The morbidly obese and slightly long-in-the-tooth Triumph Rocket III has been a favorite of the morbidly obese, slightly long-in-the-tooth riding sect for the last thirteen years. While a cruiser, many owners don’t really bother going down the custom route for their rides. Modified examples of the 2300cc beast usually just feature a pallet’s worth of matte black paint and around four hundred yards of exhaust wrap. But now Sydney-based builder Wenley Andrews has worked his cafe racer magic on a 2006 Rocket III and given it the looks to match the gigantic torquey engine underneath.
Imagine thusly. You’re a fan of Evel Knieval (who isn’t?) and you decide to honour your hero by trying a few big jumps yourself. Now you’ll be wanting a bike that’s up to the job. Something with a decent amount of go that’s light, tough and has a suspension set-up that can take a seriously bone-crushing landing in it’s stride. So, which bike would you choose? If you’re anything like the Nitro Circus or the Crusty Demons you’d probably opt for a nice little Yamaha YZ250 or the popular Honda CRF250F. Good choice, my imaginary stunters. And what bikes would you never jump in a million years? A Harley Roadking? Of course. What about one of those O.C. choppers with the 20 ft forks and all the spikey bits? No friggin’ way. And it goes without saying that you’d have to be as crazy as a shirt full of feral cats to try it on a stock standard 1970 Laverda 750 vintage racer, wouldn’t you?
Cinematographer and long-time friend of Pipeburn, Andrew David Watson, takes up the story. “I’ve been keeping my eye out for a good motorcycle short story since finishing the piece on Liberty Vintage last year. I was flipping through the pages of Classic Motorcycle and saw a short article about a guy named Louis “Rocket” Re, who jumps a stock 1970 American Eagle Laverda 750 in homage to Evel Knievel. I thought it was pretty awesome that he was jumping a vintage motorcycle and I was even more surprised to found out that he lived somewhat close to me. I decided to try and track Louis and see if he would be interested in being filmed. After only a few emails I was on the phone with Louis making plans to shoot.”
“Stylistically I wanted to do something that was a bit of a departure from my other work and other motorcycle films. Louis has a fantastic outlook on life so I decided to go with a more colorful approach. It was really great meeting and working with Louis. I really respect his dedicated, motivation and drive to follow his dreams, hopefully this piece expresses that!”