by John Larabee and his Manchester Honda, so Bob hoped to race a Honda. The new AMA rule that would allow 350 4-strokes to race with the domineering 250 2-strokes, mostly Yamahas, gave his plan a synergistic boost that extra help from Pops Yoshimura confirmed.
I lost track of Bob after a few years, but was reminded of his commitment when he made the pages of Cycle magazine riding a Yamaha TZ700 and I’m sure giving it everything it had, but being passed by Kenny Roberts on a TZ750.
Sadly, Bob passed away a few years ago, but his was one slick 350, built by his hands only. The sheen of the sandcast Keihins and the totally stock frame was the best a true privateer could do, and it got Bob a ticket to some exciting experiences.
My poor girlfriend, sleeping in the trunk of my car, probably didn’t share my enthusiasm for the lines of a race-kitted CB350. These pictures were taken at the first AMA National at Pocono and I think that would have been in 1971. MC