Sons of Speed 2017

| 6/7/2017 10:24:00 AM

Billy Lane on the track

Sons of Speed organizer Billy Lane on the track at New Smyrna Speedway.

Nostalgia racing is in. Look at such events as The Race of Gentlemen (TROG), AHRMA road racing, and the March 18, 2017, Sons of Speed, an event that hearkens back to the glory days of board track racing. Billy Lane of Choppers Inc. has long wanted to recreate this era of racing, except for this race he had to use an embanked asphalt speedway instead of a banked pine board track. To seed the race, he built several replica bikes and then invited others to participate. Frames could be built up new, but crankcases built after 1924 were not allowed, and 1924 was also the last year for direct-drive racers. The rules were simple: no brakes, no transmission – what could go wrong? Very little, actually. The only incidents involved a flat tire by Rhett “Rotten” of Wall of Death fame. After a crash his team rebuilt the bike overnight, and he was ready to race the next day in spite of a broken rib!

Starting a direct drive isn’t a simple matter of bump and go. Since the Speedway had a banked corner, riders would remove their spark plugs so they could push the bike up the embankment without fighting engine compression. Plugs back in, they would roll down the hill and try to start in an almost violent, bucking manner. Bikes would lunge and buck and then fire … hopefully.

Motorcycle racer being push-started

Push, roll and hope it fires.