Harley Davidson: Project Live Wire



Some of The Miss-Fires that attended the Project Live Wire unveiling party at Harley Davidson NYC. Leeft to right: Rachael, Corinna, Suzanne, Valerie, Robyn, Melissa, and Shillae.


Recently, several members of The Miss-Fires were invited to be among the first to view and ride the first HD built prototype electric motorcycle, Project Live Wire. We attended the party at their new, show room store in Soho, where we were able to try the bike out on a stationary rig that allowed you to feel the bikes 0-60 in under 4 second potential. It was a great night of wine and discussion about the future of motorcycling with the men and women behind the concept bike. It left us all itching to get home, rest up and head back over the next day to try the bikes out on a street test ride. Here are 4 very different riders thoughts on Project Live Wire…


Heidi Hackemer

You know how everyone is running around talking about “the future”? This watch is the future or this phone is the future or this stupid dating app is the future. I work with a lot of tech companies so I hear this shit a lot. So when this bike came around, I was definitely curious, but I also was internally rolling my eyes a bit at the “future” hype. I love Harley, but feared that the brand was buying into it’s own bullshit with this talk.

But despite my future hype jadedness, I WAS really looking forward to getting on this bike. I’m a Wisconsin native and grew up about an hour away from Harley headquarters. People from home bleed Harley. It’s religion. And when it came time to get my proper bike, even though I flirted with other makes, at the end of the day there really was no question for me. It was always going to be a Harley. I ride a 48 Sportster and I’m really in love with my bike. She’s a rumbling brute and I love being a part of the Harley gang.

So I was psyched to get on it and hoping that it was as futuristic as they were saying, as I’m always rooting for Harley to win.

I got on the night my test ride at the party and my first reaction to the bike was shock at how light it felt. I was tipping that thing pretty hard side to side and I felt like I was playing with a toy.

The next day was the test ride. I have to admit, it felt a little odd to hop on a Harley, hit the power button and essentially hear nothing. I always, regardless if I’m just going on a short trip, love that moment when I start my bike and it roars to life. It always feels like it’s time to play. So to see a touch-screen light up instead was a bit odd, but also kinda charming in a weird way.

I’m sure the other girls can evaluate the ride of the bike better as they’re way more experienced, but my short take on the specific handling is that it was really easy to manipulate and handled NYC bumps and bangs well. Also, the jump in acceleration was really nice. I felt like had I had the chance to open it up more I could have really gone.

The negatives? The braking is odd, so fast and absolute. I’m sure I would get used to how to work it, but the first time got some speed and then slowed down I felt like I was going to go over the handlebars. Missfire over! Oh my god I would have never lived that down. Ha!

I also do worry about the lack of sound. The sound that it makes is really cool – I felt like I was in Star Wars. But, as we all say, a loud bike is a safe bike and I definitely use my engine as a signal, especially in the city. This bike doesn’t have that sound and you can’t rev it to get some stupid driver or pedestrian who is texting to wake up. That worries me.

Finally, I’d love to Harley up the look a bit. I think they went more plastics in the body because the battery is heavy, but personally I’d like to be able to grunge, matte and/or blackout the bike.

My overall experience, however is this: you know when you’re going on a long ride and you get up into your high gears, sit back and get into the zone? Where you feel like you’re floating? This bike felt like that even at ten miles an hour. It feels otherworldly, like you’re on a cloud. That sense of float left such an impression on me. I wanted to ride it for an hour to see if the sensation held.

Overall, I think this is a great step forward for the brand. This bike isn’t competing with my 48 anytime soon. It’s just a different bike. And that’s totally cool.

Looking at it through my urban lens, I think there’s so much potential with this bike. I believe the charging infrastructure will exist in the cities, it’s light and easy to handle so men and women can get on board and I hope that the eventual price point gets it to mass accessibility.

When you consider that 75% of the world’s population is going to be urban by 2025, and cities are going to be crowded and difficult to transverse (check out the traffic issues in Sao Paulo or the public transport issues in Tokyo for a glimpse of that future), motorcycling seems to be a really smart transportation option of the future. And to think that Harley is making something that is environmentally friendly, city friendly, gender friendly… well, it makes this little Wisconsin girl proud.
photo 1

Melissa Diaz

I want one now! Loved riding the Harley Davidson LiveWire! The Future is here! Amazing piece of art and technology!

Just got to do some single block laps dreaming of being on the West Side Highway, but I’ll definitely take it on being allowed to ride a $200k prototype! Really crazy having no clutch and being in “drive” as soon as the motorcycle is on, even though it’s completely silent. And, letting this thing respond to put itself in neutral once you completely stop was interesting and then you just hit the throttle to take off. And, once I got to open her up, take off indeed. No problem speeding well the heck up. A caution that as soon as you let up on throttle the bike completely slows to stop, so you gotta tap the brake so others behind you know you’re stopping. Sure, one guy who rides an HD White Glide did say it sounded like he was riding a vacuum cleaner (though 5 minutes later he was really into the ride) but I seriously dig the futuristic sound and feeling like I’m borrowing one of Tom Cruise’s Oblivion or Mission Impossible Motorcycles!

I couldn’t love electric and innovation more, plus the thought of no more wars/battles guarding oil fields/rigs or depleting our planet’s natural resources. The cost of the electric for the same 100 mile charge that my monster goes with also be somewhere around a 10th of the price!

I’d like to think I may have to be first in line once this bike is released (and a full figure is dropped to make it (hopefully low) 5 figures to obtained). I’m definitely smitten!

Your turn next Ducati!



Valerie Figarella (MotorGrrl)

And, a mega thanks to Megan Baldock and Harley’s COO Matt Levatich for personally inviting my staff and I to this event.  I’d also like to give props to  The Miss-Fires,  for spreading the word.  Truly this group of ladies and my staff is like no other, whom I couldn’t be prouder to ride with and who’ve already given me so many amazing experiences but today’s prototype riding lunch break will surely be one of my best ever!

The Big Buzz Electric motorcycles,  I think everyone we know has friend or knows a friend of  friend doing a prototype on electric cycles.  Zero so far has been the leader in with the most per mile per charger factor.   Harley Davidson is no cupcake when it come to R&D. From the risk with Buell to now, the electric trend.

Not letting pride and tradition get in their way to keep up with Jones’.  It’s  great to see Harley step outside it’s comfort zone from big burly loud traditional American motorcycles to  it’s counterpart:  “Project Live Wire” – a sport bike with quick braking that’s super quite (uber quite) and Star Trekky futuristic display,  their electric prototype.

HD is sure challenging it’s customers and potential customer.  Their prototype “Project Live Wire” is automatic has a  mono shock and a front floating rotor still leaves me with some questions .  Though I didn’t have the opportunity to open the throttle, I did get the  gist of its lightness, cornering, maneuverability, and quick braking power (especially upon deceleration) .   The word on the street is people( including myself) miss the loud heart pounding  rumble of a Harley.  I think it’s great to see Harley break through barriers and try different things and continue to be a force in this industry.  But I think, they need to make a loud electric bike.  I will always love and treasure our American Beauty: an old school Harley Davidson; it will never get old.


Corinna Mantlo

I can honesty say I have no idea why I got an 8am phone call on a saturday morning from Harley Davidson in Florida, inviting me to test ride their newest creation, as i’m generally the only weirdo at a HD event on vintage british iron, and though i giggled to myself for days about the spectacle I’d make arriving for the test ride on my 1968 BSA Lightning hotrod, and having to ask where the kickstart is on this new fangled future thing, I was thrilled to have been selected and truly excited to ride the bike.

I am in complete support of the engineering pioneers building the future of motorcycles. Electric motorcycles even now, with their limited 70 mile range fill perfectly a need for fuel conserving, planet conscious commuting conveyances for over crowded urban environments, and with 74 hp and 52 lb-ft of torque, they also have amazing potential on the track if you can hack the electronically restricted top speed of 92 mph.

The test ride was done in heavy traffic in downtown manhattan. Not ideal conditions at all to really test the potential of the bike, or technical handling in tight turns, but I found it very interesting as like I said I think of these as the perfect mode of transport for urban commuters. For this application, the light and nibble feel of the bike was perfectly suited. The automatic transmission freed me up from my constant battle of up shifting and downshifting at ever stop light which can be maddening, and I immediately felt right at home with the smooth automatic acceleration and deceleration and the bikes unique sound. by the second time around the block I was having a blast. The bike leaned and turned around cars and corners and the suspension handled our NYC potholes well. The read out display and sound design make the future feel like Tron (1982) which I think is perfectly appropriate. It is a future bike. It shouldn’t look like it’s dressed up like a classic Harley, though I give props to the design team for styling the uber modern bike to have a unique look that still completely fits into the traditional HD branding.

I am honored to have been able to ride one of only 33 built and though Harley has no plans to release the bike for sale, it is a step in the right direction and it’s great to see Harley (who is no longer known as a company pushing the envelope to develop new bike technology) making strides for the rest of the industry to follow.


Video Recap of Project Livewire




Wow! What a Ride! …Hellbound And Down, part 1

photo-31(photo by Miss-Fire Kristin Johnson)

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride! ― Hunter S. Thompson

10325668_10152200361634608_7627567789328270453_nTeam Hellbound And Down

 In life there are sometimes opportunities too crazy to pass up. Hunter S Thompson lived it, and it’s a moto i’ve decided to live by, or as I call it the decision to just ‘get in the van.’

Get in the van‘ is basically the conscious decision to quit talking about things you want to do, making excuses, or put plans and dreams off for another day, but instead to embrace life, look fear in the face and tell fear to get lost. It’s how i learned to flattrack (read the GET IN THE VAN flattrack post here) among other things, and I wish i’d been stronger and more confident to do this in my younger years but the past is the past and so at 34 I am becoming the daredevil, badass, juvenile delinquent i wish i’d been at 15.

So, when my dear friend Greaser told me about his plans to race the Norra Mexican 500 this year (yep…500 miles across Baja on vintage motorcycles in brutal terrain), I was totally supportive and encouraging. Of course, THEN he followed up with, ‘hey you should race too!’

I thought about it for a minute…and I was fucked. I had to do it. His offer came with a van, a mechanic, and the support of his club The Yellow Jackets MC who have been racing motorcycles since they formed in 1938. Basically all I had to do was find and buy a vintage bike ($2500), a bunch of gear ($$$), learn to ride off road (i’ve never even done 1 mile on dirt, and this is 500!), and raise thousands of dollars to cover entry fees ($1800), transport gas ($1000), race gas ($200), food and lodging ($$$), etc. and do it all in time for the race in early October. Uh, no biggie. Sure, why the hell not? I’ll get in the van!971995_10152189932989608_8264714705718617213_nMe and my 1971 BSA Victor 250 desert sled race bike

A few days later I bought a bike. A 1971 BSA Victor 250 from my motorcycle mentor Hugh Mackie at Sixth Street Specials. I had to borrow money to get it, but i wasn’t backing down. Buying the bike meant this was a reality and not just talk, and though i woke up in a panic every night after for a week, i was excited and determined to pull this off, and the first time i went ripping around the neighborhood, i was in love with this brat of a baby Beezer, and the idea of racing as a woman and a Miss-Fire.

photo-4(photo by Miss-Fire Kristin Johnson)

I mean seriously, its an adventure to end all adventures. a girl on a tiny, old british motorcycle alone (well hopefully not) in a race against the clock for 3 days and 500 miles in Mexico. HELL YEA! I’d be a fool NOT to do it. Right?

photo-21(photo by Miss-Fire Kristin Johnson)

Well, there it is. I’m doing it. My bike has been gone through. I’m ordering protective gear and knobby tires this week. A Bell Powersports helmet and Von Zipper goggles are on their way to me from our wonderful friends at Hell On Wheels MC in California, i’m being trained in core and overall strength building by the wonderful Coach Ray, and in just two weeks Team Hellbound And Down will be hitting the Pine Barrens for the the first of what will be weekly, all day off road training sessions. So, See you in October Baja!

10491086_10152286393714608_6560630621284729587_nThe amazing race jerseys for Myself, Greaser and our mechanic Doc from Jill at Hometown Jersey!

Stay tuned for updates on the race prep here, and be sure to follow us on our dedicated website HELLBOUND AND DOWN where there is information on us, the race, upcoming fundraisers, and even a paypal link to help us get to Mexico. Every dollar helps and we’re blown away by the outpouring of support we’ve received so far. Most importantly from my dear Miss-Fires family who support me in all of my motorcycle shenanigans and came out in force for our first FUNDRAISER a few weeks ago. thank you Miss-Fires from the bottom of my heart…or the gears that are there in place of one.


Corinna Mantlo

1971 Yamaha At1 125, 1968 BSA Lightning 650, 1962 Ford Ranchero, 1971 BSA Victor 250 desert sled race bike.


Happy America from The Miss-Fires!


4th of July, in Miss-Fires fashion…10389414_10152309198049608_8413275633421469591_n

The Miss-Fires have are an eclectic group of ladies and bikes and we make a point to have fun and not take ourselves to seriously. We had a nothing more than a loose last minute plan to hit up a few local parties for the 4th and see what trouble we could find…Sandra (above) rode in a vintage sundress, under full leathers on her Honda CB77, seen here setting Rachael up for a test ride. She makes full gear sexy as hell.

Lynda was recently reunited with her VTR 250 after moving to NY from California and waiting a painful few months before it could be shipped over. She hasn’t stopped smiling since!



Amanda and her Harley with Sandra and her CB77



Rachael taking a break from her Triumph Bonneville to take Sandra’s CB77 for a spin.


It’s so much fun, everyone wants a turn!


Rachael and Amanda


my 1962 Ford Ranchero with a perfectly matching Bell Bullet helmet


me, in my natural habitat. happiness.


my ranchero was running funny and a few of the classic car friends jumped in to lend a hand diagnosing. I was so engrossed, i never even noticed Rachael slapping my ass. ha!




Suzanne and her new whip.



Suzanne’s home made  ‘America’ cake


Minivan burn outs


Greenpoint Hot Rod BBQ Miss-Fires ‘groupie’


As the sun set, full of BBQ and shenanigans, a crew suited up and hit the road in search of music and fireworks…




Our travels led us to where else, but the Dances Of Vice Rockabilly Extravaganza where VIP parking and tickets awaited us!




Live Bands, Swing and Jive dancing led by the Rebel Night crew, vintage vendors and a roof to see the fireworks display. Alison even won the twist off!

imageroof top Miss-Fire ‘groupie’ …right before they kicked us off.


the ride home left us vintage car gals stuck in nightmare traffic while the moto ladies snuck on through. Lori’s 1959 T-Bird died in and BQE traffic was brought to a stand still while we managed a jump from my Ranchero. never a dull moment!


Happy America and HAPPY SUMMER!

Corinna Mantlo

1968 BSA Lightning 650, 1971 BSA Victor 250, 1971 Yamaha AT1 125, 1962 Ford Ranchero


I wanna RIDE!


It has been 25 years since I last drove a motorcycle. I felt like it is well over due, I needed to get riding once again. Being that it has been so long, I figured I would do the responsible thing and go and take a class. I started from the beginning. Even though I rode in the past, I wanted to make sure I approached this with patience and caution. I was anxious to get riding. I see all my gal pals ripping it up,having a blast as we all go out on weekend Rides and such. Being a Miss-fire would be a lot more fun if I had a motorcycle and not just my classic car. So instead of asking one of my friends to help me learn or refresh my memory, I figured I would go to the professionals. I signed up for an introduction to motorcycle. If I was starting over, why not start off with the proper know how of this powerful machine. I always feel like anything that has that much power deserves respect.
So it wasn’t the nicest day. Gloomy.. Almost rainy. I have heard that if you learn on a rainy day it may be better for you since you are learning in more difficult conditions.
I was excited! Just like a kid going to Disneyland. Again I told myself to focus and listen.
I was greeted with a big smile. I met Adam Wood.(Yowza!!) A very knowledgeable    instructor at MSS. We went into it right away. Even if I felt like I already knew some of the things we were reviewing, I knew it was important to take it all in. I know a focused rider is a smart rider.

image(So focus Lori, focus!) We started with what is the proper gear and which helmets, pants, jacket and gloves were best for riding.(Damn! my pin-up polkadot dress and flower will have to stay at home :/) Adam made us all think about what kind of rider we were going to be so we could start thinking about the proper bike for us. I couldn’t get Grease’s “cool rider” out of my head. He helped us understand why certain gears were better, not in a fashion sense but in a “how it is made” and how durable they will be in an accident scenario. You really don’t want to talk about accidents before you get on such a powerful machine, but like I said, you must respect every aspect of riding, safety and all. Being properly prepared is where I needed to start.image

After we went through the basics of getting to know a bike like what goes where we moved onto the proper way to orchestrate them all together. That is a good word to use, Orchestrate. That’s how it should all be. All the main controls working together like an orchestra. When used in the right way you will smoothly coast out of first gear and into second like a beautiful song. If used wrongly, you will most likely stall out and need to start up again.
The introduction to motorcycle truly allowed us to get to know the bike (introduction to motorcycle..ehh..it’s in the title)
We covered all the things you need to do to start and take that first ride. After spending a few hours getting to know my bike, I feel like I am more properly prepared to start my next phase – get off of the back seat and finally start riding! I am READY!!
Bitch no more!
I will keep you posted!….image    THANKS MSS !
❤ Lori Erlitz

1st annual ‘Split’n Lanes & Dodgin’ Gutters’ Classic Motorcycle Show

10387322_10152208523939608_8684991690218757340_nIt was a great honor to be included in the first annual classic motorcycle show ‘Splittin’ Lanes & Dodgin’ Gutters’ at Brooklyn Bowl a few weeks ago.

10337743_10152177893729608_2646029572342485431_nmy Franken-BSA

Me and my 1968-ish hot rod BSA joined an amazing lineup of rare antique motorcycles.


from a 1923 Nera-Car, shown above…

(incidently, this photo was chosen by Brooklyn Bowl on Instagram as the best photo posted that day and won me two tickets to see Dick Dale and my dear friends Screamin’ Rebel Angels in August. Woohoo!)


…to a rare Velocette that is still raced on the track by it’s owner, a lovely BSA Victor 441 built by Fifty 50 Cycles (who recently did some custom fab work for my Beezer). and who’s  CUSTOM SEAT I made for them.


A ’57 BSA Goldstar Flattracker built by Sixth Street Specials (that i also a CUSTOM SEAT for)  and a ’39 flathead Harley (shown above) built by Keino Cycles and painted by Skratch’s Garage. This bike belonging to a friend was by far my favorite from the show and a perfect example of a perfect, tastefully done, period correct custom bob.

10402091_10152208566894608_8441954475362929504_nBSA, 1952 Triumph Thunderbird, and my favorite Vincent Black Shadow


It was a great day with great friends including my darling Miss-Fires who are always up for a ride and bike show, but who more importantly support me endlessly. It was wonderful to have them there.

10403046_757647654258488_6147310150814610526_nInside the show

10325764_757646780925242_78296049855870145_nOut front

Nothing makes me happier to see the majority of these bikes arrive on their own volition, ’cause bikes are meant for riding!

10334471_10152209494184608_8505307658695478405_nhooligan, custom chopper taking the trophy Lee Marvin style…then joining us for beers.

Check out this awesome video of the show.



Corinna Mantlo

1968 BSA Lightning 650, 1971 BSA Victor 250, 1971 Yamaha AT1 125, 1962 Ford Ranchero

Can Nice Girls Win (Races)?


Miss-Fire Julia L!

Julia Landauer knew she wanted to be a professional car racer by the time she was 12 years old. She caught the racing bug at age 10 in go-karts and transitioned from karts to racecars at age 13, when she joined the Skip Barber Racing Series, and made history at age 14, as the youngest and first female driving champion of that series. She never looked back.


She’s also raced Formula BMW, Ford Focus Midgets — where she won in her first season. While holding a NASCAR license Julia raced in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and is now winning in the U.S. Legend Cars Series in California and New York.

IMG_9284 copy 2

At the end of high school Julia knew that she would benefit from a college education, both personally and professionally. In June she will graduate from Stanford University with a B.S. in Science, Technology and Society. Having always been fascinated by the human-machine interaction at the heart of racecar driving, Julia wants other people to experience that thrill. She is taking an interdisciplinary approach to her education to better understand the many ways that people can utilize technology to make their lives better. She is developing JLR as a platform to then implement technological advancements for the masses.

Screen Shot 2013-08-14 at 8.13.04 PM

The next step is to move to Charlotte, North Carolina to integrate with the NASCAR world and continue pursuing her dream of becoming the first woman to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.


Can Nice Girls Win (Races)?: Julia Landauer at TEDxStanford

Get In The Van

1622837_10152059945019608_1522239630_nat Mid Carolina Speedway for practice laps

A bunch of my vintage motorcycle friends race vintage Flat Track in the AMA circuit, and I’ve wanted to try it for years. They’re a great group of guys, and every time I asked about how a beginner might get into it, the answer was always the same, ‘just get in the van.”

1901555_10152065324234608_1295608601_nThe ‘Factory Wars’ class 

This answer was always genuine and heartfelt, and I love all the guys and the sport in general for the inclusive, supportive vibe, but…as a girl it just wasn’t that easy. I don’t wear a size 11 boot or big boy leathers. I didn’t have a bike to race and I was too nervous to borrow one of the beautiful vintage bikes that the fellas race because if I broke it, I’d have felt awful…and they’d be out a race bike.

524758_10150765774306797_452777550_nMiss-Fires me (left), Erika (top) & Valerie (bottom center) and friends Beth & Renee 

Racing can be expensive if you have to buy a pair of boots, a steel shoe, leathers and get your hands on a bike…all before you know whether you are even going to like it or not, so when I heard about American Supercamp two years ago, I signed up, got in the van and headed to Delaware.

535667_10150765774556797_1920378463_nLearning the basics

Danny Walker, the man behind Supercamp provided us with full gear, a fleet of bikes that they dared us to break and best of all, hands on instruction by race legends Chris Carr, E. Bostrom, Edwards, and more. The weekend was a blast and I knew I was hooked, but it wasn’t until I met my now friend and fellow Miss-Fires member Kara, who races AMA Vintage in the Brakeless 250 class. that it started to become a real possibility.

1451585_10152059846834608_1818992037_nMiss-Fires member Kara, of Five & Dime Racing (now on MotoLady.com)

Kara and I wear the same size leathers and the same size shoe so when she told me about the first races of the season down south earlier this month, and said the same old line to me of ‘just get in the van” I think i literally jumped for joy.


With full gear sorted,  the last piece was what bike I would ride. The deal was sealed when I met her team mechanic, and fearless leader Jeff Davis. in trade for a custom seat (which i make for a living as Via Meccanica) for the team’s 1965 BSA 250 brakeless bike, Jeff set me up with a Honda 175, lovingly referred to as The Dung Beetle.

1798871_10152059927659608_484285421_nI have a special place in my heart for ‘The Dung Beetle”

So, after 4 years, I was finally off to the races. We got in the van and drove 3 people, 3 bikes and a ton of gear down to Neeces, South Carolina. There, at the Mid Carolina Speedway, we were able to do practice laps all day on a 1/4 mile track. This was my first time ever on a track, and Kara led me around, showing me ‘the line’. I was slow and stiff but with each lap I got better, faster and more confident. I got the feel for sliding into the turns (where that size 8 steel shoe comes in handy) and started rolling on the throttle more and more. I didn’t touch the brakes once and though i’m sure my laps were slow as molasses to watch, I felt like Speed Racer.

1925155_10152064859199608_1061590697_nEarly morning at Ogelthorpe Speedway. Excited and terrified.

Next stop was Savannah, Georgia for the AMA Nationals, where Kara was scheduled to race the 250 BSA in Brakeless and I would race my first race in the 250 Hot Shoe class.

1620663_10152064835274608_1244314870_nGearing up. Not as easy as it looks.

Due to heavy rain, the races the night before were cancelled and the pits were packed with 70 classes of racers all scheduled to race in one day (about twice as many as generally scheduled). At the racers meeting, they explained that because of this, practice laps, heats and races would be shorter and that things would be rushing along all day to fit everyone in. Just my luck right? But, instead of it being chaotic and stressful, the day was simply filled with the same overwhelming camaraderie that I have always found in the Vintage motorcycle scene. I ran into long time friends from Sixth Street Racing, and made a whole batch of new friends. They were nothing but supportive not just of me, but of each other. parts were loaned, bikes were fixed, and ribbing jokes kept us all in good spirits even when ambulances had to take riders off the track throughout the day.

10013613_10152065135314608_471945085_nAt the starting line of my first race ever (2nd from the left)

Too quick to rethink this whole brilliant idea of flat track, my class was called and Kara and Jeff scurried me off to the starting line. They explained the rules, flag signals (none of which i think i heard from inside my helmet) and with big grins and a pat on the shoulder, i was off! My first real practice race…and I was SLOOOOWWW. I got lapped by everyone but didn’t care. I was confident on this much bigger 1/2 mile track and kept my line that Kara and Jeff had taught me at Mid Carolina. When I hit my last lap and slowed down to exit the track, i was greeted with nothing but cheers and hugs. no one cared i was slow, or stiff, or maybe in the way of the seasoned riders. They’d all bee there.

1982023_10152065384159608_504112490_nKara lining up on the BSA 250 Brakeless

In between my practice laps, heat and race, i got to hang out and watch Kara and the other ‘big kids’ do their thing. It is absolutely amazing to watch racers who know what the hell they’re doing slide around those corners at top speed.

1899890_10152065558009608_755597846_nWatching the Womens Class race

It was also great to see so many women race. Mostly teenagers, and all racing modern bikes. They were every level of experienced and I was excited to meet one at registration who was also about to do her first race that day. For the first time, there was even a ‘Women’s Class”. These girls rode hard with the fellas all day long and held their own to say the least, but watching all of them together on the track was definitely inspiring. In that race there was a very bad crash, and one of the girls was taken away on a stretcher (sadly we found later that she passed away). The race was paused for a few minutes while they cleared the track, and all I could think of was what must have been going through the head of the first time racer who had to go back out again after that just minutes later. But she did, and she didn’t give it any less than she had before. As Hugh Mackie of Sixth Street Racing said to me at the time, ‘its part of it. it happens to all of us sooner or later”. Its true and it’s serious but so is the feeling you get when you follow through with something you set your heart and mind to do. I may have been slow, but i did it. I pushed myself and got better each time I ran the track. I didn’t puss out and stay home. I got in the van and i loved every minute of it.

1972454_10152065595094608_850637459_nKara and Jeff of Five & Dime Racing

Kara went on to take 2nd place in her class that night (and then first several days later in Florida). Exhausted and Ecstatic, we climbed into the bleachers and drank beer in the freezing cold to watch the pros race late into the night. Chris Carr who was one of my instructors at American Supercamp was in those races, and watching him race, I realized how much had just come full circle for me on this trip. I am forever thankful for all of the people over the years who encouraged me to, and finally made me get in the van. Biggest thanks of all, of course to the amazing Speed Racer and my dear friend and fellow Miss-Fire, Kara.

Corinna Mantlo

1971 Yamaha At1 125, 1968 BSA Lightning 650, 1962 Ford Ranchero