Motorcycle Events

Harley-Davidson Returns to Weirs Beach for Laconia Motorcycle Week 2017

Harley-Davidson Laconia Motorcycle Week 2017

Free Demo Rides at New Weirs Beach Venue Plus Exhibits and H.O.G. Pin Stop

Harley-Davidson is moving to the heart of the Laconia Motorcycle Week action with a new Weirs Beach venue that will be open for the duration of “The World’s Oldest Motorcycle Rally,” June 10-18, in scenic New Hampshire.

For the first time in years, all Harley-Davidson exhibits, events and free demo rides on new Harley-Davidson motorcycles will be conveniently located directly across the street from the entrance to the drive-in across from the Weirs Beach landmark sign on Endicott Street North.

“Since 1918, the annual run to Laconia has been a defining event for riders in the Northeast,” said Bill Davidson, Vice President of the Harley-Davidson Museum and great-grandson of Harley-Davidson co-founder William A. Davidson. “As this historic gathering of riders approaches its centennial celebration, Harley-Davidson has teamed with Laconia Mayor Ed Engler, local businessman Al Mitchell and Laconia Harley-Davidson owner Anne Deli to secure a fabulous new location near the lake for Harley Headquarters.”

For complete information on Harley-Davidson activities and events during Laconia Motorcycle Week visit

94th Annual Laconia Motorcycle Week

Harley Headquarters at Weirs Beach

Official Harley-Davidson activities will be consolidated at one action-packed venue located at 76 Endicott Street North. Open June 10-18, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with free motorcycle parking, this expansive Harley-Davidson venue will replace the previous New Hampshire Motor Speedway location. The new location will offer:

• Motorcycle demos: See and ride new 2017 Harley-Davidson models including the just-released Street Rod plus the new Road King Special and other Touring models powered by the potent new Harley-Davidson Milwaukee-Eight engine. The demo fleet also includes the nimble Harley-Davidson Roadster model, fabulous 2017 CVO models and bikes fully customized with Harley-Davidson Genuine Motor Accessories.

• New Milwaukee-Eight Display Truck: Experience the all-new Harley-Davidson Milwaukee-Eight engine through technical displays (June 12-18) and feel the rumble of this exciting new V-Twin on the Harley-Davidson JUMPSTART Rider Experience. Check out the customized Harley-Davidson Rebel Freightliner truck and a display of new items from Harley-Davidson Genuine Motor Parts & Accessories.

• See It/Try It/Buy It: Test out new Harley-Davidson helmets and riding gear when you demo-ride a bike. Laconia Harley-Davidson will offer a selection of new Genuine MotorClothes for purchase on site.

• H.O.G. Pin Stop at Laconia: Join Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.) staff members at the Harley Headquarters and pick up a cool pin (exclusively for H.O.G. members).

Be sure to follow Harley-Davidson on Facebook to join in the action, daily videos will post to check out all the activity virtually.

Kickstart Classic 2017 Set For This Weekend

We were thrilled with last year’s turnout. This year, we decided to hold the event a little earlier: we don’t need anyone suffering heat stroke! Join us for a weekend of pure, old-school fun

Start stretching your hamstrings, topping up your oil, and packing the extra tape for those loose parts—it’s time for the Kickstart Classic once again! This coming weekend, May 18-20, marks the 6th annual meet-up and ride at the Wheels Through Time museum in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. Each year, we try to pick a unique, interesting destination for the Kickstart to conclude, and this year we settled on the AMCA meet in Denton, North Carolina.

We just saw Buzz off today, the boss man packed and ready to head south to get to WTT museum sometime between what we can only surmise as today and the ride on Friday. (Keep your eyes peeled for the American Iron truck with an auld Harley in the back!)

Rolling out from the Wheels Through Time museum, you’ll score a chance to get a sweet riding shot and possible be seen in the magazine!

Thursday evening will be the meet and greet at on the museum’s grounds, where you can either sign in and pick up your stuff if you preregistered, or you can register for the ride on site. Food will be served, and the museum will be open for all of your gazing and drooling leisure (admission is included with your registration).

Friday morning, we ride. As most of you know, the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains provide some of the most beautiful roads for cruising this side of the Mississippi. We’re going to take our time, snaking through the region as we make our way to Salisbury, North Carolina, for an overnight stay.  There will be an entire day’s worth of riding.


Gorgeous roads await. Make this the trip for your riding season.

Saturday, we roll into Denton in the late morning, and there will be a parade, vendors, a show, and more awaiting our arrival.

The Kickstart Classic is open to all makes and models of motorcycles, though the newer bikes will have to ride behind the old lugs, just in case a thing or three goes bouncing backward. This is a purists dream, deep in the valley of the mountains where time feels as though it stands still, and for a weekend it truly does, as Dale Walksler’s invaluable collection of old iron serves as the appropriate setting for the rumble of motorcycles from the teens, ’20s, ’30s, ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s reverberating through the mountains from the small town of Maggie Valley, and suddenly we’re in a different decade—heck, we’re transported to a different century.


2017 Quail Motorcycle Gathering Winners, Photos & Review

Chris Carter 2nd Place American Class 2017 Quail Motorcycle Gathering

Chris Carter took second place in the American Class for his 1914 Jefferson Board Track Racer.

There was the historic, like Chris Carter’s immaculate 1914 Jefferson Board Track Racer and Gary Landeen’s 1942 Indian Pre-War Big Base Scout. There was the exotic, Virgil Elings’ pristine, unraced 1995 Britten V1000 coming to mind, the superb superbike No. 10 of 10. There was next-gen goodness in the form of John Bennet’s wicked Motus Streetfighter built by Bryan Fuller and the Fuller Moto crew, the custom Motus delivering a thunderous note you could feel in your bones.

Quail Lodge host of the 2017 Quail Motorcycle Gathering

The Quail Lodge hosted its 9th annual motorcycle concourse on its grounds with over 3,000 estimated attendees. 

For the 9th annual Quail Motorcycle Gathering over 350 motorcycles sprawled about the verdant lawns of the Quail Lodge & Golf Club. A grey, overcast sky and cool temperatures couldn’t deter over 3,000 people from milling around the grounds to witness the moto-spectacle, a celebration of all things two-wheeled. American racing royalty Kenny Roberts, Wayne Rainey and Mert Lawwill added to the pomp and circumstance by regaling the crowd with tales from their storied careers. John Goldman, winner of 2015 “Best of Show” laurels, added another notch on his victory belt with his 1957 Mondial 250 Grand Prix Racer with Dual Overhead Cams and a race fairing that’s almost impossible to find.

1995 Britten V1000 #10 Significance in Racing Award 2017 Quail Motorcycle Gathering

Jeff Elings sits on the 1995 Britten V1000 #10, winner of the “Significance in Racing Award” at the 2017 Quail Motorcycle Gathering. The rare Britten superbike is extra special because it’s never been raced.

In the American Class, Kalle Hoffman captured top honors with his art deco 1937 Indian Chief.

“I’ve had the bike for about eight years. I bought it as a project and restored it. It took me about three years to get the bike on the road. I got the bike on the road for the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge,” said Hoffman. His compelling back story provided further motivation to complete the restoration.

“The first civilian bike to cross the Golden Gate Bridge in 1937 was a 1937 Indian Chief and that bike was ridden by a club member. I’m in the San Francisco Motorcycle Club and club member Hap Jones so it’s very close and dear to our group as far as that our group carries on this tradition. This year is the 80th anniversary of that bike and the Golden Gate Bridge so I decided to complete the bike this year to commemorate it.

Kalle Hoffman's 1937 Indian Chief American Class winner 2017 Quail Motorcycle Gathering

Kalle Hoffman won the American Class with his beautifully restored 1937 Indian Chief.

“I got it out of Alabama from a fellow Indian enthusiast. It was in bad condition. He had been working towards a custom bobber with everything wrong. When I bought it I wanted to restore a ’37 Indian. That bike is as close to original as I can get it.

“Getting it reliable riding on the road was the most challenging part of it. After you put a bike together and get all the parts there, that doesn’t mean it’s a bike you can get on and ride. So working through the nuances and subtleties of the magneto, working through a failed bolt in the transmission, and revisiting issues I thought I’d already solved, that was the most challenging thing for me. Assembling the bike, getting the bike rebuilt, getting the motor worked on, paint, that’s easy. Getting the bike as a reliable bike you can ride, that was the most challenging. I have to admit assembling a beautifully painted bike was a bit of a nail-biter. Lots of blue tape and not my favorite task,” he added.

Wayne Rainey 2017 Quail Motorcycle Gathering

Three time World Champion Wayne Rainey has long been a big supporter of the Quail Motorcycle Gathering.

They say a picture’s worth 1000 words, so we’ll let our photo gallery tell the rest of the story that was the 2017 Quail Motorcycle Gathering.


The Quail Motorcycle Gathering 2017 Award Winners

Best of Show

1957 Mondial 250 Grand Prix Double Overhead Cam, John Goldman – California

Spirit of The Quail Award

1948 Triumph T100 Tiger, Jonnie Green – California

50th Anniversary of the Norton Commando

1968 Norton Fastback, Jeff McCoy – California

Industry Award

2015 Prototype Fuller Moto Motus Naked, John Bennet – California

Innovation Award

1991 BMW Alpha, Mark Atkinson – Utah

Design and Style Award

1975 Moto Guzzi 850T, Untitled Motorcycles – California

HVA Preservation Award

1942 Indian Pre-War Big Base Scout, Gary Landeen – South Dakota

The Cycle World Tour Award

1980 Suzuki GS1000S, Trevor Franklin – British Columbia

Significance in Racing Award

1995 Britten V1000 #10, Virgil Elings – California

Why We Ride Award

1978 Yamaha XS750, Fernando Cruz – California

AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Heritage Award

1983 Honda Factory RS 750 Flat Tracker, Anthony Giammanco – California

Extraordinary Bicycles/Scooter Class Award

1971 NYPD Lambretta LI150 Special, Siobhan Ellis – California

Antique 1st Place

1918 BSA Model H, Bud Schwab – California

American 1st Place

1937 Indian Chief, Kalle Hoffman – California

American 2nd Place

1914 Jefferson Board Track Racer, Chris Carter – California

British 1st Place

1939 Brough Superior SS100, William E. “Chip” Connor – Hong Kong

British 2nd Place

1936 Vincent HRD Comet, Mitch Talcove – California

Italian 1st Place

1959 Moto Parilla 99 Olimpia, Vincent Schardt – California

Italian 2nd Place

1967 Benelli Custom, Carmen & David Hearn – California

Japanese 1st Place

1976 Yamaha XT500C, Owen Bishop – California

Japanese 2nd Place

1969 Honda CB750 Factory Police Special, Peter Rose – California

Other European 1st Place

1976 Hercules W2000 Wankel, Stephan Haddad – California

Other European 2nd Place

1969 BMW R60/2, Kenneth Morris – California

Competition Off Road 1st Place

1975 Husqvarna 360 Flat Tracker, Clyde Williams – California

Competition On Road 1st Place

1957 Mondial 250 Grand Prix Double Overhead Cam, John Goldman – California

Custom/Modified 1st Place

1958 Triumph Tiger, Bryan Thompson – California

Custom/Modified 2nd Place

1968 BSA Thunderbolt, Richard Mitchell – California

Racing Schedule Announced for 2017 AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days

Racing Schedule Announced for 2017 AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days

Youth classes added to motocross and hare scrambles competition

Motorcycle fans and racers will have the opportunity to experience three days of action-packed motorcycle competition during the 2017 AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days on July 7-9 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

Vintage and post-vintage competition will be held in hare scrambles, motocross, trials, dirt track and road racing.

“The AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days vintage racing program acknowledges the heritage of our sport,” said AMA Director of Racing Kevin Crowther. “The fun, low-pressure environment, along with a large variety of disciplines and age classes, creates life-long racing memories with family and friends. There truly is no other vintage racing event like it.”

The class winners in the hare scramble, motocross and road racing disciplines will be recognized as AMA National Champions and receive a highly-coveted AMA National No. 1 plate.

In addition, two outstanding riders will earn the AMA Off-Road Vintage Grand Championship and the AMA Senior Off-Road Vintage Grand Championship for excelling in expert-level eligible classes.

New this year, the Old-School Ironman Award will honor the athlete who competes in the most classes in hare scrambles and motocross.

Other updates to the racing program at this year’s AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days include the addition of youth classes to the hare scramble and motocross events and a new exhibition 50cc class.
AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days also features the return of pit bike racing on Friday afternoon, July 7, and the addition of a new holeshot competition on Saturday, July 8.

For a full list of classes and information on racing events at the 2017 AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, visit

To be a part of the racing at the 2017 AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, visit before July 4, to register to race.
AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days raises funds for the nonprofit AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame.

Begun in 1990, the event has been held at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course since 1995. The track is a superb location for the event, accommodating road racing, trials, hare scrambles and motocross, in addition to a full slate of non-competition events.

Tickets are currently available for purchase online at or at the gate the days of the event. A weekend pass is $60, a single-day admission for Friday or Saturday is $40 and a single-day admission for Sunday is $35. Kids 12 and under get in free.

AMA members can receive a $15 discount through June 5 by visiting

A $10 early bird discount for non-AMA members is available through May 1 at

Sites are available for tent camping and motorhomes.

To stay in the know, check often at and for new information. And look for #AMAVMD on Twitter and Instagram.

2017 AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days Summary Racing Schedule (Subject to change)

Thursday, July 6: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Noon-5 p.m.: Road Race Registration (Lower Paddock Tech Garage)
2-5 p.m.: Hare Scramble, Motocross, Trials Registration (Ross Road off Steam Corners Road)
2-5 p.m.: Road Race Technical Inspection (Lower Paddock Tech Garage)

Friday, July 7: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
7 a.m.-5 p.m.: Road Race Registration (Lower Paddock Tech Garage)
7-8:30 a.m.: Hare Scramble Registration (Ross Road of Steam Corners Road)
7 a.m.-5 p.m.: Road Race Technical Inspection (Lower Paddock Tech Garage)
8 a.m.: Mandatory Road Race Rider’s Meeting (Lower Paddock Base of Tower)
9 a.m.: Road Race Practice Begins (Lunch break from noon – 1:30 p.m.)
2-4 pm.: Pit Bike Racing Registration
9:30 a.m.: Hare Scrambles-Evolution 2/Evolution 3 Races begin following national anthem
Noon: Hare Scrambles-Vintage/Evolution/Evolution 1 Races Begin
Noon-5 p.m.: Motocross and Trials Registration (Ross Road off Steam Corners Road)
2-5 p.m.: Motocross Tech Inspection
2:30 p.m.: Hare Scrambles-Non-Current Vintage Races Begin
4:30 p.m.: Pit Bike Practice Begins
5 p.m.: Pit Bike Racing Begins
5:30 p.m.: Hare Scramble Awards Presentation (Tentative, half an hour after racing concludes)

Saturday July 8: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (unless otherwise noted)
7 a.m.: Mandatory Road Race Rider’s Meeting (Lower Paddock Base of Tower)
7-9 a.m.: Motocross Registration (Vintage/Evolution 1 classes)
7-9 a.m.: Motocross Technical Inspection
7-10:45 a.m.: Road Race Technical Inspection (Lower Paddock Tech Garage)
7 a.m.-1 p.m.: Road Race Registration (Lower Paddock Tech Garage)
8 a.m.: Mandatory Motocross Riders Meeting (Quonset Hut)
8-11 a.m.: Road Race Practice Begins
8:30 a.m.: Motocross Practice Begins (Vintage/Evolution/Evolution 1 classes)
9:30 a.m.: Motocross Racing Beings (Vintage/Evolution/Evolution 1 classes)
1 p.m.: Road Racing Begins
1-3 p.m.: Dirt Track Registration (Ashland County Fairgrounds – Gate 5, Baney Road)
3:30 p.m.: Mandatory Dirt Track Rider’s Meeting
4 p.m.: Dirt Track Practice Begins (Ashland County Fairgrounds)
4-6 p.m.: Holeshot Competition registration
5 p.m.: Motocross Awards Presentation (Tentative, half an hour after racing concludes)
6 p.m.: Holeshot Competition begins
6:30 p.m.: Dirt Track Heat Racing (Ashland County Fairgrounds)
8:30 p.m.: Dirt Track Finals (Ashland County Fairgrounds)

Sunday, July 9: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
7 a.m.: Mandatory Road Race Rider’s Meeting (Lower Paddock Base of Tower)
7-8:30 a.m.: Motocross and Trials Registration (Evolution 2/Evolution 3/Post-Vintage classes)
7-9 a.m.: Motocross Technical Inspection
7-9:15 a.m.: Road Race Technical Inspection (Lower Paddock Tech Garage)
7 a.m.-Noon: Road Race Registration (Lower Paddock Tech Garage)
8 a.m.: Mandatory Motocross Rider’s Meeting (Quonset Hut)
8-10 a.m.: Road Race Practice Begins
8:30 a.m.: Motocross Practice Begins (Evolution 2/Evolution 3/Post-Vintage classes)
8:45-9:15 a.m.: Trials Tech Inspection (Quonset Hut)
9:15 a.m.: Mandatory Trials Rider’s Meeting (Quonset Hut)
9:30 a.m.: Motocross and Trials Racing Begins (Evolution 2/Evolution 3/Post-Vintage motocross classes only)
10 a.m.: Road Race Begins (Lunch Break from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.)
4 p.m.: Motocross Awards Presentation (Tentative, half an hour after racing concludes)
4:30 p.m.: Trials Awards Presentation (Tentative, half an hour after racing concludes)
6 p.m.: Road Race Awards (Road Racing Podium by Pit Lane)

2017 Daytona Bike Week Video

From bike shows to vintage boardtrack and flat track races to burnout contests, it was a wild, fun-filled week in Daytona Beach. We finally got a chance to cobble together some of the highlights from the 2017 Bike Week rally for you to enjoy.

1st Ever Boogie East Chopper Show a Big Hit at Bike Week 2017

Boogie East Chopper Show Bike Week 2017

The Boogie East Chopper Show had a solid turnout for a first year show.

Annie Oakley's Saloon Bike Week 2017

Annie Oakley’s Saloon hosted the first-ever Boogie East Chopper Show during Bike Week 2017.

Chemical Candy Customs’ Scott Hoepker credits Pete LaBarbera for his appreciation of old iron.

“Pete had a couple of old Shovelheads and Panheads back then and he would always throw some wild ass parties for his biker buds,” explains Hoepker.

When Hoepker was a teenager, he worked for LaBarbera’s masonry company bricking houses. One year on a trip to Bike Week, Pete ended up in a sleepy little biker bar called Annie Oakley’s Saloon. A conversation began between LaBarbera and the bar’s owner and before the night’s over a deal was struck. The next day, LaBarbera announced he was getting out of the masonry business and moving from Texas to Florida to run the biker bar he’d just bought, Annie Oakley’s.

Hoepker always wanted to make it back to Florida and hang out at his old friend’s bar but sometimes life gets in the way of good intentions. Before he got that chance, he received a call from Tani, Pete’s son, saying his father had passed away from cancer.

“I was pretty bummed that I hadn’t had a chance to visit until a year later to check out the bar and do the Bike Week thing. Memories all came back when Rob, an old friend of ours from east Texas, and I walked into the bar and noticed a few photos of Pete on the wall. We sat down and had some laughs with Tani about the good old days and the crazy shit his old man use to get in to,” wrote Hoepker.

Boogie East Chopper Show 2017

We could see this one rippin’ down the beach in the Race of Gentlemen!

“When Rob and I went back to Texas that’s when the wheels started turning so to speak. Rob had always said ‘Their bar is the perfect spot to throw a good chopper event/party but they just never got around to it.’ We talked it over with Tani and have been working on this ever since. This party has a special place in our hearts so I hope to see it grow into something as incredible as the life of Pete LaBarbera,” concluded Hoepker.

And thus with the help of Gasshole Garage and VNM Horsebites, the Boogie East Chopper Show was born. Motorcycles packed the parking lot in front of Annie Oakley’s Saloon then spilled into the adjacent field. Out back, an array of customs by the invited builders filled the grassy knoll while others in the ride-in bike show crammed in beneath the trees. Cool schwag from a long list of sponsors was raffled off over the course of the day until the Left Lane Cruiser Band upped the energy levels. Between its wooden back deck, outdoor bar, and shaded grounds, the back area of Annie Oakley’s was a perfect place for a good old-fashioned chopper show of 1984 and earlier motorcycles.

Groovy trike at the Boogie East Show Annie Oakley's Bike Week 2017

JP Rodman’s groovy trike was just one of the cool builds at the Boogie East Show.

With a front end stretched far enough to make Sugar Bear proud and a cab so cool it channeled the spirit of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, it was impossible to miss JP Rodman’s 1960’s style trike. Sporting a blown Knucklehead, ram’s horn bars, and dual M&H Racemaster drag tires on the back, Rodman’s three-wheeler had all the charm of an old fashioned shaggin’ wagon.

Next to it sat Steve “TheHeadChoppa” Bates latest build, a 1945 Knucklehead in a ’38 Knucklehead frame with a solid aluminum rear wheel engraved by New Line Engraving. Bates’ bike is full of fine details, from the handmade shift knob carved from an elk horn to its hand forged sissy bar to its trick horseshoe kicker pedal. “TheHeadChoppa” also brought his ultra-clean 1956 Panhead chopper to the show, a bike we featured online after seeing it at last year’s Handbuilt Motorcycle Show.

HeadChoppa's Behemoth Boogie East Show Bike Week 2017

“TheHeadChoppa” debuted his latest work called “Behemoth” at the Boogie East Show.

We chatted with Jason Ochoa about his clean 1955 rigid Panhead, his build featuring a 1957 straight-leg frame and a 1947 Knucklehead transmission. Bathed in varying shades of purple flake, Ochoa’s Pan included a picture of Jimi Hendrix on the oil tank and the words “Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky” engraved on the air cleaner cover. Ochoa remembers his dad playing Hendrix regularly at home on an old reel-to-reel and said the theme was in honor of his father, a Vietnam vet who loved listening to Jimi.

Jason Ochoa's '55 Pan Boogie East Chopper Show 2017

Jason Ochoa’s 1955 Panhead has a ’57 straight-leg frame and a ’47 Knuckle tranny.

With a laid back vibe and a bounty of beautiful bikes, the first annual Boogie East Chopper Show at Bike Week was by all measures a big success. Organizers are already discussing doing it again next year. We believe Pete LaBarbera would be proud of the biker bash that took place in his honor at his old haunting grounds.

(Boogie East back story courtesy of Chemical Candy Customs)


The Week That Was – Daytona Beach Bike Week 2017 Photo Review

Cruising Main Street Daytona Beach Bike Week 2017

Cruising down Main Street Daytona Beach – Bike Week 2017. 

It came in like a lamb and went out like a lion. While Daytona Beach Bike Week 2017 started off a little slow thanks to a couple rainy days followed by a few abnormally cold days, it finished with a flurry by the final weekend. Did you catch the Sons of Speed races? Billy Lane put on a fantastic event. Our very own Buzz Kanter won the first-ever race with a last lap pass of Lane, Brittney Olsen blistered the track on her way to the overall victory, and the event blew up social media.

The crowd was on their feet as Buzz Kanter captured the first-ever checkered flag at the Sons of Speed races.

The crowd was on their feet as American Iron’s Buzz Kanter captured the first-ever checkered flag at the Sons of Speed races.

We interviewed Indian Wrecking Crew rider Jared Mees early in the week, then Mees went out and won the inaugural Daytona TT, giving Indian Motorcycle Racing a victory in its first outing in 63 years. And custom bike shows…there were more than we could cover. We still were able to hit the Perewitz Paint Show, Willie’s Tropical Tattoo Chopper Show, the Harley Ride-In Bike Show and a new shin-dig called Boogie East out at Annie Oakley’s Saloon.

Lead Sled Perewitz Paint Show 2017

That’s one fine Lead Sled!

Ride bikes? Did that. American Iron Editor spent time in the saddle of both the 2017 Harley Road King Special and the 2017 Harley Street Rod. Keep an eye out for the first ride reviews in upcoming issues of American Iron Magazine. I spent the week on the 2017 Indian Roadmaster Classic, the perfect workhorse for a motojournalist making the rounds. Its big topcase became my best friend as it made grabbing my camera bag out a snap at all the events I covered. Lots of positive feedback from rally-goers on the Willow Green over Ivory Cream colorway, too. Got to experience Daytona Beach in a new way as well when I took out the Polaris Slingshot SLR out for a day. Testing out its traction control a little bit in the back parking lot of Destination Daytona was a hoot. Cruising up and down the A1A during Bike Week is exactly what this vehicle is made for.

Blind Bob the Alligator Broken Spoke 2017

Blind Bob the Alligator wins the Broken Spoke crowd over on his way to victory in the burnout contest.

I also found a new hero – Blind Bob the Alligator. Blind Bob came out in an alligator suit, worked the crowd like a champ, then hand-shifted through five gears lickety-split until he had the back tire of his buddy’s motorcycle roasting. Roasted it until it blew! Before it was over, Blind Bob had the crowd cheering his name as he was crowned king of the Broken Spoke burnout contest.

Snake charmer. Main Street Bike Week 2017

First alligators, now snakes. What do you expect, it’s Florida!

While we thought it’d be an off year, American Iron was busier than ever at Bike Week. Be on the lookout for the full event review in a future issue of American Iron Magazine. Until then, here’s plenty of pictures to enjoy from the week that was Daytona Beach Bike Week 2017.

Moonshiner Josh Owens makes friends just about everywhere he goes

Moonshiner Josh Owens makes friends just about everywhere he goes.

Harley-Davidson took over the Full Moon Saloon for Bike Week 2017.

Harley-Davidson took over the Full Moon Saloon for Bike Week 2017.

It's a mad dash out of the starting gate at the 2017 Daytona TT.

It’s a mad dash out of the starting gate at the 2017 Daytona TT.

Packed house at Willie's Tropical Tattoo Chopper Show 2017

They pack ’em in as tight as they can get ’em at Willie’s Tropical Tattoo at the annual chopper show.

Inked! Main Street Daytona Beach Bike Week 2017

Inked on Main Street.

Sons of Speed From A Racer’s View

Professionally I am a motojournalist. For fun I am a vintage motorcycle enthusiast. And I was able to combine the two this past week at the first ever Sons of Speed race at the tail end of Daytona Bike Week. As the only journalist crazy enough to get out on a high banked race track on a 100-year-old motorcycle with no brakes, suspension, transmission or clutch, I wanted to share some of my experiences and observations here. Most journalists hang around the pits or track looking for a good story, I wanted to experience racing Sons of Speed for myself.

Buzz Kanter being interviewed with his 1915 Harley racer at the first ever Sons of Speed races at New Smyrna Speedway

I will be going into a lot more detail about the behind the scenes and actual Sons of Speed races in the pages of American Iron Magazine, but I wanted to share a bit of the story here and now.

These motorcycles are all direct drive, meaning if the engine is running, the rear wheel is spinning. So we could not practice anywhere but literally on the track. The first day of practice we all were trying to figure out how to ride the bikes and the fastest way around the track. We’d push the bike up on the high banking – often with the spearkplugs out to make pushing easier. Then we roll down the banking to spin the engine enough to start. The starting was brutal on the bike and rider as you are trying to balance the bike and get it to fire as you lift up your feet and get them on the pegs.

Rhett Rotten sliding out at the Sons of Speed practice. He broke 2 ribs and was back racing the next day

To our surprise there was only one accident on the track. And that was when Rhett Rotten, a Wall of Death rider, suffered a rear tire blow out. He and the bike slid, jumped and bounced down the track at close to 60+ mph. He broke two ribs and after a visit to the local hospital was back on the track for the races.

All the Sons of Speed racers on race day. Notice the crowded stands.

When we finally got out to race Saturday, they had us in four heat races. The plan was the winners of the four move to the finals. And the 2nd place racers in each heat raced for a spot in the main.

I am not going to go blow by blow here, but in the first heat Billy Lane jumped out at the start and took the lead with me following and two others behind me.

Buzz Kanter (white leathers) and Billy Lane (black leathers) at the Sons of Speed races.

I was able to stay within 10 bike lengths or so of Billy until the last lap when I was able to slide past him and hold the lead for the win.

Made it to the main where I was able to hold on to 4th place with Brittney Olsen taking the win with her fast bike and smooth riding. Full report with lots more photos in an upcoming issue of American Iron Magazine. If you don’t currently subscribe, do it now to make sure you get the issue with the race coverage AND save money too. SUBSCRIBE & SAVE

Ghosts and Dopplegangers at Willie’s Tropical Tattoo Chopper Show 2017

Willie's Tropical Tattoo Chopper Show is a Bike Week institution.

Willie’s Tropical Tattoo Chopper Show is a Bike Week institution.

“Damn, dude, I thought I saw a doppleganger.”

The randomness of this comment directed at me fit the randomness of Willie’s Tropical Tattoo Chopper Show. Because there’s no rhyme or reason, no sense of order or conformity at Willie’s, it’s just a good old fashioned bro-fest. Come chill out, wedge your bike in the parking lot, and spend the afternoon bumping into everybody and their mother as you make slow circles around the building. Eat some Q, drink some beer, share a story or two. Willie’s is an institution, a Bike Week tradition, it’s the one show in Daytona that nobody wants to miss.

Parting the sea at Willie's Tropical Tattoo Show.

Parting the sea at Willie’s Tropical Tattoo Show.

“I remind you of somebody?” I asked in return.

“Yeah, for a second there, I swore I saw my buddy. He died a few months back when he got hit on his bike down in Costa Rica.”

“Wow. Sorry to hear about your bro. Maybe this is his way of letting you know he’s here.”

“Oh yeah, I have no doubt he’s here today. No doubt.”

See, just about everybody was at Willie’s. Even ghosts and dopplegangers.

Moonshiner Josh Owens makes friends just about everywhere he goes

Moonshiner Josh Owens makes friends just about everywhere he goes.

Perewitz Paint Show Daytona 2017

Though the Perewitz Paint Shows are relatively new on the scene, it’s taking little time for Dave and Jody’s gathering to gain steam. This year’s Daytona Bike Week show filled the perimeter of the vast Russ Brown Pavilion at Destination Daytona, Jody P. stating there were officially 55 bikes entered in the show, though many more streamed in over the course of the afternoon. Entries in the show were a cross-section of current crazes, a bonanza of big wheeled baggers with big dollar paint mixed with a sprinkle of T-barred club-style FXRs, garage builds and choppers mixed in between. Jody and Dave collaborated to paint the “Best of Show” trophy, while Bones and others dabbled and daubed on the other sweet trophies. Not surprisingly, the Hamsters were well represented, and even the first family of custom bike building – Arlen, Cory and Ness stopped by to check things out.

Turbo bagger Perewitz Paint Show 2017

Turbo baggers are a common site at bike shows these days.

Sweet spokes Lead Sled Perewitz Paint Show 2017

Sweet spokes!

Orange Flake chopper at the Perewitz Paint Show 2017

Flaked and chopped!

The Nesses and Dave Perewitz Daytona Beach 2017

The Ness family shares a laugh with old friend Dave Perewitz.

Perewitz Paint Show Trophies Daytona Beach

The Perewitz Paint Show has some of the coolest trophies!

Skulls Perewitz Paint Show 2017

Wouldn’t be a proper paint show without a skull or two.

Lead Sled Perewitz Paint Show 2017

That’s one fine Lead Sled!