George L Yarocki
July 2, 1927 ~ May 25, 2016 (age 88)
I can remember the day like it was yesterday!
Walking into his shop for the first time in 1991; up the stairs, through the long passage that contained rows of wheels, frames and forks and then up into the shop. The walls were floor to ceiling with motors, carbs, magneto’s, generators, gas tanks and fenders.
We sat looking at a complete 1931 Indian 101 on a work table and another bare frame and fork on another table. George told me the story of the complete motorcycle and all the issues that he had already found. Repairs made with materials found in the home because no one at the time was making replacements parts or the owner could not afford what was available.
I told George of my desire to build police motorcycles and as we chatted, I expressed my hope to start with that 1931 in front of us which was grabbing me. He told me that the bare frame had been repaired already and his method was to disassemble the complete 31 and build in the repaired frame. I again expressed my hope to restore the completed bike and he looked at me and said firmly; this is how I have decided to build motorcycles. I learned from then going forward that there was the George way or the highway. Being the first pupil of George; I decided to listen, look and learn.
A man of many stories and a true lover of history, there was never a dull moment. The only days that he would work on my motorcycle were days that I was actually in the shop. Tours around Torrington, visiting the same restaurants and the phone calls from around the world from enthusiasts seeking technical info.
Our first bike was built as a tribute to the Hartford Connecticut Police Department and it was the first of many that we restored together. George rode my bike for Indians 100th anniversary ride home on 2001.
One day, George took me to the cemetery to show me his tombstone which had just been set in place. On either side of his name were engravings of a teens Indian and his beloved 101. Telling him we have several bikes to finish and that he was going nowhere anytime soon.
Remembering my last day there as clear as the first, George was as honest as they come with a heart the size of Texas.
His last day on earth I heard that he finished a motor in the shop and went to bed early. His legacy in the motorcycle world will always be his love of the best motorcycle Indian ever manufactured; Indian 101 45.
George Yarocki Tribute Motorcycle
George was a master fabricator who created in his shop, fixtures and jigs that he used to build and repair the infamous 101.
He repaired frames by building a jig from the nicest frame he ever found. He used what he described as the most perfect ever to create the fixture he used to fix all 101 frames. No repairs, no rust anywhere; he felt that it should never see the road. It was one his most prized possessions.
A few years ago, I bought the frame from him with the promise that it would never hit the road while I was alive.
I decided after George passed away, to use the frame and fork as a tribute him. I am in the process of putting together the motorcycle with the best parts that I can find. A Blue Knight from Maine gave me a iron factory stand from the early 1900’s and the motorcycle will be displayed for all to see. Help from Randy Walker of Walker Machine, Chris Twine from Patriot Customs, Kent Thompson and Jim Garripoli have been instrumental in bringing this tribute forward.
It will be in our shop this year and the assembly will proceed through the summer months. When completed, It will be on display wherever I am for all to see.
If anyone has pictures of their time with George, please if you like; mail them to the museum for display with the motorcycle.