A Dream Realized: 1995 Aprilia RS250 Chesterfield Replica in My Garage!

When I first started getting into bikes in the early 90’s, i did a lot of research. It’s in my nature really and no wonder I love the internet so much! But before the internet, I went to the Corvallis Public Library and Linn-Benton Community College Library, which both had great collections of motorcycle magazines. I spent many afternoons reading them. After my thorough analysis (with no seat time) I really wanted a Yamaha FZR400 or an Aprilia RS250. They both had the performance and look I wanted, and I had rationalized that they’d be great first bikes. But to my dismay the 250 wasn’t being imported and the 400’s were very hard to locate as most of the public wanted the more powerful FZR600. But I figured at least they were available. Today the FZR400’s are coveted for their aluminum frames, more pure sporting mission, and performance in amateur racing classes that made them nearly as fast as the 600’s; all of which I knew then and was a large part of why I wanted one — they were special!

I ended up with a ratty FZR600 as it’s what I could afford at the time though. Here’s my original blog post on that bike at an early age riding to Sonomafest with Paul from the Willamette Valley to Bay Area.

Sonomafest really opened our eyes to the amazing talent that road racers possessed. Being able to witness their skill at speed, up close and personal, was really inspiring. We started to follow the top road racing series around the world, and in particular would watch the 250GP class on rented VCR videos. The star of that series was Max Biaggi and he rode the Chesterfield sponsored bike from Aprilia.

Watching Biaggi’s battles and victories only fueled the impossible lust that grew for the factory replica Aprilia RS250 that bears his race livery. But I never really thought I’d have an opportunity to have one considering they weren’t being imported. Here’s a picture of the race replica offered by Aprilia in 1995. I took this picture at the Barber Motorsport Museum:

Aprilia RS250 Chesterfield 2 stroke

Back to Sonomafest, it is one of my favorite road trip memories because we were essentially broke, had no proper gear, but made the trip anyway with great success as two wide-eyed enthusiasts joined up with what felt like thousands of our soon-to-be peers.

As we were staging up for the parade lap of Sears Point that was included with our Cycle World ‘Sonomofest’ ticket package, a guy pulled up next to me on an Aprilia Chesterfield replica — and it even had plates, which certainly added to the excitement of seeing an example like this that was legal-ish to ride on the street! The guy probably thought I was nuts as I practically fell running over to him, motioning to him that I wanted to talk. I tried to ask him how you get an RS250 into the states and get it plated. You could tell he had been asked this a million times, but he wasn’t giving up any secrets today and rode off.

Ever since I’ve been watching the ads. And sure enough, every now and again over the years, I would spot an RS250 that was for sale. Not often, but the more that surfaced, the more intent I became on watching the entire web to spot these rare opportunities.

After getting my job as a Web Services Manager in 2005, I started this personal blog that you are reading right now. And on occasion I started to blog car and bike classifieds I found from time to time that I found interesting and wanted to share. {sorry most of the images are broken on these ancient links!}

In some part, the RS250 and bikes like it, is what made me want to start Rare Sport Bikes For Sale and German Cars For Sale Blog.

Skip to 2008 and I actually blogged this exact bike when it came up for sale last time: http://raresportbikesforsale.com/1995-aprilia-rs250-chesterfied-replica/ Later I would find out that it was actually owned by an old childhood friend of mine, who is a part owner of SpeedyMoto. He invited me over to look at it and explained that he couldn’t actually go through with the sale. It was his wife’s bike and she got it from a family friend that went through considerable expense importing it into New York from Holland.

But on Tuesday last week he emailed that it was again available and asked if I could help list the bike on RSBFS. I said of course I can, but before we do that, I’M INTERESTED!

We quickly settled on a price and the bike is now in my garage with the Ducati 750SS. Now that I’ve been up close with the bike, it’ll be a 7/10 cosmetically when it gets cleaned up. Long story short, it needs some serious time on the buffer. They used it as a backup track day bike and occasional Sunday rider. It’s great mechanically, probably 9/10. Not to mention it came with crazy spares too. Like a full race body kit, a piston rebuild kit, and a factory decal kit that will allow me to restore the factory body work to new when I’m ready some day.

Luckily the day we went to get it in Portland, it was an amazing 60 degrees outside in January. That’s unheard of but it made for an amazingly awesome test ride in the sun. It makes about 60hp at the rear wheel and weighs in at 308lbs dry. The gearing is very aggressive right now and as Paul said, first gear is silly. There is next to no power below 6k, but then it starts moving and showing some grunt as the revs climb. When you hit 8k the real magic happens and in an instant another 20-30hp kicks in. It screams to the 12k redline immediately as it tries to lift the front end up — and I’m no lightweight myself! A very special experience was realized this day, and one not soon to be forgotten.

Since I read those magazine articles, it only took 16 years to get what I thought I’d never put my hands on. And this is going to sound corny but it probably wouldn’t have happened if RSBFS wasn’t created. The reach, connections, and friendships that the site enjoys has helped me to share what has completely exceeded my expectations and I feel very fortunate.

A quick shout out to SpeeyMoto and Christian Hanson. Thanks for the call!

dc

Motorcycling Trips to be Remembered: Sonomafest 1995

We attended the AMA Superbike races at Sears Point 13 years ago when we made a week long trip down to Sonoma to catch Sonomafest. If I recall correctly, we decided on this trip after reading the recent Cycle World magazine, which features our favorite automotive and motorcycle journalist, Peter Egan and his account of the trip the previous year. Sitting on the porch (the tiny concrete pad in front of door) of my duplex, we once again let beer decide, and we were going. Unfortunately we didn’t meet Peter that year, but did pull a great motorcycling and camping trip that we haven’t really duplicated since. Recently our motorcycling trip to the Olympic Peninsula was our chance to relive that trip.

Suddenly it seems like an eternity ago (see, there it is again), but years ago our trip began by suiting up for our 2 day trip to the bay area from Corvallis, Oregon. Looking back, I was hardly prepared for such a trip, but that naive and youthful nature is what makes the trip even more special to remember.

{Note: time stamp on photos is incorrect.}

dan and bikes and 145 wagon before roadtrip

posing with the bikes before the trip

When we arrived for Thursday evening practice, tent camping inside the racetrack hadn’t opened yet. We were pointed to another track campground called ’40 acres’. Turns out this was only a mowed field that served as overflow parking for the NASCAR event to accommodate the 100k+ fans that turn out for their biggest weekend of the year at Sears Point. Or in other words, no services, including honey buckets. We were the only fans to show up that early and had the entire field to ourselves in fact. All the other early fans stayed in Sonoma a few minutes away. Needless to say, our budget working pizza jobs didn’t accommodate such luxury. It was actually just us and our tiny tent, and a half rack of Coors Light, whom we later decided had sponsored our camping weekend. Amazing the creativity of 21 year olds with a marker and a stack of beer cans!

sonoma road trip camping 40 acres

katana sonoma loaded up with coors

bikes and tent at sunrise

Best I can recollect, we made the trip in 1995 when Sears Point legend Miguel Duhamel was still the man to beat at that track. Upcoming stars that year included Ben Bostrom, Nicky Haden, and my favorite, Australian Anthony Gobert. Here’s a pic with Doug Polen, Miguel Duhamel, and a very young Nicky Haden. In the very back it might be Eric Bostrom. Either the Superbike or SuperSport class. Hard to know without notes and help from the internet. I tried though. If you can help, please comment below!

sears point camping view

That shot was taken from the campground when campsites were still located in the middle of the track in the carousel complex. You would literally wake to the sound of the street sweeper and then the first run group at 8:00AM every morning. Ready or not, here come 30-50 high strung motorcycles, all screaming around the back of your head. Talk about a wake up call! I distinctly remember wishing I hadn’t smoked so many cigarettes the night before!

Here are some more shots of us that weekend:

setting up the new campsite at the track

fzr and katana at sears point

There are many more memories from that trip, like the massive Cycle World group ride that rode more like a GP race and resulted in Editor Edwards getting a fat ticket! But really it serves as a reminder that sweet road trips have been few and far between since graduating college. I’m going to have to make some changes to tour more often, on two wheels or four. A great memory awaits that won’t be experienced from the couch.

dc