Back in 1960, I was in Vocational Auto Mechanics along with a home-room buddy named Tom Wagner. It was a very big high-school just outside Chicago. The freshman class was just over 2,000 students, and all total was over 6,000-punks … I mean kids in this school. (Required 7-lunch periods to feed them all. Sometimes you had lunch at 10:30 other times you had lunch at 2:00 PM.) Neat place … anyhow Tom’s dad owned an auto repair shop, so Tom had an “in” on keeping a car running good.
All week Tom and me went at it. … car versus motorcycle. My ride was a 1950 Harley-Davidson EL. The 1,000cc and Tom had a 1950 Ford 2-door. 6-cylinder flathead, standard transmission with overdrive (actually a speed) Awesome then.
It just continued throughout the week . .
” I’ll get you off the line … ”
“Yea … Well I will top end you Buddy…”
Finally the time came one day after school. We got on to the Eisenhower Expressway and pulled up side by side and stopped… no traffic around. (Today any traveler familiar with Chicago ( I • 88 ) can experience that same stopping in the middle of the interstate for long periods … side by side with thousands of other cars )… but this was different then .. nobody in front of us, nor behind .
Then came the infamous “Three Beeps” from the horn of my bike .. (The guy “beeping” has a small advantage as to when to dump the clutch ). My Harley revved and I dumped the foot clutch, and burned the rear tire a couple of feet… The sheer weight of the windshield, duals, handlebar streamers, spotlights, fender bumpers, devil decals, flame decals, skull & cross-bone decals, saddlebags loaded with newspaper (insulation to put inside your clothes on cold days), and just lots of chrome balls, kind of held back my forward motion ….
Tom’s flathead Ford spun one rear tire for about the same distance … 4 or 5 feet… and we were off ..
I power~shifted into second … neck and neck, he shifted, I shifted. he shifted, and again he shifted, I shifted, he shifted …. by then we were doing 85-MPH! We could not go any faster…
The race was over … It was a tie… my “hole shot” did not materialize… his “top end” did not either… we could not go any faster…
We both checked our speedos, and agreed that it was a tie all the way to 120-MPH! (At least that was the story that went to school the next day…)
Nowadays, if we tried that daring feat… the traffic behind us with Superbikes and Supercars would be blowing their horns and shaking their fists at us to get out of their way so they could get to work on time !