Racing Through Dust: Salt Flat Racing on a Classic Harley
Motorcyclist Stacie B. London pushes her Harley Aermacchi to its limits in search of glory.
Many of us got our start on 250cc motorcycles. Most of us moved on to larger machines after getting a good grasp of the basics. While they’ll never break the sound barrier, they are more than capable of breaking records. Stacie B. London aims to break some other barriers on her way to a speed record in the 250cc class.
In this video from the Wall Street Journal, titled Racing Through Dust, we learn more about Stacie, her bike, and her record attempt.
Heading to the El Mirage dry lake bed, she intends to break the record, and she’s close. The record is 83 MPH; her personal best is 81.6 MPH. Just 1.4 miles per hour away from glory, she swings her leg over her motorcycle in an attempt to race into the pages of history.
It’s an impressive piece of machinery to us, too: an 1967 Harley-Davidson, built in Italy by Aermacchi. When you get a chance, talk to some of your older riding buddies – many of today’s grizzled Harley-Davidson fanatics got their start on these bikes.
With its taped headlight, low handlebars, and seating arrangement, it shares a lot in common with the current cafe racer trend. We wouldn’t mind parking this out in front of Starbucks, but Stacie has other ideas. According to her, she picked the bike up with the specific intent of breaking the previous record, and built it up expressly for that purpose.
Parts for a bike this old are difficult to find, but a friend describes her as “relentless.” That attitude paid off, with lots of hiccups leaving only 48 hours until race day. Assembling the engine herself, she got it done in time.
There were other things weighing heavily upon Stacie as well. She’s the president of a local, women-only motorcycle club, and lost a club member the week of her attempt.
So, was Stacie successful? You’ll have to watch yourself to learn the outcome. Regardless of what happens, overcoming mechanical difficulties and personal tragedy in the same week to make it to the starting line in the first place is a tremendous triumph of the human spirit. We highly recommend setting aside a few minutes to share that journey with Stacie.