Thursday 23 December 2010

AJS Grand Pile

Dunno if I put this here before, or where I got the pic. Some bludy web place or some thing. Cheers.
This found on google under the search term AJS Grand Pile. The article speaks of a time in 1950 and a guy named Jack Hurst and a tuner named Bud White. Article from American Motorcyclist July 1994 by Mary Hurst. Here it is: "Bud owns a bike shop in Glendale, and his racing machine is fasioned from a 1948 rigid-framed 500cc AJS/Matchless. The AJ is cheap transportation, not noted for speed, but handles well. Bud had lovingly blueprinted the engine, ground the cams, welded up center-fire heads, lightened the valve train and
toyed with intake and exhaust tracts.
     With his regular rider Nick Nicholaides aboard, Buds unlikely little firebreather has won main events at Carroll Speedwat Tulare, Culver City, Lincoln Park and Riverside, waxing Indians, Harleys and BSA's. Bud deary loves sticking it to the factory bikes. When Triumph names a model the Grand Prix, Bud christens his AJS the "Grand Pile" in a lighthearted protest of pretentiousness.
       Track announcers love it: "And heeerrre comes Nick Nicholaides on the Graaannddd Piiiille!"
       Nicholaides is on a racing tour of Europe. So Friday night, instead of loading his own stripped down AJS into the '29 Dodge pickup, Jack will take a dream ride on the "Grand Pile"
      As the first heat race ponies up, Bud, who always pounds on people for emphasis, punches Jack on the arm and hollers, "Don't fall down and don't break anything!"
      After placing second in his heat, the young man wins the feature and a lot more: A lifetime of memories. It will be Jack's sole night of racing victory. Henceforth his daytime career and family take center stage.
      The little AJ becomes Jacks dream machine of memory. Sal Colura campaigns an updated version of the machine around California into the late '50s, by which time it is hopelessly obsolete and fades from the scene.
     It's 1989. Jack Hurst is 60 and he still remembers vividly his moment of glory.
     Picking through Bud Ekins' famed motorcycle boneyard, he discovers a rigid AJS frame, two engines and assorted odd parts. A new "Grand Pile" project, which will remain a faithfull to the original as possible, is born.
      In addition to parts and priceless information from Ekins, Bud White's son, Ron, provides the original gas tank and digs up a set of "Bud White Master Cams." John Schaefer, Bud's stepson, does the porting, valves and seats, and gives generously from his wealth of information.
       By September 1993, nearly half a century after the original, the new "Grand Pile" is revved up and rarin' to go. And Hurst has found the perfect venue for it - the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association (AHRMA) vintage flat-track in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
      This time the riding duties go to Art Carter. The competition is tough, including more recent Matchless, Triumph and BSA machines, but in the Dinosaur class, the AJS wins easily. Art starts poorly in the Classic Vintge race, but still wins. Then, despite a practice crash, he takes the TT Classic victory as well.
      Three races and three wins for the "Grand Pile II." Old Bud White and the boys would have been proud."


  1. The disc brake subtracted 1000 points

  2. There's a good story behind this bike, not sure what the disk is all about.

  3. Man, I'd love to take that home.
    All you need!

  4. I know this is a little late posting, but I knew Bud White, Ron White and John Schaefer. These men combined had more experience, talent, knowledge and balls than any other in dirt track racing of yesteryears. Bud retired and moved to Reedley CA in the sixties or early 70's. He died in about 1984 or 85 on his own terms. Ronnie moved from Southern Cal in the 1990's to Gardnerville NV until his passing around 2014 and John Schaefer in Sac until his passing in 2015. The wealth of information that passed with these men will never again be duplicated. This bike pictured here is a tribute bike built to honor these 3 men, and a damn good job was done with the build. That's why you see a disc brake on it. The real bike is long gone. Ron, Bud's son built his version before he passed and named it the "sprung pile" I was lucky enough to watch him race it at the Ventura County Fairgrounds in 1994. These men were true racers/tuners of their time, fearless. I admire these men and what they contributed to dirt track racing history and motorcycle building in general. Rest in peace guys.

    Shane King

    1. Ron was my grandpa and we still have the grand pile bike! So cool to hear stories of his prime. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Ron was my grandpa and best friend. It is awesome to hear such kind words. We have the sprung pile in the shop and the original grand pile tank on the wall.