Flat Out | The Rollie Free Story

Magic at Bonneville

Arguably there has never been a more dramatic motorcycling photograph than that of Rollie Free at Bonneville, riding to immortality at over 150 mph. The man with "nerves of steel" was wearing nothing but a bathing suit, a small helmet, a pair of borrowed (and too-long) tennis shoes-and presumably a diabolically determined expression. Nerves of steel or not, was the man just insane?

To judge for yourself, Jerry Hatfield’s book (with a characteristically articulate foreword from Jay Leno) is a must read. Flat Out! is beautifully written, well-illustrated, and filled with wonderful photography, as it chronicles the life and considerable achievements of this remarkable chap. Despite his claim that he "didn’t do anything but ride the damn thing," there was magic on the salt that day in 1948, and Free on his Vincent was at the heart of it.

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