JB's Top 10 MO Photos!

John Burns
by John Burns

I'm doomed if Canon decides to build a Text Generating Device

Hey, if Brasfield can get away with it, why can’t I? In the good old days, a big-time professional such as myself would be accompanied by an also professional photographer, but that’s so 2010. Luckily, thanks to the geniuses at Canon, anybody who can push a button can now get decent results. Here are my favorites from the last few years. (In case you don’t already know, clicking on MO photos makes them not just bigger but usually also sharper. No one knows why…)

10. Rollin’ up 395

Combining business with pleasure is the best; a few years ago I got the chance to “test” a couple of Hondas by riding up in the eastern Sierra of California with my boy, Ryan, for a little fishing expedition. California can definitely feel a tad congested along the Pacific coast, but a journey up Highway 395, on the other side of the Sierra Nevada range, is a whole other ball game. For me, this shot sums up what motorcycling and the great American West are all about.

9. Ice Cream!

What makes MO a great place to work are the great people I work (play with motorcycles) with. Whilst testing the Zero DSR last summer, why wouldn’t we get grab a quick cone at Watson’s Drug in downtown Orange? The girl inside doesn’t know quite what to make of T-Rod, but looks like she wants to give him the benefit of the doubt.

8. Tom McComas’s rara avises

I’d been bugging Hollywood stuntman Tom McComas for months to do an Archive about his rare GSX-R750RR, which turned into an even more fun day than I’d anticipated when he brought his pal Savannah Lynx along for the ride. More than a pretty face, Savannah turned out to be a really great human and thoughtful enough to wear color-coordinated gear.

Tom may be a big shot in the movie biz now with an ocean-front house in Venice Beach, but deep inside he’s a middle-class kid from Detroit who’s occasionally as astounded by his good fortune as anybody in his position would be. Unlike some others in the biz I could name, he even picked up the lunch tab. Cheers, TM!

7. Silencing the Critics

I managed to finagle a road trip to Texas a few years ago, where I rode around for a few days on this borrowed Indian Chief Classic. Would the critics accept it? They’ve since killed off Victory, but it’s looking like Indian will make it… Anyway, the light was nice when I stopped here and these asses joined me to make it a foursome.

I also met some real cowboys. Retired judge/ accomplished saddleman/ gentleman rancher John Elick had never been on a motorcycle in his life, but after sitting on mine he wanted to know, ‘How do you ride one a’ these, anyway?’

6. GP Bikes one Stumbles Upon…

Okay, so this shot’s a bit dark, but it just makes the red of the Ducati MotoGP bike that much more shockingly hot against the cool interior of MotoGP Werks, where it was in for a bit of loving care one day.

Rows of gray industrial racks full of more pedestrian Kawasakis make Ed Lawson’s old KR500 stand out, too, especially when offered up for the camera on a forklift.

5. Respect your elders…

Squaring your offspring’s observation that only gray-bearded old guys ride Harleys with his wish to ride your new Street 750 resulted in this photo and life lesson.

4. Getting all Artsy with it

Using a tripod and timer didn’t keep the ground from shaking when the southbound Surfliner came through, but I like this shot of the 2016 CB500F anyway.

3. Hero

Multi-time 500 GP champ Eddie Lawson couldn’t be a more gracious human, but now and then a little steely-eyed gunfighter shows through. Maybe that’s enough questions for now.

2. Front row seat

At the Catalunya MotoGP a couple years ago, I got into the press room; its long front window angles outward above the top of pit lane. The glass reflections and long shadows as Rossi’s crew make his Yamaha ready for morning practice make this one of my keepers.

Also this one of Tito Rabat breaking in a new podium girl.

1. Bryan Smith at the 2014 Pomona Half-Mile

It was dark as the inside of a cow in Turn 4 during practice at the Pomona Half-Mile, but I panned along with this speeding blur and pushed the button anyway: Later at home on the laptop, I turned up the exposure on iPhoto and this grainy shot of Bryan Smith emerged. Smith won the Main that night and his Crosley Kawasaki has kicked the last few flat-track seasons’ butts. No it’s not sharp, but the long exposure my baby Canon picked out gives a great vintage blurred-wheels look, and the car headlights in the background could be flames. My best shot, basically, was a complete accident. I’ll take it.

John Burns
John Burns

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