I stumbled across this photo one day, saving it as I thought it would be fun to write about. When I was a kid I thought ATK's were awesome machines, my Pops rode one, they built trick bikes for their factory racers, and overall the brand just had a romance to it I find hard to place with other eclectic brands of that era. Seeing or more likely hearing the booming thumpers of Ty Davis and Mike Young racing them had me awe struck. They were so cool.
ATK printed posters on photo stock back in the day and somehow I ended up with one when I was kid. It was proudly displayed on my bedroom wall next to a black and white KTM poster of Jimmy Lewis. The link between Jimmy, ATK's and my Pops was a great moto shop and performance company by the name of Scotts Performance, great products and people. My Pops was a big ATK guy, he first had a mighty 560 like the one shown here, and then a few 406 two-strokes he spent his time chasing my brother and I around the desert on. For one reason or another he loved them. I rode his a few times and wondered what he was thinking, but what did I know at 13?
Have you ever seen someone try to start one of these beasts? If you did not know or follow the drill you would never get the big single fired. My Pops had the drill down, his good friend Jimmy, (not Jimmy Lewis, another Jimmy) who he sold his fine machine to did not have it down consistently. Now Jimmy is about as well behaved as they come, very courteous, nice, extremely smart, and can fix anything, but trying to start the mighty 560 could bring out the demons in anyone. My brother and I were surprised at times he didn't just throw a match on it and walk back to camp, if he got it out of camp in the first place. Sometimes our Pops would goad him, asking if he would like helping starting the American made beauty, this did not go over well. Lot's of camp fodder was created around the starting of the ATK.
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