by Frank Hyde
July 25, 1968
Chuck Boehler - He Hums On Two Wheels
In other words, he's a "square" by some modern-day standards.
But plain ol' Chuck Boehler is, nevertheless, one of the best competition motorcycle riders in the nation, although a far cry from the bike gangs featured in movies and on television.
He'll be in action at tomorrow's Chautauqua Lake Cyclists moto-cross (starting at 1 p.m. near Gerry) and it's another in a long chain of competitions dating back many years. Boehler has tackled 'em all from the "majors" to the "minors," so to speak.
For instance, he rode in the International Cross-Country on the Isle of Man a few years ago, one of the toughest motorcycle events in the world. The U.S. team "washed out" late in the 1,000-mile grind, but Boehler was the last American to go.
The 6-foot, 173-pound owner of Bennie M. Anderson Trucking Co., and operator of his own competition motorcycle sales adjacent to his home on Buffalo Street Extension, has arrived at the starting line for many other top events.
He is a regular in the Canadian-American Challenge Cup matches held annually at Grafton, Vermont and Copetown, Ontario, the second biggest bike event in the nation. Last year he placed second at both sites and also competed in the nationals at Pepperell, Massachusetts. Chuck also wheeled his machines at varied meets in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New England.
He has more than 300 trophies to prove his class. "Besides, he's given away a lot of them," his wife, the former Bernice Clark, a graduate of Falconer Central School, said.
"I like moto-cross competition because it is a true test of riding ability rather than motor power," Chuck explained, but he has ridden in every type of event known to the sport.
Boehler rides a Greeves, a 360 cc model marketed about a year ago, with a two-cycle engine and designed to compete against 500s in the open class. He also handles the Hodaka and has a Dot, a trail riding machine, plus a Penton, a German bike with a Sach's engine.
Competition machines, of course, are radically different than road bikes. They are equipped with "knobby" tires and have no provisions for lights and are not registered because they are trailered and never appear on highways under power. The ground clearance, too, is greater.
Boehler, who just observed his 40th birthday, has been riding in competition for about 10 years, but was a motorcycle enthusiast when he was in high school at Celoron. He readily admits, "Time is catching up with me, the bumps and bruises linger longer, but I still plan to compete for a while."
How about injuries? "You get them - lots of them - but they are usually of the brush burn and minor cuts variety." Chuck, however, has had some ribs and toes broken and other leg injuries. "A competition rider usually has had share of scars, especially from the knees down."
The Boehlers have two children, Denise, 5, and Craig, 7. Mrs. Boehler is a former road rider, but now serves in various capacities for the local motorcycle club.
"We're not in it for the money; no one makes big money competing," Chuck explained, "but we want to build up the sport under club sponsorship to offset some of the bad publicity motorcycles have received from the minority groups."