OCEAN GROVE RESIDENT PHIL CAPOZZI’S 1970’S BSA

When it comes to vintage bikes scooting around the greater Asbury Park area, not too many are cooler than Ocean Grove resident Phil Capozzi’s 1970’s BSA. The bike is a true work of art. Every time I see it buzzing around town I get a little wet in the pants. Just saying. Phil’s BSA was even featured recently on the popular motorcycle blog BIKEexif.com. Here’s what Phil had to say about the build. First tell me about the bike. Where did you find it?

The bike is a ‘70s era BSA flat track race bike, once owned and tuned by my friend Bill Bradshaw. I hung out with he and the guys back when I was in college nearly 40 years ago. He raced up and down the east coast and at the TT races at the Houston Astrodome back then.

About 4 years ago I was visiting him with my friend Tom Freund from OG who wanted to know more about Flat Tracking. While we were there I told Bill that for the past 35 years I have day dreamed about having one of his BSAs of my own. His response? He thought I was out of my fucking mind.

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What kind of condition was it in when you got it?

Well, it wasn’t really in any condition, it wasn’t even a bike. All I got at the start were boxes of assorted motor parts, which was all Bill still had after 30 years.

So can you tell me about the BSA build? 

See, I’m not a bike builder, just a guy with this day dream but I wanted one and thought, what the hell I can put it together. But, after I got home, I have to say, I thought I was crazy too. What the hell I am going to do now?!!!

I started searching the internet in a pretty unorganized fashion to get myself started. My wife commonly referred to this as my motorcycle porn phase. As I looked into this I discovered a whole new world out there. What I had to do was figure out the goal. Was it to build a replica from new and used parts or resurrect one of “the” bikes? Truthfully, I wanted one of the original bikes.

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Was it hard to find parts?

To do that, I had to track down pieces of those original bikes. It took over a year, but I was able to find one of the riders, “Rowdy” Rick Stone up in the Berkshires, he had quite a few of the original parts. For me, Stoney had two key pieces, the custom made Trackmaster race frame w/forks and a gas tank with the original paint scheme. He also had a Bates seat, handle bars, sprockets, a Borrani wheel and original Carlisle race tire.

Explain the restoration process?

I brought all the parts home, then they sat in my basement for over a year, then in a friends shop for a while. I really didn’t know where to start. There was still a lot of work to do, and I needed help. I searched out the go to guy in NJ for working on British bikes, Dave Schostkewitz, of Classic Cycles, LTD to help. I packed everything in the pickup and delivered it all to Dave’s shop where he put it all together and made it run. He built a strong A65 650cc motor, cleaned up the frame, which was nickel plated once again. We also put some updated electronics to make it run better. Also, keeping true to the racing format I insisted Mikuni carburetors be used.

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How long did it take to complete?

As all projects like this, it went from use what parts we have (cheap) to doing it right (not so cheap). All in it took about 4 years from start to finish, but the end product is fantastic. With Dave’s help and encouragement along with my checkbook we did it right.
Well…what’s it like to ride?

Fun, even without a front brake!!

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Biggest Surprise?

How much attention it is getting from around here and around the world. The bike was featured on BIKE a great motorcycle blog out of New Zealand. We have 3.9K likes on their Facebook page. I had to have professional photos taken for the blog, so with the help of my friend Erik Landsberg we got some great images up on the boardwalk. But really the biggest surprise was finding out the permit fee to take pictures on the AP Boardwalk is $750.00…holy shit. Good thing we took a bunch of images before we were thrown off by the cops.

What’s next?

I’m taking the bike up to Bradshaw’s this weekend to show him the finished product. It’ll be a reunion of sorts. After 30 years my best friend growing up, two of the riders, one of the mechanics, assorted family and friends are coming together on Saturday to check it out, it will be a great time.

Look for an article in Cycle Source Magazine, I think it will be in the January issue.

Finding my next project bike, one that I’ll do a lot of the work on myself.

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Old-Richtmeyer-002Phil’s BSA back in the day

 

 

5 Responses to “OCEAN GROVE RESIDENT PHIL CAPOZZI’S 1970’S BSA”

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    WOW – This is totally cool! A wonderful adventure.

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