An expat’s finest hour

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“They were a little heavy on the front end,” says Reg, “and that was all the more reason for not getting too heavy-handed with pushing and shoving. I coaxed it with my body more so than shoving on it with the bars.”

One trick accomplished by German-born Gietl had to do with the aerodynamics of the R90S racebike’s fairing. With no expensive wind tunnel for the Butler & Smith budget build, Gietl took fairings already wind tunnel tested and proven by Honda and Yamaha and effectively mated them in a perfect fit for the BMW.

To finish first, first you must finish!

At 1976’s second AMA race in June at Loudon, New Hampshire, 21-year old Mike Baldwin of Pasadena, California ran off with the Superbike win on a Moto Guzzi Le Mans, while Reg’s R90S trailed home in second.

“I loved the track there,” says Reg of Loudon’s technical challenges. “It had good corners.” Bottom line, he wanted points.

The third Superbike outing of the ’76 season was August 1 at Laguna Seca. This time, Reg’s BMW took victory over Keith Code’s Kawasaki after Reg got past him early in the race.

What happened to BMW’s other rider, Steve McLaughlin, at Laguna? An incident on the final lap was caught in a photograph that shows McLaughlin’s riderless BMW, wheels up, bars and tank down—in mid-air, like it was hung on wires. Pridmore and McLaughlin had just come off the steep Corkscrew and were racing for the checkered flag, only a turn away.

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