Indian Motorcycle Goes Land Speed Racing
One of the perks of being employed by a company like Indian Motorcycle is that you’ll have the opportunity to participate in ground-breaking projects. And when you happen to be a designer or engineer at Indian, that is where all of your talents can really come to life.
In a seven-episode video series entitled, “A Passion For Speed,” we’ll be able to see just what Indian engineers have been toiling away on in the dead of night, prepping an Indian Scout and Indian Chief Dark Horse for land speed racing in El Mirage, Calif. The first episode follows; to view all seven, visit A Passion for Speed.
The El Mirage dry lake bed, just outside Mojave, has been the proving ground for speed machines since the 50s. The 1.3 mile smooth track is a perfect venue for those who only care about one thing: speed. But that’s only if weather permits. When summer thunderstorms pour down, the marble flat surface becomes a soft wasteland of clay and silt.
In “A Passion For Speed,” we get a glimpse into the happening of the Indian Motorcycle team which includes: Calibration Engineer Wayne Kolden, Senior Development Technician Chet Michaelson, Development Technician Dan Gervais, and Powertrain Development Technician Neil Sikora as they tackle the project head on. These Scout and Chief Dark Horse motorcycles weren’t made for a simple life on the road; they’ve been purpose built for the lakebed and salt flats. The series begins 22 days out from their journey, documenting all the trials and tribulations all the way.
“It’s not a one-man show, by any means,” says Michaelson. “It’s everybody coming together and chipping in and building something phenomenal. And that really is the foundation of where Indian Motorcycle came from – a bunch of guys in the shop working for the win. And that’s exactly what we’re doing.”
“The first motorized bike that I had was actually a homemade minibike that my dad built with me,” Kolden explains while assembling an engine in his home workshop. “All of the kids our age had minibikes, motorcycles and go-karts. Everyone was a motor-head. That was just the environment we had growing up. To go to El Mirage, or hopefully someday Bonneville, is one of my dreams.”
“At Indian Motorcycle we love riding and racing as much as our dedicated and passionate owners,” says Reid Wilson, Marketing Director for Indian Motorcycle. “Wayne, Chet, Dan and Neil reflect the obsession we all have for motorcycling. All we needed to do was follow them with a camera and do some interviews. This was their passion project.”
As you can tell, motorcycles are in the blood of these guys. What may have started as a private project, tucked away in an unused corner of the Indian facilities, grew into something that they took home on the weekends. And now, they’re sharing it with us.