Ridin' Around with John Boettcher

By John Boettcher

I joined the MGNOC in April of '98 after the purchase of my first Moto Guzzi, a 1976 T-3 with 31,000 miles on it. I had been riding bikes since I was a teenager and had been doing roadkill style trips for quite a while, and even though I had over 200,000 combined miles on a few Yamaha SR500s and Honda CX500s, I thought the 100,000 miles badge on a Guzzi I read about would be a cheap thrill. (I would learn later it wouldn't be cheap!) I rode the T-3 every chance I got and then some, even to Alaska on a bike that was 23 years old. I later picked up a '73 Eldorado with 30,000 miles on it in May of '99 to join the T-3. I added a sidecar in April of 2000. I rode these bikes silly, went on trip after trip and rally after rally, learning more about Guzzis after each new challenge: Alternator rotors, U-joints, transmission nut working loose and popping a huge hole in the casing, shift return springs, timing chain adjusters, clutch splines, flaking cylinder bores, cylinder heads, and even a cracked cam gear. It made my younger years of being an auto mechanic pay off. It was stuff I never had to deal with on my other bikes, but I wouldn't trade the experiences for anything. It really helps make you become "one" with the machine!

Well, in May of 2000, 26 months after buying my first Guzzi, I put on my first 100,000 Guzzi miles on my way back from the Louisiana rally hosted by William and Yvonne Griffith. I can still remember the shirt I was wearing at the time. It was the 2000 Louisiana MGNOC rally T-shirt, one of the best designed rally shirts Iíve ever seen. In fact, William and Yvonne are considering printing up another batch of the shirts because they sold out so fast at the rally. You should contact them if you're interested in one. Just look up state reps on page two of any newsletter.

Now it's November as I write this and the Eldorado has 69,000 miles on it and the T-3 has over 110,000 miles. I just finished getting the ratty T-3 ready for a trip down south over Thanksgiving, and it still runs fantastic. It even has the same points in it when I bought it. A little emery, and a slight adjustment, and they're good to go. The bike isn't pretty by any means, but it's very functional. The only time it ever gets washed is when I ride it in the rain. The addiction doesnít seem to ever stop, either. I bought a 1971 Ambo a few months ago through the generosity of MGCL listees (Internet contact). Thanks to Andy Hill and David Washburn, for donating some parts that were missing, plus some stuff from MG Cycle and Moto Guzzi Classics. I should have it ready or at least running by spring. Then just today, I committed to purchase a 1974 850T that I'll have to fetch from Slidell, Louisiana. I guess I really am hooked!  

Copyright ©1999-2012, John Boettcher, all rights reserved
Contact John at:  ratguzzi@hotmail.com