October 22, 2016

Many cruisers, like this pre-war Knucklehead, were “bobbed” by their owners. The concept came from racers lightening their bikes by cutting off sections of the rear fender and eliminating the one on front. They called these 'bob jobs." Racing in the United States in the 1930s was starting to gain real public interest as more and more major motorcycle events were being hosted. A real boost came with the AMA’s introduction of Class C racing in 1933. It allowed production (stock) motorcycles on the track. This was to encourage racing during a time when factory teams were dwindling. The Great Depression had taken its toll, and Class A racing (using purpose built racing bikes) was at an all-time low. Few could afford the expense of building one-off racers and hiring talent to ride them. Class B racing, allowing amateurs to race modified machines, wasn’t doing much better. Modifications cost money. Few could afford it. Class C racing however gave a lot of amateur racers an opportunity to com...

October 12, 2016

The immortal Marty Dickerson on the Bonneville Salt Flats with his Lightning spec Vincent Rapide. Marty kept breaking records after his buddy Rollie Free broke the 150 mph mark in 1948 on a Vincent. Marty is also featured in The World's Fastest Indian. Photo thanks to Seth Dorfler, a friend of Marty's. 

"Marty Dickerson is best known for setting speed records on his own Vincent HRD Rapide during the 1950s. Dickerson set a Class C* record of 129 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in 1951. When the record was broken a year later, Dickerson came back with an improved version of his Vincent in 1953 and turned in a run of 147 mph. That record held for 20 years. 

Dickerson was also a top-notch West Coast road racer. He won the 250cc division in the famous Catalina Grand Prix in 1953 on a Jawa. Philip Vincent, the founder of Vincent Motorcycles, knew of Dickerson’s efforts and sent him some special cams and exhaust pipes. Dickerson also studied the rulebook and found some unique loophol...

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©2016 Armand Ensanian

Equus Potentia Publishing

Discovering the Motorcycle