50 Years of Daytona

50 Years of Daytona

50 Years of Daytona. Edition of 20 • 26″x 11″x12″

Roger Reiman and Carroll Resweber on their Harley Roadracers at the 1961 Daytona 500.

Every March, in Daytona Florida, there is a 200 mile motorcycle race. It had always been held on a crazy race course – up the sand beach, turn, down a small public road, turn and on the beach again. The hardest, fastest sand was right next to the ocean. Motorcycles got stuck in sand and hit by the waves. Then in 1961, the race moved to the new Daytona Speedway – a giant paved banked super speedway. If you went less than 100 mph you would fall off the banks. What would these dirt bikes do there? The American Motorcycle Association was worried, and forbid streamlined bodywork, so the bikes would go a little slower.

The Harley-Davidson's showed up with their top-of-the-line KRTT's with two complete sets of handlebars on each bike – big wide dirt track bars and little clip-on roadrace bars. The clip-ons had no throttle or clutch, only a kill switch. You wrestled the bike through the infield corners with the big bars, wound it up to third, then left the throttle on [no return springs] and grabbed the little low clip-ons. To shift to fourth, you hit the kill switch and shifted. Then, you just hung-on until the next corner.

On a high speed track like Daytona, riders go fastest “in the draft”- tucked in close behind each other. Because of aerodynamic drag the motorcycle in the rear uses less horsepower at speed than the front one. In “50 Years of Daytona,” Resweber, #1, is coming out of the draft to try to pass Reiman, #55. Both riders are tucked in for maximum speed. A humorous point is Resweber twisting the throttle to see if there is any more horsepower in there. This is a detailed accurate sculpture except the whole work is leaned forward for a “speed look.”

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