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Snapshots from the Take It to the Limit Art Exhibit

| 29 April 2015 3:19 pm

Take It to the Limit: A Motorcycle Odyssey
Forest & Ocean Gallery

Story and Photos by Howie Zechner
LAGUNA BEACH, CA, APR. 9, 2015

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We here in Southern California are blessed with good weather, clean beaches, nice people, and an abundance of really cool motorcycling events. Filmmaker Peter Starr brought all these elements together in his three-day “Take It to the Limit” art exhibit, which was held at the Forest & Ocean Gallery in Laguna Beach.

As the gallery is located just two blocks from the Pacific Ocean, an early arrival allowed for some time to play in the sand and enjoy a gorgeous, sunny afternoon before the 6 p.m. by-invitation-only premiere opening of the exhibit. Several well-known VIPs and motorcycling legends had the same thoughts, which led to a what-how-and-who conversation as the surf pounded and the afternoon faded into evening.

Race photographer Neil Nissing, Trailblazers board of directors member Judy Whitson, and promoter/writer/producer Harald "Howie" Zechner.

Race photographer Neil Nissing, Trailblazers board of directors member Judy Whitson, and promoter/writer/producer Harald “Howie” Zechner.

With a leisurely stroll past the shops and restaurants of this beautiful beach city, the Forest & Ocean Gallery was easy to find, with its huge stone carving of surfers riding large waves. Motorcycles lined the curb, and the sidewalk was crowded with guests. Kenny Roberts’ Yamaha and Barry Sheene’s Suzuki race bikes were clearly visible through the building’s large windows.

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Barry Sheene’s Suzuki.

Barry Sheene’s Suzuki.

The Take It to the Limit crew that is still alive: (from left to right) the last remaining director of photography, Mark Zavad; editor John Bryant; singer-songwriter Arlo Guthrie; and producer Peter Starr.

The Take It to the Limit crew that is still alive: (from left to right) the last remaining director of photography, Mark Zavad; editor John Bryant; singer-songwriter Arlo Guthrie; and producer Peter Starr.

The event brought some VIP attendees, including Kawasaki Motor Corporation’s Walt Fulton (second from left), former chief executive officer for Triumph Motorcycles Mike Vaughn (third from right), and racing legend Sammy “The Flying Flea” Tanner (second from right).

The event brought some VIP attendees, including Kawasaki Motor Corporation’s Walt Fulton (second from left), former chief executive officer for Triumph Motorcycles Mike Vaughn (third from right), and racing legend Sammy “The Flying Flea” Tanner (second from right).

Strange, large, human-shaped statues looked over two brand-new Indian motorcycles by the front doorway.

The visual treats continued inside. Motorcycle pictures lined the walls. Mixed with the gallery’s normal abstract stonework and art, this it was an exhibition unlike any other.

Mike Vaughn (left) chats with Don Emde (center) and Paul Collins. Emde, like his dad, is a Daytona winner, and he is also on the Trailblazers’ board of directors.

Mike Vaughn (left) chats with Don Emde (center) and Paul Collins. Emde, like his dad, is a Daytona winner, and he is also on the Trailblazers’ board of directors.

Sammy Tanner.

Sammy Tanner.

Exiting the Gallery’s rear doorway, tables, chairs, a stage and two large tents filled the parking lot. On one side was a complimentary bar and large table filled with cheese, fruit and sandwiches, and on the other were two more new Indian motorcycles and a giant screen playing the 30th-anniversary special-edition DVD of the motorcycle documentary Take It to the Limit.

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Peter Starr took the stage. First the VIPs – too numerous to list here – were introduced.

Then came Arlo Guthrie. A biker himself, Arlo supplied music for the film and, like all those involved in its production, is justifiably proud of the work.

Then the film’s last remaining director of photography, Mark Zavad, and its editor John Bryant joined Starr on the stage. War stories were short and painless as the four relived the glory days when Take It to the Limit was produced.

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Congratulation must be given to Peter Starr, Indian Motorcycles of Orange County, the Forest & Ocean Gallery, and all those who put together this outrageously cool event. The setting, the people, the subject – it was classic!

Peter Starr and Howie Zechner.

Peter Starr and Howie Zechner.

Last words? You bet. If you have not seen Take It to the Limit, do yourself a favor and do so. It is a timeless motion picture that covers speedway, desert racing, road racing, hillclimbing, grass-track, drag racing, trails, sidecars, dirt track and motocross. It will bring you 97 minutes of joy and excitement.

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More pictures from the April 9 Take It to the Limit art exhibit are posted on the Speedway America Facebook page.
– Howie Zechner

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