History was in motion as antique motorcycles, many at least 100 years old, zoomed around around the track under clear blue skies during Billy Lane’s Sons of Speed Vintage Motorcycle Race at the New Smyrna Speedway on St. Patrick’s Day.
Sons of Speed, founded by custom-bike builder Billy Lane of Choppers Inc., is an American Flat Track motorcycle competition inspired by early 20th-century board-track races.
Besides being racing machines, the vintage bikes are works of art with fabricated handlebars, fenders, foot pegs and fuel and oil tanks.
The second annual event during Bike Week featured 45 Shoot-Out (45 cubic-inch flathead racers), Early 61 (older and slower 61 cubic-inch board-track racers) and Hot 61 (faster 61 cubic-inch board-track racers) heats around a half-mile track.
Two of the winners were Doug Young and Matt Walksler. Other antique motorcycle racers included Lane, Moonshiner Josh Owens of the Discovery Channel’s “Moonshiners,” who was injured during the race, Brittney Olsen and Shelly Rossmeyer-Pepe, one of the owners of Bruce Rossmeyer’s Destination Daytona in Ormond Beach.
Girl power prevailed during the motorcycle race with Rossmeyer-Pepe placing second during the Early 61 and still riding her antique Harley-Davidson motorcycle while using one of her hands to keep the carburetor in place and preventing her bike from stalling during the 45 Shoot-Out.
Olsen placed second with her 1938 Indian during the 45 Shoot-Out and third place during the Hot 61. She was determined to race with an antique motorcycle.
“There is something romantic about the older bikes and I was told racing an antique motorcycle couldn’t be done,” said Olsen. “In the beginning, there were two antique board-track fast races and now we’re up to eight. There also haven’t been many women in history racing motorcycles and I feel this is the year of the woman and there’s no better time than now to race a motorcycle.”
Antique motorcycle racers are keeping the passion and spirit alive for years to come.