Riding the open roads leads Grand Prix racer to the Jewel

By Bobby Burk

Imagine sitting on a motorcycle, stopped at a light perhaps, when a man named Andreas Georgeades pulls up on a bike that makes your eyes bug out.

It's like nothing you've ever seen. You first notice the external wheels and belts on the side, then the exposed ignition plugs and the fierce size of the bike, bigger and wilder than what seems aerodynamically possible. Lastly, you notice the small symbol towards the rear of the bike that looks distinctly like ... Ferrari. 

"Ferrari doesn't make bikes," you tell yourself.

Try to take Georgeades off the line and you will be beaten. He's running a supercharged Ferrari car engine in a motorcycle he built from scratch. It's untouchable. The only option is to sit and admire.

It's doubtful that many in La Jolla know what Georgeades does or that in another lifetime he was called George the Greek, a name he earned on the motorcycle raceways of Europe. Nowadays, he calls himself a retired Grand Prix racer, a prestigious title for a prestigious town.

Georgeades was born in South Africa in 1941. He learned to race motorcycles while growing up and eventually represented South Africa in the 1964 World Motorcycle Championships at 23 years old. After a few years racing in Europe, he moved to Canada. He won the Canadian Grand Prix in 1966. He raced again in the World Championships that year placing 10th, then raced for a few more years before he ended up in La Jolla.

"Racing in the states ... I got to know the states more and decided to come live down here. And of course, La Jolla has a beautiful Ferrari shop, one of the greatest. And, of course, I started building my own machines," said Georgeades. "When I started living in La Jolla, I stopped racing and started building bikes."

The master motorcycle craftsman has been a La Jolla resident since the 1970s and has built three Ferrari motorcycles since. Georgeades estimates each bike would fetch $250,000 or more. That's if they were for sale, which they are not.

"These are the only Ferrari powered motorcycles in the world, ever, to our knowledge," said Georgeades' friend Russ Caldwell, a motorcyle mechanic and journalist. "Some people have claimed they were in the process of building a Ferrari powered motorcycle ... but it was never finished. These are phenomenal, one-of-a- kind bikes ... and he owns and rides all three."

The bike is like the body of a shark: big, wide in the front tapering towards the rear . It looks like it might destroy you, like something from the "Terminator" films.

"I think it's too far advanced for bikers," said Georgeades. "They really don't know what it is."

Traveling on a motorcycle is Georgeades' first love, where he finds freedom. He's ridden to Alaska, Kathmandu and Central America. On a table in his garage lies a stack of books about Japan, Indonesia, Italy and other exotic countries.

"I think there's a fear of getting too comfortable," said Georgeades. "A lot of people actually want to be comfortable … the American dream. I'm not against it, but everything takes me away from that comfort zone."

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