Bored at the grocery store, I ventured to the magazine rack. I noticed the BSA Gold Star on your cover, which sparked memories of my father, who raced flat track in the late Forties and mid to late Fifties.
Awesome article! My father never spoke much about his motorcycle racing days, so when he did I listened. One quote I remember: “If I would have been able to ride better, nobody would have touched me. That was the fastest bike in America!” Here’s a picture of the real deal, Bill Lane at Daytona Beach 1957 aboard his BSA Gold Star.
Bill Lane at Daytona Beach in 1957 aboard his BSA Gold Star
Flat track racing in 1954/55 at Pecatonica, Ill. Fairgrounds
A story from my mother’s uncle, who introduced the two:
Daytona Beach 1957. Back then the track was half on the beach and half on the road. The wind had blown sand on the paved corner. As usual my father came flying into the turn. The front wheel inverted, sending him head first over the handlebars. Don said he hit so hard it split his helmet in two, driving his chin into his chest. Damage: Broken thumb, broken wrist, broken chest plate and all his top teeth were driven up into his gums. At the hospital the doctors said they would pull his teeth out and stitch up his gums and that was about all they could do. A dentist was needed and they had to head back to Wisconsin anyhow. A quote from my mother’s uncle Don: “Your dad was tough as nails, but he was a hurtin’ soldier that night in the gin mil, drinking beer through a straw and holding his head with his hand in a cast.” His sponsor and pit man, Francis “Shack” Shackelford, once said to me, “You dad’s a real tiger. That spill he took in Daytona would have killed a normal man.”
1956 Daytona beach. "Shacks", #37 and Bill Lane. Notice the fancy trailer and toolbox. Only the best back in the good old days.
Maybe that’s why he never wanted me to own a motorcycle? Ha.Ha.