Editor’s Letter – December 2022: Invoice Lanphier, 1949-2022


Invoice Lanphier. 1949-2022.

As this month opened, I bought the unhappy information {that a} shut colleague of mine had died. I labored for 5 years at Hello-Torque with Invoice Lanphier on ATV Motion journal, and it was my first full-time job within the wacky world of motorsports journalism.After spending time within the leisure business, I lastly determined it wasn’t proper for me, despite the fact that I might need been proper for it. Once I resigned, I advised my boss I used to be leaving as a result of I used to be doing a awful job. He stated, “What? You’re doing an awesome job!” It’s humorous how folks have completely different requirements.That allowed me to pursue my almost lifelong dream of being a instructor. Nonetheless, as soon as immersed within the public faculty system in California, it rapidly grew to become obvious that they wished bureaucrats, not academics, within the classroom. Ta-ta!Fortuitously, at the moment, I used to be additionally working part-time as Editor for 2 small impartial motorbike magazines—Ft Up! and Twin Sporter. So, it wasn’t like I didn’t have loads occurring.In the future, I used to be browsing by the off-road discussion board posts on America On-line. I got here throughout an intriguing need advert for an editor for a motorsports publication. Nicely, okay—inform me extra.I dropped the advert’s writer a message, inquiring about what kind of motorsports. The response was ATVs. I politely defined that I had completely no expertise with four-wheelers—sorry! I rapidly bought a word again asking what my expertise was. After sharing that data, I bought a request to return in for a job interview.

Bill Lanphier
Two of Invoice’s loves: cats and bass guitar

I went over to Invoice Lanphier’s rental within the San Fernando Valley neighborhood of Valley Glen. I walked into his immaculate condo and observed two issues—a bass guitar and a cat. That instantly put me in an awesome temper, and we hit it off immediately.Regardless of my protestations that I knew nothing about ATVs, he insisted I might do the job. Invoice persuaded me to take one of many take a look at quads, go for a experience, and let him know what I believed.Invoice gave me a extremely modified Yamaha Banshee. Even if you happen to’re unfamiliar with quads, you would possibly acknowledge the motor—it was the twin-cylinder, liquid-cooled two-stroke from the Yamaha RZ350 sport bike. This was a high-performance four-wheeler—positively not one thing for a newbie. He gave me zero instruction or recommendation—he simply handed it over.I used to be thrown into the deep finish by Invoice, despite the fact that he knew I didn’t know methods to swim. If I had recognized his nickname, WBGO, an acronym for Wild Invoice Get-Off, which described his ATV driving fashion whereas belying his considerate character, I might need had a warning.Having no concept what to do, I took the Banshee to San Gabriel Canyon OHV Space for a spin. It’s a rocky riverbed and ill-suited to the high-revving motor and dune-oriented chassis. I didn’t prefer it, and I used to be about to surrender. However, I made a decision to present it an opportunity in one other venue—Hungry Valley State Car Recreation Space.I rode the Banshee round on the grime roads, which was significantly extra enjoyable. I attempted a few hillclimbs and almost killed myself after I didn’t make one. Nobody advised me that aborting a hillclimb on an ATV is severe enterprise. Fortuitously, I didn’t wad the quad and averted getting harm.Because the day wound down, I headed for the sand wash by Hungry Valley. Unexpectedly, the Banshee made sense. I used to be spinning up the breathed-on twin, roosting sand, pitching it sideways, and customarily having a blast. “Okay,” I believed, “I can do that.”I introduced the Banshee again to Invoice and advised him to signal me up. I nonetheless needed to interview with Hello-Torque proprietor Roland Hinz and legendary Motocross Motion editor Jody Weisel, a childhood hero of mine. That went easily—they had been amused that I’ve a BA in Journalism—and I used to be employed on the spot. They had been determined, I’m certain.Hello-Torque was one thing out of a sitcom, with all types of wacky characters and goofy hijinks. There was little grownup supervision for this group of overaged youngsters, which labored nice for me.Invoice was by no means fairly as amused concerning the menagerie at Hello-Torque as I used to be. He would get agitated about this or that, and I’d speak him down. Coworkers performed sensible jokes on him, and he didn’t like that. I wouldn’t have favored it both, however I let or not it’s recognized that in the event that they tried something like that with me, they’d come to work to seek out a pc with a clean exhausting drive—ha, ha, just a bit sensible joke, proper?The fact was that the individuals who labored at Hello-Torque favored Invoice much more than he favored them. It’s a disgrace he by no means realized that.When he determined to give up and go freelance, I used to be as disillusioned as he was excited. I beloved working with Invoice, and we had been an awesome crew. We loved driving collectively, despite the fact that he was a lot quicker, and we had been on the identical wavelength on many subjects exterior the journal world.Invoice and I shared the excellence of being solely kids. Like me, Invoice beloved his mother and father, and I noticed the harm he suffered when his mother and father died. As Invoice wasn’t married, they had been his solely household. Although he had a companion when he died, his obituary stated he was survived solely by unnamed “distant cousins.” Besides that I used to be married, I might relate.Invoice was additionally a modest man about his expertise. I discussed his bass earlier. Invoice was an completed musician with an insatiable want to broaden his talents. That got here to incorporate taking part in extremely complicated japanese European music and meters. I knew he performed bass and keyboards at Madonna’s first reside efficiency, although he by no means bragged about it. What I didn’t know was that he backed the Materials Woman at Dwell Help. Whereas I’m not a giant fan of that kind of music or venue, that’s nonetheless spectacular—but, he by no means talked about it.After having scant contact with Invoice after I bought out of the ATV business and into the motorbike world at Robb Report MotorCycling, we reconnected on Fb.Invoice was by no means a giant participant on Fb and, finally, he began to vanish—not fully uncommon. Then, information got here on his Fb web page that Invoice had Alzheimer’s illness. That was adopted by information of a nasty response to remedy—one thing referred to as neuroleptic malignant syndrome. It didn’t take lengthy to kill him. Invoice was a cerebral man, so given his Alzheimer’s analysis, I’ll contemplate that an act of mercy.I used to be privileged to know Invoice Lanphier, and it severely bums me that he died in a tough approach. I really feel particularly unhealthy for his vital different, Janice Woo, who took care of him till the top at his Northern California residence in Albany. If the afterlife is a simply place, Invoice is roosting round on limitless sand dunes at this very second on that very same Banshee he loaded into my truck in 1995.Ship it, Invoice!



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