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Marty Dickerson and the Vincent

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 loopholes that allowed him to do away with the standard seat and replace it with just a small pad low on the rear wheel well. He also turned his handlebars upside-down to give him a more streamlined riding position. 

With the new modifications, Dickerson went back to Bonneville in 1953 and shattered the Class C record, turning in a two-way run that averaged 147 mph. During that run, he cracked the elusive 150 mph barrier in one direction. The 147 mph record held for a remarkable 20 years until a Yoshimura Kawasaki Z1 finally broke it in 1973, with a speed of 155 mph." 

* Class C utilizes production bikes whereas Rollie Free's record was on a race modified Vincent Black Shadow thereafter called the Lightning.
Reprinted from: http://www.motorcyclemuseum.org/halloffame/detail.aspx?RacerID=159

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