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Board Stroker

Indian Board Tracker

Guido’s heading for the velodrome

It was really the picture in the eBay listing that got my attention, it looked like a 1920s Indian board track racer, but something wasn’t quite right. It looked a little delicate, even by the standards of the day. And that engine…hang on, it’s a two-stroke! WTF?
If all else fails, read the instructions. This is what the vendor (Bull Cycles in Illinois, USA) had to say: “The bike we have here is our rendition of a 1920 Indian Power Plus Daytona, the color is a beautiful eye popping red, faithful to the originals, with hand cracked under-base and countless hours of detailed airbrush finishing to achieve that look of a well aged motorbike, topped of with beautiful hand laid gold-leaf script. The finish is all sealed, and there is no actual oil or grease. Authentic style tires.
“The bike is fully functional and is powered by a 66cc two-stroke motor. The bike runs great and will travel about 30mph (50km/h) at around 80mpg (3lt/100km). Operation is simple with easy pedal start and twist throttle.
“Everything on the bike is steel or aluminum, all TIG-welded. Max rider weight is shy of 220lbs (100kg). Our tallest guy in the shop is 6'3” (190cm) and rides these around all the time.
“These are not built however to survive the rough life of the original board track racers of the day. Nor are they meant for racing (though we do all the time). These are just fun little powered bikes that are great for the pits, car shows, and neighborhood cruises. Park it outside the local pub if you're feeling chatty.”
Sadly I spotted this just after the listing closed, though I think it went for around US$5000. It was the mention of racing that really got my attention. As anyone who has ridden too fast on a track in the name of fun will tell you, it normally costs about the same as buying a house in Sydney (or the entire state of Tasmania) – if you’re lucky.
This, however, wouldn’t have to. Yes, I know there have been classes developed to tackle this in the past – such as bucket racing – which have all the grace and style of lawn mower tuning. What I loved about this gadget is you could race it on the weekend and hang it as the centrepiece of your lounge room when it wasn’t being used.
Now who’d go for something like this? I reckon the entire staff of MT would be a push-over. Harris couldn’t help himself, while Spannerman would be busy trying to show Cam Donald the fast line. Then there are the nuts over at the Lemmings Motorcycle Club (motto: Death before courtesy). Prof Dingleberry wouldn’t be able to resist, Morley will give you that 1000-yard stare and hand over a bundle of unmarked bills, while Newbold (who is already building an old 100cc two-stroke) would be the proverbial shot dog. In no time we would have a pack of what Blackbourn (there’s another starter) once colourfully described as “rapidly-ageing fringe-dwellers” lining up on the grid.
What grid and where? Forget motor race tracks – that would be boring. Hell, you’d be timing Phillip Island with a sundial. Nope, you need somewhere short and spectacular, bringing back the good (if somewhat bloody) old days of legendary banked circuits like Brooklands in the UK or Sydney’s own Maroubra Speedway.
Guess what? There’s no need to build a single thing. Australia has a network of 60 velodromes, several of which are prime steeply-banked indoor venues, already in operation. They’re underused, and who wants to inhale sweat when burning oil and the cackle of a stroker on the over-run is so much more fun?
Okay, I’m going to place a bulk order – about 50 bikes should be enough to start. What could possibly go wrong?

(From the Travels with Guido series in Motorcycle Trader mag #302)

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