Andrew Kern always loomed large and went out to play with the Big Dogs!

 

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2015 Jan 10

Andrew Kern always loomed large and went out to play with the Big Dogs – no small measures for this guy: go big or go home.

My first encounters with him were in the late 70s and one of the things he did then was restoring a big red Buick Wildcat convertible with a big 455 V8 engine if I remember . A few months ago I was able to tell him that I remembered that car. Andrew seemed pleased with my remembrance of his car.

Last summer 2014 Andrew and I were on a motorcycle trip from Vernon to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah where Andrew wanted to run his motorcycle (boosted by NOx, nitrous oxide) on the salt. Yes, of course we talked about “The World’s Fastest Indian” motorcycle that New Zealander Burt Munro spent years building and successfully raced and set speed records.

For Andrew to be able to run his motorcycle on the salt flats, we became aware that the Speed Week of the week before was cancelled because of heavy rains -rains in Utah on the Bonneville Salt Flats? Yes, and there was still quite a lake on the salt flats but there was an area where motorcycle speed runs were being made. To get to the timed speed runs, Andrew and I were informed that we would have to run our motorcycles through the salt brine lake.

Andrew went in without hesitation and set up a bow wave of salt water as he rode very carefully through the lake but I hesitated until I thought that if Andrew did run a timed speed run with his NOx boosted motorcycle, I might come in handy to collect parts. In I went into the water, set up my own bow wave of brine and followed Andrew. It turned out that he couldn’t run his motorcycle for safety reasons and he and I spent a few hours looking into the tents of the racers and talking bikes.

At the end of the first day on the Bonneville Salt Flats we had to ride our bikes through the salt water again to arrive at dry land and subsequently to a car wash to hose our bikes down and try to remove most of the salt.

Andrew raced his other motorcycle on the drag strips; it too was NOx boosted. Big cars, big motorcycles, and big pickup trucks are things that Andrew cared for deeply and were his passion during those years when I knew him.

Otto Rieve

 

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