November 1, 2011
When most people think of land speed racing, the salt flats of Utah come to mind. Miles of smooth white terrain rolling out in seemingly all directions. But for those who don’t want to travel to the other side of the country, there has been a track operating right here in North Carolina outside of a small town called Maxton. The “Maxton Mile” as it is affectionally called by those who race there, is a converted runway that was originally built in 1942 for training WWII glider pilots. The track is roughly 2 miles long, 1 mile from the starting line to the traps and slightly less than a mile for shutdown. The return road parallels the track, with the pits about 1/4 mile from the starting line. This track has been operated by the East Coast Timing Association and they have put years of hard work into making an old cracked and pitted concrete runway into a useable race track for vehicles reaching speeds well over 250 mph.
This past weekend (October 29th and 30th) marked not only the end of the season at the Maxton Mile, but also the end of an era. For the upcoming 2012 season, the East Coast Timing Association will be moving it’s operations from Maxton to a new facility in Wilmington, OH. Being that this would possibly be the last time I would be able to see land speed racing so close to home, I decided to make plans to attend the event on Saturday, spurred on by rumors of a free BBQ dinner after the races…
Arriving just after lunch, my first stop was the pits and the Twin Jugs Racing trailer. I’ve ridden with the guys and gal from Twin Jugs for about 15 years and look forward to coming to events like this to catch up with them. To make things even better, the Twin Jugs trailer was set up right next to the return road, where everyone lines up to race. With only two days of racing left this year, teams were scrambling to get as many runs in as possible. Starting just past the pits, the line of cars, bikes and support vehicles was literally a mile long, stretching out past the tower at the other end of the track. Luckily everyone had to pass the Twin Jugs trailer on their way to the starting line and I was able to hang out at the trailer, watching the parade of vehicles move slowly past. Whenever something caught my eye, I just had to walk 10 yards to check it out.
Of course I was on the lookout for Classic American Iron, but for the first hour or so I only spotted a variety of vintage European and Japanese bikes. Some of them were actually really nice bikes and I couldn’t resist snapping a few pictures of my favorites. The first group was a pair of BMW singles. Both were great looking bikes, but I liked the green one in particular. Something about the color made the bike stand out much more than the classic black you usually see on old Beemers. These bikes were looking for speeds in the upper 70’s, which is not bad for a vintage 250 single.
The next interensting bike to roll past was a Vincent. Now I admit that I am not a huge Vincent fan, but I know a lot of people are, so I took a few shots of it. While I was taking pictures and talking to the rider of the bike, I learned that he was the author of “Big Sid’s Vincati”. The book chronicles the building of the famed Vincati, which is a Vincent motor mounted in a Ducati frame.
While I was hanging out at the trailer, I had noticed an Indian Scout riding around the pits. I took a lap around the pits, hoping to find it, but somehow I kept missing it. So I walked back to the trailer, only to find it in line, right out front. The bike was a 1937 Indian Scout set up as a bobber. Mounted to the Linkert carb was a custom velocity stack, but otherwise there was no indication that this was a serious race bike. Piloted by Sea Eagle Racing, they were hoping to break the 100 mph barrier over the weekend. Currently the bike holds a record in it’s class of 94.7 mph. That is almost twice the top speed of a stock 1937 Scout and much faster than I would want to go on a bike without front brakes!
Bikes and cars continued to run until the sun started to sink behind the horizon. As promised, a free BBQ dinner with all the fixin’s was provided for everyone in attendance. The only downside of the day was in a 14 mph headwind, which had kept most racers from reaching their speed goals. Luckily they were calling for less wind on Sunday and there were high hopes of better runs the following day.
Twin Jugs Racing was selected to make the last bike run at the Maxton Mile on Sunday Oct 30th, 2011. They were running a heavily modified 1976 1000cc Harley-Davidson Ironhead Sportster. Registered as number 1300, this bike has reached a top speed of 141.189 mph. Quite an accomplishment for a stock bore and stroke streetbike motor.
While I was wandering around the pits on Saturday, I also came across another piece of Classic American Iron. It was a 1936 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead, which I am sure a few of you will recognize…
Wednesday, October 5, 2011…D-Day. Weeks of preparation (an procrastination) had come down to this. Sitting in my driveway were my two entries into the first Motorcycle Kickstart Classic, a 1972 BMW R75/5 and a 1964 Harley-Davidson Duo-Glide. My good friend Tim volunteered to pilot the BMW and I rode the Harley-Davidson. We left on a clear cool morning in central North Carolina, so I donned my full set of leathers before kicking the panhead to life. We let the bikes slowly warm up as my wife took a few parting photos. By 8:30 we were fueled and on the road, headed west on I-40. Our destination was Maggie Valley and the Wheels Through Time museum. Maggie Valley is a straight shot down I-40 from my home and at only 250 miles, we had high hopes of making it to Wheels Through Time by early afternoon.
About 80 miles into the trip, I hit reserve and we pulled off for gas. Trying to maximize my minimal range, I filled both tanks to the top, assuming that the bike would be upright for the next couple hours. The bikes were running great and Tim commented that if we’ve made it this far without issue, we’ll probably make the entire trip without any problems. Well, Murphy’s Law kicked in right after that and within ten minutes of the comment, I was pulling out the tool roll. I had kicked the bike over about a dozen times without even sputter, so I started going through the standard troubleshooting procedure, checking for gas, air and spark. Off came the air cleaner assembly, oil lines and More on Motorcycle Kickstart Classic Ride – A 1200 Mile Harley Panhead Adventure
The term motorcycle bobber is thrown around these days by a lot of people who have no idea what it really means or even that many of the originals were referred to as bob-jobs back in the day.
About 10 years ago I go the idea to build my own Harley bobber with mostly real Harley parts from the same era. I started collectig part at swapmeets and bike shows with a fair idea of what I wanted. Rigid frame, sprung solo saddle, suicide clutch (no, there is no such thing a a suicide shift – at least not as fas as I have ever heard), jocky shift, unusual exhaust, and dual Linkert carbs – side by side on the left side of the engine.
Well, many years and several variations here is what it looks like now. We followed the original build of this in American Iron Magazine and will probably redo it to show the progress today.
It originally had red rims and oil tank, red grips and white wall tires.
More story and photos to follow soon.