Friday, May 19, 2017

Behind the Scenes @ Sons of Speed - Episode #43

By: David L. Morrill
@ Mototique

Updated: September 22, 2017

Author's Note:

Billy Lane
, and the Sons of Speed Racers, return to the New Smyrna Speedway on Saturday October 21, 2017 during Daytona Biketoberfest. Come out and see the Sons & Daughters of Speed!

Billy Lane @ New Smyrna Speedway in March 2017
Since I first threw a leg over a dirt bike in the early 70s, I have been blessed to have taken  part in many exciting motorcycle adventures; but in March, I had an opportunity to play a small part in one I will never forget.

Like most of the folks, who play with old racing bikes, I had heard of Billy Lane of Choppers Inc. plans to hold a race for recreated board track racers, and had followed his photo posts of the racers he was building, but knew little of the details for the actual race. When I left my place in Alabama, headed down to Florida for Daytona Bike Week, I was determined to make it to the event. I offered my services as a wrench to American Iron Magazine publisher, Buzz Kanter, who was entered in the race, and he graciously accepted. This was the beginning of a grand adventure!

Team American Iron @ Sons of Speed
Photo Credit: Jim Dohms
On the Sunday before the race, I took Rat Racer, my 1921 Harley-Davidson racer to the True Grit Motorcycle Show @ Rossmeyer's Destination Daytona.

When we arrived at the show, Warren Lane, Billy's brother, had his Atomic Metalsmith's 1917 Indian Sons of Speed racer on display. I parked my bike next to Warren's bike, and left my buddy Joe Niles to watch it, while I went to park the truck and trailer. When I returned, Joe told me Warren had invited us to take part in a Sons of Speed closed practice session on Wednesday @ New Smyrna Speedway.

Rat Racer & Warren Lane's 1917 Indian Racer
@True Grit Vintage Bike Show
Photo Credit: Jack Mcintyre
Buzz on Rat Racer @ the True Grit Show
Photo Credit: Deadly Dave
The chance to ride my old racer on a modern half mile banked speedway, was just too big a temptation. My buddy, John Melin volunteered to go along, and help me with my bike, and he also ended up on Buzz's Team.

With much effort, I squeezed my big grit eattin butt into my old race leathers, and hit the track, for the first time since the mid 90s. Riding a bike with tall skinny tires, a 96 year old engine, maybe 8 horse power, no suspension, brakes, or tranny, is a very different experience, but something I will never forget!

Rhett, Buzz, Paul, and Dave
Photo Credit: John Melin

After I came in from a few laps, Buzz arrived with his bike. A careful inspection revealed a problem with the rear wheel, and we jumped into action to get it fixed.

Buzz's Rear Wheel Minus Two Sprocket Studs
Photo Credit: John Melin

Buzz, Jim, and John remove the rear wheel
Photo Credit: Deadly Dave

Rear Wheel Repairs
Photo Credit: John Melin
By Thursday, Buzz's bike was track ready, and Buzz was working up to speed on the track. John, and I needed to stay in Ocala Thursday, and take care of family obligations.  We returned on Friday for the practice day. All went well until the final practice session, when Rhett Rotten went down hard coming out of turn 4. Rhett was pretty banged up, with a couple of cracked ribs. Buzz came into the pits, and I noticed his front tire was nearly flat. Turned out there was a missing rim strip, and the clincher rim had cut the tube causing a slow leak. John grabbed his giant roll of duct tape, and a new tube, the front tire was soon fixed. The rear wheel was found to have the same problem, and was also repaired.

Dave warms up the #15 Team American Iron Racer
Photo Credit: Amy Jacques

By race day, I found myself drafted to assist with event scoring. Thanks to a great group of volunteers, who stepped in at the last moment, the event took place without a serious incident.

Flagging & Scoring
Photo Credit: Amy Jacques
Buzz went out and won the first Sons of Speed heat race on his Team American Iron 1915 Harley-Davidson.

#15 Buzz Kanter takes the lead from #1 Billy Lane
Sons of Speed Heat #1

The race finale came down to a battle between young Brittany Olsen on her 20th Century Racing 1923 Harley-Davidson, and Matt Harris on his 40 Caliber Customs 1923 Harley-Davidson. Brittany took the checkered flag first followed by Matt, with Shelly Rossmeyer-Pepe third, and Buzz Kanter 4th.

Sons of Speed Winner Brittany Olsen
20th Century Racing 1923 Harley-Davidson
This event was covered by the motorcycling press from around the world, and I will let them fill you in on all the personalities involved, and numerous twists & turns throughout the event. Thank you to Billy Lane for sharing you dream with all of us!

More behind the scenes photos of Team American Iron @ Sons of Speed:

Photo Credit: Jim Dohms

Dave & Buzz
Photo Credit: Jim Dohms
Unidentified Videographer & Dave

Buzz & Paul Ousley
Photo Credit: Jim Dohms

Buzz & John
Photo Credit: Jim Dohms

No comments:

Post a Comment