Motorcycle enthusiast hopes flat track racing takes off

Published 9:43 am Friday, June 5, 2009

Do you like high speed and have nerves of steel? Then flat track racing may be an easy sport for you to fall in love with.

Flat track racing is considered one of the best-kept secrets when it comes to motorcycle racing. The first flat track race for 2009 will be Saturday at Circleville, the closest track to our area.

And it may have some local ties.

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“I practiced flat track racing in the late 1960s early 1970s at Kitts Hill. The track, which at that time was called Champion Speedway, was a gathering place for motorcycle racing and riders learning to race,” said Roger Boyd, of South Point.

“It was a good track for local guys to get together to have fun. This is what this area needs again a place for kids to learn all about flat track racing and the fun they can have just like they do in Motocross. I have talked to several kids in this area and none of them know what flat track racing is all about.”

Flat track racing is done on an oval dirt track, typically between a quarter-mile and one-mile long.

Riders wear leathers and a helmet for safety reasons and a steel shoe is used for the left foot as an outrigger to balance through the turns at 75 to 80 miles an hour. Straightaway speeds top 130 miles per hour.

For Boyd, that is a thrill that has stuck with him for years.

“My first Bultaco race bike was a 1970 — 250 Pursang that I bought new in 1969. I raced AMA Professional Flat Track in the late 1960s and early 70s at Springfield and Lucasville. After many years away from the sport I purchased a 1971 Bultaco Pursang from Denver Colorado in June of 2004. The bike was shipped here and the guy I purchased it from said it was race ready…. Well, when I uncrated the bike it would not start and had several missing parts.

Boyd wanted to find the right man to rebuild the motor because of the rarity of the bike. That man was Jeff Willis of South Point. He rebuilt the motor and restored it back to A-1 condition.

After repainting the bike, new shocks from California, new tires and many other new parts, Roger and his wife, Donna, purchased from Hugh’s Bultaco out of New York. One year later it was completely restored and ready to race.

That bike’s first reborn race was in May of 2005 at the Circleville Fairgrounds, a race that was broadcast later that year on the Speed Channel. Boyd has completed more modification on the Bultaco and the bike will be racing again at Circleville Saturday.

“My hope is that more kids and adults will take an interest to come watch the sport and get involved in bringing the sport back to our local area,” he said.

The 2nd Annual Larry Reed Memorial Race will be Saturday and Sunday at the Pickaway County Fairgrounds, State Route 22, Circleville The cost is $10.