Being your Club e-mag The Jawa Motorcyclist knows that all any of you want for Christmas is to know what the Jawa 660 would look like in Silver. So we sent our Top Investigative Reporter Pat Brennan to find out. His spider senses tingled at the prospect and they guided him to the motherland, where he secured this photo.
The silver-grey 660 was being exhibited at the "Gaudeamus" European education and lifelong learning exhibition in Brno on 2-4 November.
We are indeed very fortunate to have the worlds only vegetarian Spider Man as our Top Investigative Reporter.
Thanks Pat or should I say SPIDERMAN
Of course it was never “The Jawa Club” - it was actually the Jawa / CZ / MZ and any other motley bike you care to think of; the only stipulation was that your two or three-wheeled mode of transport couldn’t be “Jap Crap”!! Back in the dying years of the 1970’s ‘Cousin Phil’ got himself a bike! He was living in Dublin and travelling to Waterford every weekend so, in those pre Celtic Tiger days when public transport was scarce and expensive and no young person could afford car insurance, never mind a car, a bike seemed to make perfect sense. Phil was influenced in this decision by two people. His dad Larry, who had traversed the highways and byways of Ireland in a tuxedo on a Bantam in the 1950s (I kid you not, full story some other time!) gave Phil the go-ahead. A much more important influence on Phil was a colleague in the Department of Agriculture - a bearded, shadowy figure called Pat Brennan who had a penchant for all things Czech - even to the point of learning the language!! (I can still hear the scratchy ‘Teach Yourself Czech’ records: “To je staré auto” or something that sounded like that!). At any rate Phil took the plunge and bought himself a shiny new CZ 175 and a new era in his - and my- life was begun! Every Friday we would saddle up and head home to Waterford to train for or play in a hurling game. Phil obviously was the pilot while my role was that of mule i.e. balancing precariously behind carrying at least two hurley sticks, two gear bags and two bags of dirty washing for the mammies to take care of before the return trip late on Sunday or, sometimes, pre-dawn on Monday. Oh the good life!.
I suppose it had to happen but I caught the bug and wanted my very own JAWA. At about this time some dealer in Cork imported a consignment of 350s in what, if I remember correctly was a tax scam which went wrong. He was looking to dispose of the bikes in a hurry and I remember the price was £500 (that’s about €600) which I suppose would equate to about €3,000 in today’s terms. Ah but you should see these bikes!! - they were orange not sludge maroon colour and, wait for this, had an oil pump! Yes indeed, no more mixing two stroke with the petrol on a frosty morning in the petrol station! State of the art technology that was -( technology which I bitterly came to resent not so long afterwards, details later); I was smitten; my days as pillion passenger were over, a loan from the Credit Union was secured and the bike was bought! I remember the day I took delivery - not merely because I was now a biker but because it was the day the Pope arrived in Ireland! While one million Irish people were on the way to pay their respects in the Phoenix Park, I was pouring thick smoke into the blue skies over Drumcondra; while I was burning the tyre rubber the Papal plane passed overhead; I could swear I saw John-Paul looking down and I lip read him saying something like “You poor stupid bastard” but I might have been mistaken!
My first time on the bike was nearly my last! How was I to know the gears were the opposite of those on Phil’s older machine?! ( One up, three down vs one down, three up!) The bike (214SZJ) opened up a new chapter in my life, brought travel, fun, frustration but above-all friendship. Memories from those years include the weekly Jawa Club meetings - Wednesday night ‘roast joints’ in the Breffney in Blackrock, the Jawa Club even winning the annual pub quiz on a couple of occasions! Indeed, I remember the night my first child was born: we won the Breffney quiz and I arrived at the maternity hospital, on the bike and ‘under the influence’ to present my wife and newly born daughter with the trophy! (That Emer and I are still together after that is probably amazing!).
One of the highlights of the early years of the JAWA club was the trip to Clare when we rented a couple of cottages and in a cloud of choking smoke headed for what turned out to be a fantastic few days in the West where we ‘bonded’ and cemented friendships which have endured to this day. To add to the mystique we were refused admission to a pub because “We don’t serve the likes of you!”!!! Another highlight was a trip to the JAWA Rally in King’s Lynn in England - a wonderful occasion, meeting, drinking and singing with JAWA lovers from all over Britain, and beyond. Pat Brennan even made us eat in an Indian restaurant which, in those simpler days, was a first for many of us! I brought a beautiful present home to my wife - a Velorex sidecar! Joy unconfined!
The years moved on, the children arrived and, with the best will in the world the JAWA / Velorex couldn’t cater for two adults and five kids! A car had to be purchased, the chair sold and the bike put into storage in the shed - where it still languishes. However, with many more years behind me that lie ahead of me, I feel a late-life crisis coming on. I hear there is - shout it from the rooftops - a JAWA dealer in town. (What would we have given thirty years ago for a local JAWA dealer, all parts had to be posted from England). A new JAWA , at my age?? Why not? Do they do Velorex as well? !! Mick, what’s the address?!!!!
To Mick, Pat, Gerry, Phil, Brendan, Brian, Peadar and all the others, thanks for the memories. What’s that film that comes to mind? “Wild Hogs”, I think ! I feel a re-union coming on....with one stipulation, everybody must be on a JAWA!! - No Jap Crap allowed.
Pádraig Ó Fainín November 2010
I decided to make a photo show so that I could show you all just a small sample of my vast photo and picture collection. I then decided to make two ten minute shows. I am confident you will all enjoy watching them!
The First Heavy Snows have heralded in the winter for us. It is a difficult time for Biking but a good time to do that Job that has been on your mind, now the bike is more then likely resting. I am sure our 3 wheeled friends are delighted with the conditions. I miss the extra wheel myself at these times. But if you are out and about remember what they used to say in Hill Street Blues. Be careful out there.
I will take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy and Wonderful Christmas. May Santa shower you with more gifts then you deserve. Christmas is a busy time, with so many people to think of, lists of things to be done. Everything getting more manic as Christmas day gets closer and time shorter. When you do get time out to read the e-mag I hope it brings you a little light relief.
I would like to apologise, been a little lazy again, put some large photos on the site which slowed the page loading. Consider my knuckles slapped the problem should be corrected now.
There has been a suggestion that members could write a little of there biking history for the e-mag by way of introduction. It offers a chance to get to know each other a little. Pat Fanning has started us off in great style. Even supplying pictures. If you would like to introduce yourself then just email us in the copy (whatever language) and we will take it from there. Thank you to all who have contributed already. Keep the emails firstname.lastname@example.org