Smoke Out 16By Jeff Najar
The Smoke Out is a microcosm of life, love and moto-culture. I rolled into the event with a Jeep instead of my chopper because my wheeling~dealing failed to deliver a hi-po EVO mill, just a stillborn v-twin that pushes oil through the rocker boxes. I had worked out a deal that provided a free engine. At the current $1,280 its not free and I'm still looking for a solution. But that's another story.
Hot, Hot, Hot This year the Smoke Out temps hit a sustained 100+ mind-numbing degrees. I kept cool by loading the cowboy hat with ice. Everyone was looking for ways to stay cool and took innovative approaches to keep the body temperature down.
I met up with Bandit on the grounds of the Smoke Out as he was rolling in on his new Indian Chief. Last year he put a deal together with Rich Woorley of American Biker of Charleston, SC for a customized sled. His new Indian flies the 5 Ball Racing color scheme of his Panheads that have won multiple Bonneville titles.
Bling’s Cycle - Dodge of Bling’s Cycle brought Egret, a custom chopper built in memory of his close friend John Green. The chop is simple, clean, functional and bitchin’. Egret is very pure and solid chopper built to emphasize the 52 FL Panhead engine and coupled to a 1946 H-D tranny. Shaggy will be writing a multipage feature on Dodge’s custom bike in rag.
Smoke Out's House BandRebel Son has become a Friday night Smoke Out tradition. It's an original honky tonk rockabilly band based out of Raleigh, NC. Consisting of guitarist/singer/songwriter Lee Johnson, drummer Tom Warwick & bassist Dave Schneider, Rebel Son electrifies you with a high-octane journey as they proclaim their blue-collar doctrine. They're course, profane and the chopper jockeys love'm.
RIP Richie Pan
Richie Pan passed away when he was struck by a car crossing a road in North Carolina
The motorcycle community lost a bright light during Smoke Out 16. Richard Panarra, 49, and Michael Napolitano, 54, both of Jackson, New Jersey, were killed when they were struck by a car just outside Aberdeen at 1850 US Highway 1 near the Sizzlin Steak or Eggs Restaurant in the southbound lane around 1AM while crossing U.S. 1.
Friends told police that the two men, who were staying at the Best Western hotel while attending the Smoke Out 16 event in Rockingham, were headed to a bar before the accident happened.
From Tyler Ludlow, Bikernet Baggers
As I slowly pulled into the party, Rene, Edge's wife and the Smoke Out's VP, approached my truck, and I relayed what info I could.
Moments later the party was in full force with a kiddie pool of beers, The Horse Staff, and Stampede riders leading the parade of noise and backslapping that so often falsely puts hotel managers on the edge of their seats. The boys in blue made their rounds, which made everyone nervous. Not for the exhaust notes or the topless girls in the pool, but because the scene of a very large accident was visable from the party in the parking lot. They said nothing. Spacey from The Horse mag played acoustic guitar in the lobby for everyone.
Around 1:30am, the the worst materialized. I noticed Edge walk off with his phone against his ear. This is always a bad omen in the early hours of the event. He has direct communication with the local police and of course his own security. He announced to no one in particular, "They think it's Richie out there. Let's go Spacey," on his heels.