New Year’s Moto Resolutions
SHIFTING GEARS, by Buzz Kanter, Publisher
I had the good fortune to buy Butch Baer’s 1937 Indian Sport Scout racer
Yes, I know about all the goofy New Year’s resolutions, and it’s that time of year when we get to read or hear about lots of them. But I’m going to make a few here anyway. Forget the usual unrealistic nonsense like “Go to the gym twice a day, every day” or “Eat only rabbit food on week days that end with a Y,” I plan to simplify my life to focus more on what I enjoy. And much of that is motorcycle related.
I love exploring on a motorcycle. But it’s been a long time since I did any long-distance touring just for fun. As they say, life got in the way, or I got busy, or I found it easy to put it off until sometime in the future. There are some great touring bikes on the market these days. I recently purchased a wonderful 2017 Indian Roadmaster Classic, and I plan to use it for touring. While I hope to ride lots of other motorcycles in 2018, one resolution is to enjoy more quality time and miles on my Roadmaster.
In the last issue I shared my short four-day tour on the Indian up to Quebec. Not sure where I’ll go next, but wherever it will be, I am already looking forward to sharing it with you. If you have not been on a motorcycle tour recently, just follow the Nike slogan: “Just do it!” Even if only for a long weekend. What a great way to explore, have fun, and put the stress of the real world on hold. We’d love to share your favorite tours, roads, and attractions with our readers. You can send them to us at Letters@AmericanIronMag.com.
Many years ago, I had visions of a professional racing career that, looking back, far exceeded my riding skills or commitment. After decades away from motorcycle racing, I am feeling the gentle but steady pull of the competition. After riding in the first three Motorcycle Cannonball coast-to-coast events (2010, 2012, and 2014), I’ve had my fill of these fantastic timed cross-country adventures on antique motorcycles.
A few years ago, I had the good fortune to buy Butch Baer’s 1937 Indian Sport Scout racer. Butch is a longtime friend and mentor. If you are unaware of the Baer family’s amazing history with classic Indian motorcycles, Google them. I wasn’t planning on road racing his old Scout, but…my resolve is weak. To make a long story short, I have raced it on and off for a few years and now have it pretty well sorted out and more competitive than I am on the track. I didn’t race it in 2017 but resolve to compete in more events with the USCRA (United States Classic Racing Association) in 2018. I need to give racers Paul Leone and Randy Hoffman someone to dice with on the track, even if all I’ll ever see are their rear tires.
Of all the classic motorcycle racing I have done, the most fun and terrifying competition must be Billy Lane’s Sons of Speed antique boardtrack racing I did on New Smyrna Speedway. We push 100-year-old, direct-drive race bikes off a steep bank to fire them off. No brakes, no transmission, no clutch—these skinny-tired fire breathers hit speeds of 80 or 90 miles per hour! I raced my 1915 Harley boardtracker in Florida in March and again in October. The chassis was built by Billy Lane, the engine was built and race-tuned by Matt Walksler, and the whole thing was painted (bright orange) by John Dills. It is faster than I dared push it, and I expect October was my last race on it. I am considering letting some other racer pilot it in March.
Ride safe, ride smart, have fun.
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