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

Classic Harley Update: Buzz Kanter’s Motorcycle Cannonball Harley

The 1936 Harley VLH Buzz Kanter is planning on riding 4,000 miles coast to coast on the upcoming Motorcycle Cannonball is totally rebuilt. After breaking in the spare engine Buzz brought the classic Harley back to RetroCycle in Boonton, NJ to swap out the spare engine for the competition one.

1936 Harley VLH classic motorcycle for Motorcycle Cannonball 2014.

“As described in the series of articles in American Iron Magazine, we rode the rebuilt spare engine a few hundred break-in miles, and now it is time to pull it and install the freshly rebuilt competition engine.” Buzz Kanter explained.  We have to put a few hundred miles on this one and we should be good to go for the ride in September.

This is one of four classic Harleys on Adventure Power’s Team American Iron.

The 2014 Motorcycle Cannonball is a 4,000 mile endurance ride for 1936 and older motorcycles. For more info please visit www.MotorcycleCannonball.com.

Adventure Power® Joins Team American Iron For 2014 Motorcycle Cannonball

Adventure Power®, a Universal Power Group, Inc. brand, has joined forces with TAM Communications’ American Iron Magazine to create Team American Iron, a four-rider team that will compete in the third Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run. This is the third Motorcycle Cannonball coast-to-coast ride for vintage motorcycles. Adventure Power is pleased to be the title sponsor of the team that features two Motorcycle Hall of Fame inductees, Editor-in-Chief and founder of TAM Communications, Buzz Kanter, and author Cris Sommer Simmons. Kanter and Simmons are joined by Cris’ husband, rock icon Pat Simmons, co-founder, songwriter, guitarist and vocalist for the Doobie Brothers, and Paul Ousey, President of Oz Trucking and Rigging and a veteran of the previous two Motorcycle Cannonball events.

The Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run will follow a southeast-to-northwest 4,100 mile transcontinental route starting in Daytona Beach, Florida, and ending 17 days later in Tacoma, Washington. More than 100 riders from around the world are expected to participate in the event, which is open to participants riding pre-1937 motorcycles. Riders will average upwards of 300 miles per day, spending more than eight hours each day on the road. The scenic route sticks mostly to America’s back roads and will include planned stops at a variety of motorcycle dealers, museums and other points of interest along the way. The full route and complete schedule of stops is available at www.MotorcycleCannonball.com.

In addition to sponsoring Team American Iron, Adventure Power® will also provide batteries to all registered Motorcycle Cannonball riders. Extra batteries will also be available to riders in need along the way.

“We are excited to partner with TAM Communications and look forward to being part of this incredible, cross country adventure with Team American Iron,” said Ian Edmonds, President and CEO of UPG. “The Motorcycle Cannonball is a grueling test of endurance for both the riders and their machines, and for us it’s an incredible opportunity to demonstrate the power and durability of our products under some of the most challenging conditions.”

“Adventure Power is growing into a leading power sports brand, offering exceptional products and support to industry events and riders everywhere,” said American Iron Magazine publisher Buzz Kanter. They are a welcome partner for Team American Iron, and we are thrilled to have them on board.”

American Iron Magazine, the best-selling Harley magazine in the world, will publish articles leading up to and following the actual Motorcycle Cannonball event in print and on-line. For more information, please visit www.aimag.com.

The Adventure Power® brand offers a complete line of batteries for motorcycles, scooters, ATV’s, personal watercrafts, snowmobiles, and American V-Twins. These batteries are designed, engineered and tested in accordance with JASA’s JIS D 5302, the internationally accepted standard for power sports batteries, to meet the needs of the demanding lifestyle of the power sports enthusiasts. The brand offers a full range of options, including batteries that are compatible with virtually every model of power sport vehicle available. The company’s lineup includes everything from modern, high-performance lithium ion options for today’s high-powered vehicles, to more conventional lead acid batteries for early model, vintage machines.

All Adventure Power® products are made using time-tested technology, combined with modern manufacturing processes, to create powerful, reliable and affordable products. Adventure Power® batteries feature a high-impact-resistant case designed to reduce vibration resistance and offer longer life, making them more dependable. The majority of the brand’s products are factory activated and maintenance free, and Adventure Power® offers nationwide support. For helpful tips, product support, or to locate a dealer, visit www.apbatteries.com.

About Universal Power Group, Inc.
Universal Power Group, Inc. is a leading supplier of batteries and power accessories, and a provider of supply chain and other value-added services. UPG’s product offerings include proprietary brands of industrial and consumer batteries of all chemistries, chargers, jump-starters, 12-volt accessories, and solar and security products. UPG’s supply chain services include procurement, warehousing, inventory management, distribution, fulfillment and value-added services such as sourcing, battery pack assembly and coordinating battery recycling efforts, as well as product development. For more information, please visit the UPG website at www.upgi.com.

About TAM Communications, Inc.
TAM Communications, Inc. is the leading American publisher of motorcycle magazines including American Iron Magazine, American Iron Garage, Motorcycle Bagger and the recently repositioned Motorcycle magazine. In addition to the print and digital magazines, TAM owns several motorcycle-related web sites and promotes motorcycle-related events. For more information, please visit the magazines’ Facebook pages or www.AIMag.com, www.MotorcycleBagger.com, www.TheMotorcycleMag.com or www.caimag.com for classic motorcycles.

Harley News: Team American Iron’s 4 Classic Harley Riders Join For Motorcycle Cannonball 2014

TEAM AMERICAN IRON FOR 2014 MOTORCYCLE CANNONBALL
Antique Motorcycles To Ride In 4,000 Plus Mile Coast-to-Coast Endurance Competition

STAMFORD, CT. (Nov. 6, 2013) – Buzz Kanter, the publisher of American Iron Magazine, the best-selling Harley magazine in the world, today announced the formation of Team American Iron for the 2014 Motorcycle Cannonball vintage motorcycle endurance ride.

The Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run is returning for 2014, and it will be the most challenging to date. This will be the third running of the coast-to-coast endurance ride for classic motorcycles and riders.

The 2014 Motorcycle Cannonball will start in Daytona Beach, Fla, on September 5 and cover more than 4,000 miles to Tacoma, Wash., on September 21. The event is open to riders on 1936 or older motorcycles. The field, which allows 100 riders, is reported to already be sold out with a waiting list.

Four longtime enthusiasts and good friends are joining forces to create the first-ever Team American Iron specifically for the 2014 Motorcycle Cannonball ride. Paul Ousey and Buzz Kanter competed in both previous Motorcycle Cannonballs and Cris Sommer Simmons competed in the first one. This will be Pat Simmons’ first time riding the Cannonball. The team consists of four riders, two mechanics, and a support truck manager/driver.

American Iron Magazine will be following the team’s progress in print and on line, from building and prepping the four classic Harley-Davidson motorcycles, through the coast-to-coast ride. Two riders (Paul and Pat) plan on competing in J-series Harleys, and the other two (Cris and Buzz) will be riding Harley V-series flatheads.

Team American Iron Riders
Buzz Kanter. Buzz is the publisher of American Iron Magazine, Motorcycle Bagger, American Iron Garage and recently renamed Motorcycle magazine (formerly RoadBike). A longtime collector and rider of antique motorcycles, Buzz rode a 1915 Harley twin in the first Motorcycle Cannonball, and his 1929 Harley JDH “Two Cam” on the second one. Buzz has been inducted into all three Motorcycle Halls of Fame. Buzz plans to compete on his 1936 Harley VLH flathead in 2014.

Paul Ousey. Paul, a longtime collector and rider of classic motorcycles, competed in the first Motorcycle Cannonball on his 1913 single-cylinder belt drive Harley. He partnered with Buzz Kanter and Jim Petty on the second Motorcycle Cannonball in 2012 on his 1925 Harley JE. In 2014 Paul plans to compete on the same 1925 Harley J-series he rode on the 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball.

Pat Simmons. Pat is a longtime collector, mechanic, and rider of antique motorcycles. When not off wrenching or riding his classic motorcycles, Pat makes his living as a musician. He is one of the lead singers and a founding member of the Grammy Award winning Doobie Brothers. Pat acted as support staff for his wife Cris and her 1915 Harley Effie on the first Motorcycle Cannonball. For 2014 Pat plans to compete on his 1929 Harley JD.

Cris Sommer Simmons. Cris is one of the founders of Harley Women magazine, the author of several motorcycle books, including Cannonball Diary and The American Motorcycle Girls 1900-1950, and is a regular columnist in American Iron Magazine. Cris rode her 1915 Harley twin on the first Motorcycle Cannonball in 2010. She has been inducted into all three Motorcycle Halls of Fame and is married to Pat Simmons. Cris plans to compete on her 1934 Harley VD flathead in 2014.

Team American Iron Support Staff
Steve Coe. Coe, a veteran mechanic of both previous Motorcycle Cannonball events, is the chief mechanic for Team American Iron. Coe is a longtime mechanic and road racer of classic motorcycles.

Michael Weesner. “Weeze”, who helped wrench on the second Motorcycle Cannonball, is the support mechanic for Team American Iron. Weeze is a longtime vintage motorcycle mechanic and enthusiast.

Paul Tanaka. “Ponytail Paul” is the manager and driver of the Team American Iron support truck. Ponytail Paul is a professional truck driver.

About American Iron Magazine
American Iron Magazine, the best-selling Harley-oriented motorcycle magazine in the world, will be celebrating its 25th year of publication in 2014. Published by TAM Communications, American Iron Magazine covers the exciting field of American motorcycles, ranging from new motorcycles and products, tech and how-to, classic and custom American motorcycles to events, and more. For more information, please visit www.aimag.com.

About Motorcycle Cannonball
Started by Lonnie Isam, Jr. in 2010 as a coast-to-coast endurance ride for antique motorcycles, this will be the third and longest Motorcycle Cannonball ride to date. For more information please visit www.MotorcycleCannonball.com.

Team American Iron Announced For Motorcycle Cannonball 2014

The Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run is returning for 2014 and it will be the most challenging to date. This will be the third running of the coast-to-coast endurance ride for classic motorcycles and riders. It will start in Daytona Beach, FL on September 5 and cover nearly 4,200 miles to Tacoma, WA on September 21, 2014. The event is open to riders on 1936 or older motorcycles. The field, which allows 100 riders, is already sold out with a waiting list.

Four long time enthusiasts and good friends are joining forces to create the first ever Team American Iron specifically for the 2014 Motorcycle Cannonball ride. The team consists of four riders, two mechanics, and a support truck manager/driver. The team is as follows:

RIDERS
Paul Ousey. Paul, a long time collector and rider of classic motorcycles, competed in the first Motorcycle Cannonball on his 1913 single cylinder belt drive Harley. He partnered up with Buzz Kanter and Jim Petty on the second Motorcycle Cannonball in 2012 on his 1925 Harley JE. For 2014 Paul plans to compete on his 1925 Harley JE once again.

Cris Sommer Simmons. Cris is one of the founders of Harley Women magazine, the author of several motorcycle books, including Cannonball Diary and The American Motorcycle Girls 1900-1950, and is a regular columnist in American Iron Magazine. Cris rode her 1915 Harley twin on the first Motorcycle Cannonball in 2010. She has been inducted into all three Motorcycle Halls of Fame and is married to Pat Simmons. For 2014 Cris plans to compete on her 1934 Harley VD flathead.

Pat Simmons. Pat is a long time collector, mechanic and rider of antique motorcycles. When not wrenching or riding on his classic motorcycles Pat makes a living as a musician. He is one of the lead singers, and a founding member of the Grammy Award winning Doobie Brothers. Pat acted as support staff for his wife Cris and her 1915 Harley Effie on the first Motorcycle Cannonball. For 2014 Pat plans to compete on his 1929 Harley JD.

Buzz Kanter. Buzz is the publisher of American Iron Magazine, Motorcycle Bagger, American Iron Garage and RoadBike. A long time collector and rider of antique motorcycles, Buzz rode a 1915 Harley twin in the first Motorcycle Cannonball, and his 1929 Harley JDH “Two Cam” on the second one in 2012. Buzz has been inducted into all three Motorcycle Halls of Fame. For 2014 Buzz plans to compete on his 1936 Harley VLH flathead.

OTHER TEAM MATES
Coe Lead Mechanic.
Wheeze Support Mechanic.
Ponytail Paul Support truck manager/driver.

All members of Team American Iron thanks Dale Walksler and the Wheels Through Time museum crew for helping prep the motorcycles for this grueling ride.

About American Iron Magazine. Celebrating its 25th year of publication in 2014, American Iron Magazine is the best selling Harley-oriented magazine in the world. For more information please visit www.aimag.com.

About Motorcycle Cannonball. Started by Lonnie Isam, Jr in 2010 as a coast-to-coast endurance ride for antique motorcycles, this will be the third and longest Motorcycle Cannonball ride to date. For more information please visit www.MotorcycleCannonball.com.

Team American Iron Motorcycle Cannonball 1929 Harley Update

I have been working on my 1929 Harley-Davidson JDH every week to get better prepared for the up-coming Motorcycle Cannonball in September. I have been so busy working on the bike and my job at American Iron Magazine, Motorcycle Bagger and RoadBike that I have not posted anything on this blog in a while. So here is a quick update on my Motorcycle Cannonball Harley Two Cam.

Motorcycle Cannonball Ready 1929 Harley JDH 2 Cam

The bike is running well, starting easily and making great power. The brakes are marginal at best but I am learning better how to cope with that. We added an era-correct luggage rack and a set of cheap saddlebags I found on ebay. I have two mirrors and the mounting bracket for the route holder, and installed a fork brace and a rare vintage Hanson roll up windshield.

I have the bike legally registered and insured and I am running a rear 1929 Connecticut license plate. In addition I added one of the two official Motorcycle Cannonball plates and need to figure out how to mount the other on securely.

I took the bike up to the AMCA Rhinebeck NY meet last week and enjoyed riding it around up there until the gas line split and began running raw gas onto the generator. I replaced the steel Y pipe with long rubber gas lines and a plastic T fitting I bought at in the plumbing section of Home Depot for a couple of bucks.

The bike usually starts on the first hot kick and runs well. I replaced the fossil oil in the sump and oil tank with Amsoil synthetic (thanks Amsoil for sponsoring Team American Iron’s Motorcycle Cannonball ride) and feel I might have only some fine tuning to do before the 3,800 mile ride from New York to San Fransisco in September.

Team American Iron Support Staff Motorcycle Cannonball 2012

If you would like to support Team American Iron we are selling our Support Staff T-shirts for $20.

The art on the front shows my 1929 Harley riding across the US.

The art on the back has my #15 and Team American Iron Support Staff.

To order your shirt(s) please visit http://www.greaserag.com/product_info.php?products_id=238&osCsid=rf6k1s6k2ks9v11jcckni7g7l3