My name is Richard Brock Hall. My Dad, Harry Hall brought home a 350 GTR back in 1969. He bought the motorcycle from a young man at work who could not afford to own it once he got it home. Dad had Polio so the right side gear shift made it possible for him to get in the wind. Dad would take each of us four kids for rides whenever the weather in Buffalo, NY allowed. Soon Dad had to make his GTR different than the others. He was a talented artist who enjoyed the old school stuff when it came to designing work. It wasn't long before he sported a lace paint job and custom seat on his scoot.
I always was side by side when Dad was out cleaning his pride and joy, Mom of course had different thoughts. We lived in a modest home in Niagara Falls without a garage so a metal shed protected the bike during those long winters. Having a father who rode a motorcycle with a handicap was something you didn't see to much of back then. Dad would take me on various Poker and Dice runs with a small group of guys from his work. I don't ever remember winning anything but I do remember sitting back and enjoying the ride.
Soon I had shoveled enough snow and delivered enough newspapers to buy myself a 125 Honda trail bike. I rode it everywhere I was allowed and a lot of places I wasn't. Soon the local police had my number and the bike became impounded. I never understood at the age of 12 when I wasn't harming anything why the law wanted my 125 out of the alleys and dirt trails near the railroad tracks. I lost the bike for good and at the time lost respect for those cops also.
Once I turned 15 Dad allowed me to learn on his machine. First up and down the driveway then out between the first few sets of neighbors driveways. Dad took me down for my permit and than my drivers test. I passed without any problem. Dad would allow me to run down the block to the local store for small items, which I would carry in a backpack. On my 16th birthday Dad walked me out to the rusting metal shed, unlocked the door and slid them open. Sitting on top of his prized possession was a birthday card and the keys to "my" Bridgestone. Needless to say it was a birthday I remember 32 years ago. It was early November and with a couple of feet of snow on the ground taking my first ride on my new scoot would have to wait a few months.
I kept the scoot in tip top shape for 2 years, driving from Niagara Falls to Rochester for parts when I needed them. Parts were limited by then and I'm sure they are even more limited now. I enlisted in the Military in 1980 and left the bike in my best friends garage for safe keeping until I returned back to Niagara Falls from my tour. Well, I never did return to Niagara Falls and stayed in the military until 2003. The bike was long gone as was my childhood friend. I did make contact with him throughout the years and promised to one day return to retrieve mine & Dad's Bridgestone. Sadly things didn't work out that way, Frank's family moved to Florida and my beloved Bridgestone 350 GTR stayed behind, covered in their garage as it had been for 20 years.
I did make contact with the new owners whom had brought Frank's parents home. They had given my bike away, along with those spare parts I had accumulated over two years, to a very lucky man they had hired to clean up the "mess" left behind.
One day I will buy another 350 GTR. I still have one picture of it, which I carried in my wallet for many years. One day maybe I can do what my Dad did and give my son something that he will never forget.
RIP Dad. I love you.
Richard Brock Hall