Laconia Rally News: Team American Iron To Race Classic Handshift Indian Motorcycle

If you are planning on attending the Laconia Rally in June you might consider swinging by the New Hampshire Motor Speedway to check out the classic motorcycle racing Saturday June 14 and Sunday June 15, 2014.

Among the classic racers will be our very own Buzz Kanter, Editor-in-Chief of American Iron Magazine, coming out of a 35 year retirement to road race a 1937 Indian Sport Scout handshift racer on the track. He plans to complete in at least two classes each day – the challenging tank shifter class, and the Pre-1950 class.

Buzz will be racing the ex-Butch Baer 1937 Indian Sport Scout. He will be wearing a Bell helmet, and Vanson leathers and using Spectro oils in the racer. There will be a number of classic and vintage motorcycle races on Saturday (USCRA)and again on Sunday with the FIM’s North American Vintage Road Racing Championships. You can purchase tickets the day of the races for the stands or up-close and personal in the racer pits. For more information please visit

Help Dave Roper Ride 1911 Indian At Isle of Man TT Motorcycle Race

I have known and raced with my old friend and famed motorcycle racer Dave Roper since the 1970s. He is a wonderful, caring and generous man and one heck of a racer.
Last year Dave Roper approached me at American Iron Magazine with an idea of riding a 1911 Indian motorcycle racerbike at this year’s Isle of Man to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the one and only time an American motorcycle won the famed Isle of Man races.
Dave partnered up with ex-Antique Motorcycle Club of America president Pete Gagen to create a team. They are well into the plans and are looking for support for their efforts. Please read about the efforts and support if you can at Dave Roper’s blog. – Buzz Kanter
Barely 100 years have passed since a team of Indian motorcycles swept the first three places at the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy, and now another Indian entry is set to commemorate this historic victory of the first and only American brand to win a TT race. 
A replica of the special 580 cc Indian TT model V-twin has been built by Canadian entrant Peter Gagan and on Friday, June 10, 2011 it will lead the centenary parade lap for historic machines. The rider will be Dave Roper, the first American ever to win an Isle of Man TT. Roper has a lifetime of achievement in vintage racing, including more than 20 AHRMA national championships as well as his win of the 1984 Senior Classic TT on a G50 Matchless.
Roper will be first of 26 starters in the “Milestones of the Mountain” parade lap, leading such legends as Giacomo Agostini, Phil Read and current TT star John McGuinness. They and their famous machines represent highlights in the history of the Tourist Trophy  in the 100 years since its adoption of the full 37.73 mile Mountain Course. The TT was first held on a shorter course starting in 1907.
The Indian factory’s star rider in the 1911 Senior Tourist Trophy race was Canadian-born board track legend Jacob DeRosier, supported by three local riders from England and Ireland. In the event, though, DeRosier suffered tire failure and was disqualified for accepting outside help while Oliver Godfrey, Charles Franklin and Arthur Moorhouse swept the first three places.
Their mounts were special machines built at the Indian factory in Springfield, Mass., to comply with TT rules. Single-cylinder machines were limited to 500 cc displacement while twins, which operated less efficiently with the atmospherically-opened inlet valves which were common at the time, were given an 80 cc advantage. Chief engineer Oscar Hedstrom adapted a 680 cc Indian “little twin” with a smaller cylinder bore and added a two-speed transmission from the company’s 1,000 cc “big twin” to cope with the demands of the hilly Isle of Man course.
None of these special machines survived intact to the present day, but fortunately about 10 years ago Peter Gagan located a 580 cc Indian racing engine in England. It may have been from one of the original TT machines but the records that could verify it do not exist. Working from his home in White Rock, British Columbia, Gagan constructed a replica using a 1911 Indian frame and transmission. No drawings of the TT bikes exist, so the frame modifications and exhaust pipes had to be fabricated according to photographs of the originals. The machine bears Godfrey’s race number 26.
Gagan has a lifetime of experience with early motorcycles, having been a member for more than 50 years of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America, of which he is past president. He has also served as president of the Antique Motorcycle Foundation and was founder of the Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group.
Gagan and his team are eager to hear from potential sponsors of this historic return to the legendary Isle of Man. They can be reached at
Please note also the Paypal link elsewhere on this page to help Dave Roper with the considerable expense of attending this historic event.
Click HERE to support Dave’s efforts with your support. Even $10 helps.

1939 Indian Classic Motorcycle Racer

One of the coolest web sites we have found is BikeEXIF which posts photos of a different motorcycle almost every day of the year. Some of the feature motorcycles are customized Harleys, which we try to share here on the American Iron Harley magazine on-line site, and others are classic American motorcycle features.

This particular feature is an amazing purpose built antique 1939 Indian motorcycle racer.

Indian 741
I first saw this lovely Indian several months ago, but was unable to track down any images. Then yesterday the owner of ‘Saltcracker’ contacted me out of the blue: it’s Lars Nielsen, the Danish owner of a Honda Gold Wing bobber that we featured two years ago. Lars’ Indian is a 1939 model with a ‘741’ engine, bored out from 500 to 600cc. He built this bike to run at Bonneville, in the 600cc Special Construction Vintage Supercharged Fuel class. (Yes, Saltcracker is not only supercharged, but also runs on methanol.) It’s sporting an AISIN supercharger from a small Japanese car, and a Rivera SU Eliminator carburettor. The front end is from a 90s Harley Sportster, lowered 2”, and there’s barely a part on the bike that hasn’t been heavily modified. On his first time out, Lars clocked a creditable 88 mph (142 kph). Check out Lars’ build diaries here and here for the full lowdown.

Indian 741

Indian 741

Bike EXIF supplies a daily dose of cafe racers, custom motorcycles and bobbers