Billy Lanes Sons of Speed, Daytona FL

Sons of Speed, a Race of Pre-1925 Board-Track Motorcycles

Billy Lane of Choppers Inc. had a vision to race vintage board-track motorcycles with his friends, family, and other respected builders and racers. Sons of Speed finally kicked off in Daytona during the 76th bike week at the New Smyrna Speedway, after having been cancelled due to Hurricane Matthew.

Waiting outside the New Smyrna gates, there was definitely some anticipation and excitement to see these bikes perform on the track. Since these vintage bikes have no clutch or gearbox, the four riders are positioned at the top of the banked track and are push-started with the help of gravity and some manpower. It’s so great to hear the bikes fire up once the twin engines roar to life, propelling the riders down the paved track.

Billy and his team have built several bikes for this race. They have had all excess taken off, and are very lean, have no brakes, and their staggered foot pegs reposition the rider to lean easier into the left turns. Controls-wise only needing a throttle and a magneto kill switch, these bikes are built only to race.

The practice day on Friday was great, everyone figuring out their bikes and getting a feel for the half-mile banked track. Lots of smiles, and lots of wrenching on the bikes between runs. Near the end of the day, Rhett Rotten took a bit of a spill as something dislodged in his rear wheel and he went into a skid. Luckily he was ok, but his bike will need some quick repair before race day.

Friday night, Choppers Inc. was bustling with the repairs and modifications on several of the bikes that were raced and one that crashed. Paul Cox was still fabricating some parts for his 1917 Indian Powerplus, “Centurion.” It’s great to see all the Choppers Inc. team and Rick Petko come together and help each other out with the bikes, and really impressive to be surrounded by so much bike building and mechanical knowledge. The only thing these guys couldn’t do was fabricate more time. I told Paul “No Sleep Till Brooklyn!” and left at 2am. The crew were all still hustling. Passion and drive never sleeps. I had my fingers crossed that Paul and Rhett would have their bikes running on the track that morning.

Race Day

All the bikes and riders have made it back to the infield of the raceway. Many of the bikes have been rejuvenated and repaired. Paul Cox fires up the 100-year-old Indian Powerplus for the first time, and Rhett’s bike has a new rear end.

The full grandstands are graced by Willie G. and Bruce Davidson; you may have heard of their company. Hundred-year-old bikes racing around, the thundering engines, and roaring crowd made for quite an atmosphere at the speedway. Billy’s vision has finally come to fruition. It’s nice to spend a minute with him at the side of the track as he is watching the other racers zoom by and absorbing the day with a big smile on his face.

After several great heats of neck and neck racing, Brittney Olsen took first, besting Matt Harris and Shelly Rossmeyer in the final. I always love the story that the engine in her winning Harley was actually a motor Matt Olsen bought from Buzz Kanter, which he gave to Brittney in place of an engagement ring when he proposed. He definitely knew the way to her heart and podium. In the winner’s circle she thanked Billy and her fellow racers for the great competition, her pit crew, family, and of course the fans. She’s a great ambassador for vintage racing. I look forward to seeing what’s next for her.
Thank you Billy, and everyone who helped him put on this great event. The next Sons of Speed will be at the Full Throttle dirt track in Sturgis during the 77th Rally.

 

Racers:

Billy Lane – 1924 Harley

Warren Lane – 1920 Indian Powerplus

Brittney Olsen – 1923 Harley J Model

Buzz Kanter – 1915 Harley

Paul Cox – 1917 Indian Powerplus

Matt Harris – 1923 Harley

Shelly Rossmeyer – 1915 Harley

Rick Petko – Indian 1919 Powerplus

Rhett Rotten – 1919 Harley

Xavier Muriel – 1913 P.E.M

Josh Owens – 1919 Harley

Bill Rodencal – 1915 Harley

Ken Curtis – 1914 Harley

 

Steve Coe on the pace bike

 

 

 

 

 

Fine Art Site: HELMGALLERY.com

 

 

 

 

Words and photos by Bryan Helm

 

 

Alternative Photo Revolution group show

Master Print maker Bob Carnie is printing some of my work for a group show.  The Alternative Photo Revolution show will be traveling from  Glen Echo, Maryland 04/28 – New Orleans 05/01 – Toronto, On for the Contact festival. 05/15-06/ 17. Bob is exploring a lot of traditional vintage printing processes. Tri Colour Gum, Tri Colour Gum Over Palladium,  Duo Tone, Duo Tone Digital Silver Print to name a few.

 

 

Americana Magazine- The Race Of Gentlemen, Wildwood NJ

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AMERICANA MAGAZINE Cover image by Margaret Malandruccolo

 

 

 

Margaret Malandruccolo has put together another great issue of AMERICANA.

-Lance Henriksen

-Native American activist Elousie Cobell

-The Race of Gentlemen

-Rockabilly Music

and more American Flavor.

Here’s the link to order the printed version.

 

 

 

I was down in Wildwood NJ, to photograph this years East Coast-  The Race of Gentlemen, The west coast Race will be next month Oct 16. Pismo Beach CA.

Was a great time watching vintage bikes and hotrods race down the beach.  One of the highlights for me was being down in the staging area really early sunday morn.  The tide was high and there was an eerie  mist/fog that hadn’t burned off.  Very peaceful before the inevitable roaring automotive storm.  Site Gallery from race day.

 

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Communications Photography Annual

Had the pleasure of being selected for the Communication Arts 2016 Photo Annual.

5 images from a story I shot for 1903, The Frozen Few- Vintage Ice racers.

You can View the other winning imagery here

 

 

Communication Arts publishes  Photography Annual 57, the winners of  its 57th annual photography competition

Menlo Park, California, June 27, 2016—Communication Arts magazine, a professional journal for those involved in creativity in visual communications, has published the results of its 57th annual photography competition, the most exclusive major photography competition in the world.
Of the 4,024 entries submitted to the 57th annual photography competition, only 137 were selected by  
a jury of respected creative professionals, representing the work of photographers, videographers, design firms, agencies, publishers and in-house creative departments.
The selected projects are handsomely reproduced in Photography Annual 57, the July/August 2016 issue of Communication Arts, both in print and on the iPad, and online at Commarts.com. With the largest international circulation of any trade journal on visual communications, having work selected is considered
a significant professional milestone to the creators and publishers of these award-winning projects.

 

You can View the other winning imagery here

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The Race of Gentlemen, Wildwood NJ

On assignment for the Wall St, Journal, 1903 magazine, and Americana magazine at the race of Gentlemen, Wildwood NJ.

Always great seeing old friends, and meeting lots of new ones. Really talented and focused builders and racers.  Here are a few of my favorites from the weekend.  Stay Tuned for the final articles own the road.

 

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