The Motorbike Portraits: Dave Roper

The Motorbike Portraits is a challenge by photographer/filmmaker David Goldman, who travels the world making documentaries, and takes outing to interview fascinating individuals within the motorbike scene, wherever he is perhaps.  The result’s a single exemplary picture, a geolocation of his topic, and a transcribed interview.  The audio of his interviews could be discovered on The Motorbike Portraits web site.

The next Motorbike Portraits session is with Dave Roper, a person who wants no introduction to followers of classic motorbike racing.  However for everybody else, Dave’s decades-long profession racing probably the most fascinating bikes in historical past, typically underneath the Crew Out of date banner, makes his story nearly distinctive within the motorbike world.  Now 74 years outdated, he’s nonetheless actively racing, and his impish, optimistic power is a breath of recent air within the racing world.  Comply with Dave Roper on Instagram right here.

Dave Roper, the primary American to win the Senior Historic Isle of Man TT race (1984). Photographed in Brooklyn, NY, on Dec 2 2022. [David Goldman]

Who’s Dave Roper?

I’m Dave Roper and I’ve been obsessive about bikes for many of my 74 years. I stay in Hicksville, Lengthy Island, New York, spend most of my time enjoying with bikes. As a child, I used to be using bicycles. And that was a gateway of freedom discover. However I used to be additionally very a lot into sports activities automobiles, used to go as much as Lime Rock Park and watch the sports activities automobiles and thought I needed to try this sports activities automobile racer, however a while in highschool, 

How I received began: 

I used to be launched to bikes. And I completely flipped and have become obsessive about bikes and misplaced all curiosity within the automobiles. I began racing in 1972. On the membership degree, did novice skilled AMA racing up by way of the golf equipment and received concerned the workforce out of date and began touring world wide. My greatest win was successful the 1984 Senior Historic TT was the excessive level of my profession. And it’s been all downhill ever since. 

Dave Roper captured on moist plate in 2105 by the MotoTintype workforce of Susan McLaughlin and Paul d’Orléans. [MotoTintype]

A fantastic story that would solely occur with bikes:

What’s essential to me in racing, it’s varies so much. I’ve been to a variety of excessive profile occasions, the place there’s a variety of media and using with well-known racers and using unique bikes. And it’s nice enjoyable and really thrilling. However there’s additionally one thing very rewarding about going to a completely nothing membership race, persons are there as a result of they love doing it. And it’s very real, there’s no pretense and so in some ways, I take pleasure in that each bit as a lot as being at a Grand Prix or the Isle of Man or no matter. 

What do bikes imply to you?

Bikes are essential to me. Primarily I simply because the movement important nature of the surroundings was in by in a automobile, you flip a wheel which turns a shaft which turns a gear which turns the tire edge, and a bike, you simply transfer your physique and and the bike responds to your physique. And so it’s a really direct reference to this picture when has of their thoughts about the place they wish to go and going there. And so whether or not I’m using a bicycle, or using a bike so long as I’m on two wheels, I’m completely satisfied.

Ed word: Dave is a longtime buddy, and supporter of The Vintagent. Right here he’s modeling one among our signature tees: need one too? [Paul d’Orléans]

[To see more Motorcycle Portraits, click here]


David Goldman is photographer and filmmaker who has traveled the world on initiatives documenting human trafficking, maternal well being and marginalized individuals. He additionally interviews and pictures motorcyclists on this travels for his collection The Motorbike Portraits. You possibly can comply with his web site right here, his IG right here, and his FB right here.