Sometimes you just can’t say no.

“You want to take her out in last practice?”

More than life itself.

Friend and fellow racer Dave Evans is my enabler.

He knows there is nothing worse than being at a racetrack without a ride.

I have not been on a 450 in over a year.

“She’s a motocrosser turned flat tracker. An animal of questionable breeding.” [Steve Koletar]
She’s a motocrosser turned flat tracker.

An animal of questionable breeding, and an unforgiving high-strung bitch.

You don’t grab a fist full of anything or she’ll slam your ass to the ground.

The slightest input changes her attitude.

Sixty horsepower and two hundred twenty pounds dry.

You’re either in attack mode or off the throttle.

Its an alien experience after riding a 550-pound street bike.

Believe it or not, a 450 single is way harder to ride than a big twin.

I sold mine because I knew she’d send me to Orthopedic again.

Running my local short tracks isn’t fun unless you can steer with the rear.

For me, the hardest part is changing direction abruptly.

What’s a short track?

A very small, unforgiving oval track lined with walls to catch your mistakes.

A bullring, and no place for fools.

On a loose short track, a 450 wants to go anywhere but forward.

Luckily for me, the New Egypt track in New Jersey is a 5/8 mile oval billed as ‘The Fastest Dirt Track in the East’.

Its about as beautiful as a big dirt oval gets.

“It’s pure madness going fast on a bike I barely know, but so intoxicating.” [Steve Koletar]
I find it much easier to go fast on the big tracks.

The corners are sweeping and you can get away with ‘two-wheeling’ her around. Plenty of room to gather her up if you swing wide before hitting something solid.

Oh the temptation.  I can’t say no.

There’s a window of opportunity as the track is prepped, when they water and grade the surface.

Oh the madness.

I jog back to the truck, get into my leathers and boots, grab my helmet and steel shoe, and jog back to the pits on the other side of the track.

I’m slightly out of breath but high on the promise.

Panic sets in as they announce ‘Last Call!’

Dave kicks her to life and hands her over.

I am NOT signed up to race.

This is a big ‘No-No’ on many levels.

Still I hear her calling my name.

I don’t belong in the Open Expert class either.

It’s no country for old men.

Dave Evans and Nick Henderson. [Michael Lawless]
Nick Henderson is already there in staging.

Handsome and way fast, he is an amateur in name only, packing pro-level skills.

He is the nicest cold-blooded killer you’ll ever meet.

If that wasn’t enough, Dan Bromley pulls up on the Indian FTR750 that he will be racing in Super Twins next year!

Yes, the Bromley who won the 2018 American Flat Track Singles Championship.

Only three of us heading out for this last, quick session.

Oddly, I feel completely at peace with myself.

I know I’m on the path that God chose for me.

Its a Nietzche moment*.

“I know I’m on the right track.” [Steve Koletar]
The track marshal looks at me dubiously while waving us forward.

We all drop the hammer.

Second gear, the front wheel come off the ground under glorious acceleration.

They’re gone by the time I hit the back straight.

I enter three easy with my eye on getting good drive thru 4 and onto the front straight.

The track is D-shaped, so the front straight is really a long sweeping left, it heads gently uphill out of turn four and slowly arches down into turn one.

On this ‘dry-slick’ track you gotta be on the meat of the tire or she’ll spit ya.

She squirts forward under hard acceleration out of four, emitting the hard mechanical sound of power.

You feel it as your neck muscles flex.

Your body coils like a spring as you keep her pointed, while drifting slightly sideways up toward the ugly metal guard rails that line the outside of the front straight, and diving back into turn one.

[Steve Koletar]
It’s pure madness going fast on a bike I barely know, but so intoxicating.

Out of turn two and onto the back straight.

The rush of acceleration while dancing on the edge of traction is euphoric.

Loud and heavy like the line between joy and pain.

I’m walking the line.

I forget everything else in life when I’m going fast.

It’s better than any drug I’ve ever had.

For me, racing is like dancing.

Its about hitting your marks time after time.

Sometimes I feel like I’m watching someone else go through the motions.

Brake here, accelerator there, the laps blur by.

She might be out of my league but we had fun.

I didn’t end up face-down on the track, and somehow I didn’t get lapped.

Like a hot mess, I blow the exit getting off the track, and execute a perfect 270 degree U-turn.

It’s all high fives back in Dave’s pit.

For the rest of the night, I’m walking on air.

I got away with a taste, without taking it too far.


*”The true man wants two things: danger and play.”  Friedrich Nietzsche

Michael Lawless, our ‘Poet of Packed Earth’, is the Flat Track Editor for, and has his own blog: Electric Horseman