Allstate Motorcycle Dirt Track Heroes presented by J&P Cycles Exhibit
Whether you call it flat track or dirt track racing, it’s a thrilling form of motorcycle competition unique to America. Now Allstate Motorcycle Dirt Track Heroes presented by J&P Cycles brings together nearly 30 race bikes, over 20 sets of leathers and countless photos, paintings and prints. It’s been assembled to build a great exhibition in tribute to the #1 Plate Grand National Champions, tuners and other dirt track greats and many of the motorcycles they raced.
Triumph 650’s, the Harley WR’s, KR750’s and XR750’s, BSA Gold Stars, and some fine short trackers like the Bultaco Astro are all in the mix. Rare #1 leathers King Kenny wore, Aldana’s “skeleton” design as well as leathers Daytona 200 winner Don Emde also wore when he raced the TransAtlantic Match races decades ago. Paintings by Scott Jacobs, prints by Harry Miller as well as photos from Camel Pro photographer Bert Shepard help give action to the exhibit.
Rare among the bikes is a one off that uses a Honda CX500 engine, long before Honda built their own, the NS750 and a machine powered by a Polaris 440 show mobile power plant. Don Castro’s outrageous Tracy-bodied Triumph, outlawed after its first race, Bart Markel’s Harley KR750, his rare bronze Mechanics Award and the checker flag he won at Springfield are on display as well. Terry Poovey’s XR750, Shobert’s RS750, the last Triumph Gary Nixon raced at the end of his professional career and even a Harley MX250 Bill Werner tuned that helped Scott Parker and Jay Springsteen to three National race wins. The story of steel shoe master builder Ken Maely is also included with over a dozen steel shoes on display including his personal shoe, “KM” arc welded onto its toe. And you can check out the “race shop” with master frame builder John Kite’s frame jig, even a flow bench and tool box once owned by Harley racing director, Dick O’Brien.
The exhibit is open now, but you are invited to attend the official dedication on June 8 during Vintage Rally 2013 and meet Bubba Shobert, Jay Springsteen, Chris Carr even Bill Werner. Hall of Famers, #1 plate guys, among the hardest working men in Grand National Championship history. Meet them at Vintage Rally 2013. Get an autograph, ask them questions, hear their stories in the Panel Discussion. Or if it’s Beach racing that you marvel at in racing history, talk with Bill Tuman, Dick Klamfoth and Bobbie Hill plus Iowa flat track racer John Tibben. Authors Greg Pearson and Gerald Foster will have plenty of their books on dirt track racing so you can get your copy, maybe add some champions’ autographs. All at the National Motorcycle Museum June 8 and 9 during Vintage Rally 2013 as we dedicate Allstate Motorcycle Dirt Track Heroes presented by J&P Cycles.
I covered the Springfield Mile for the Springfield State Journal Register in the late ’90’s and then again in the early to mid first decade of this century. I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Bobby Hill, Jay Springsteen, Rich King, Scottie Parker, Terry Poovey, Scott Atherton, the late Will Davis, Kenny Coolbeth and others. But the most friendly and personable was land speed record holder, several National Grand Champion and numerous Springfield Mile winner Chris Carr, who always remembered my first name and made time for an interview. I only wrote for the SJ-R on the side, as I was, and still am a full-time State of Illimois player. My greatest reward was having race fans and racers, like Chris, tell me that my coverage made them feel like they were watching the race. Funny thing is, I love motorcycle flat track racing and would have covered the races for the sheer pleasure of watching, interviewing and writing about the experience. To race fans everywhere, if you haven’t seen the mile at the fastest dirt flat track in the world in Springfield, you gotta’ go at least once. And you will be hooked. I love this sport and would dearly love to cover it again. Be careful everybody. Keep riding, and make it up to J & P in Ananias, Iowa. Enjoy the ride!
Good old spellcheck…2 corrections – I work for the State of Illinois full-time, and J & P is in Anamosa, IA… Not Ananias…I have no idea where that is…sounds like a Greek God or something.
I started flat vintage flat track racing in 2012 at the age of 48. It was a short career but it was the highlight of my after kids life. The experience of a life time. When I raced at Sycamore Speedway and stood at the Racers meeting I had a long look around at my fellow racers and felt honored to be with these Great men of which I was the most junior. There were retired pro racing heros like Dave Aldana and old fairgrounds racers like dan Beher. I was racing a BSA A70L in a Trackmaster frame just like Dave Aldana rode in 1971. He came over and talked to me and took his picture and signed my trophy. I told my Pap and Mame I was goin to the dirttrack to go flattrackin.ACTED LIKE THEY WAS GUT SHOT!Says SON,Make your life goes here,HEREs WHERE THE PEOPLES IS,FLATTRACK IS FULL OF SPEED AND DANGER.Mother Larcom I SAYS,FLATTRACK IS THE MARROW OF THE WORLD, BY GOSH,I WAS RIGHT!!!
Will the Dirt Track Heroes exhibit remain open next year? I’d love to see this especially when I travel from Baltimore to Los Angeles next summer…
We are planning on extending the display all the way through to 2015!
I was at the Vintage rally in June and loved the museum and dirt track exhibit. I was there to meet Bobby Hill and Bill Tuman. My late grandfather was a tuner for them in the late 40’s into the 50’s during their hay day as “the Indian Wrecking Crew.” Thanks for having them there and giving me the chance to meet two men who were a big part of his life!
So the flat track exhibit won’t be coming down in the spring? (if it ever gets here!) My son and grandsons are wanting to get over there to see some of our hero’s bikes and gear. I also promised Mrs. Terry Boody (Ted Boody) that I would make a donation to the museum in Ted’s honor. I intend to keep that promise.
I visited the museum during the summer of 2013 while in the midst of a 3 month “Tour de USA” in my Factory Five Racing Cobra replica. This was one of a number of car and airplane museums I visited during the trip. I’d have to say that the National Motorcycle Museum was the best, in terms of breadth and context for it’s subject.
Just a fantastic museum, chock full of “stuff” for anyone interested in the history of motorcycling.
I wanted to get over June 7-8, but a new knee keeps me homebound for now. Would liked to have talked with Mike & Margaret Wilson (worked for them in the 60’s). This summer, I will ride my Hurricane to Anamosa to visit the displays instead of driving by in the car. Dan
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Does anyone remember Mike Kidd? Mike lived just up the street from me in the early 70s when he held the #1 plate for short track. He usually rode a Bultaco and raced hard against larger bikes. I often wonder what happened to Mike, hope he is doing well.
MiKE KIDD , i HAVENT HEARD THAT NAME SINCE I wAS A YOUNGSTER MYSELF, MY DA WHOM NOW DECEASED USED TO RACE AMA BEFORE I WAS A THOUGHT, I STILL HAVE SOME OF HIS AMA GYPSY TOUR BELT BUCKLES I PAST ONTO MYTWO BOYS ROBERT & JASON, FROM THEIR GRAMPPA ROBERT HUTTON ROARK OF MCFARLAND, KANSAS. POPS WE ALL MISS YOU
Spot on with this write-up, I actually feel this web site needs a lot more attention. I’ll probably be back again to see more, thanks for
Is the Dirt track display still there now. Will it be there in June 2016? Thanks, Dave
RIP John Parham…you’ll be missed …
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