Jack’s Journal: Harley Davidson Racing Motorcycle
When you walk into the shop, you know that this isn’t the average garage.
This is a tribute to the Harley Davidson racing motorcycles and the men and women who rode them.
The man in charge of their restoration and the lovingly cared for displays is a gent who fell in love with the Harley racing bike back in his teens.
“It’s just different. The crowd is different than street motorcycles. Race bikes are a whole different game,” explains Gene Payne.
Also there production fell far below that of street bikes, which makes them rare. Gene loves restoring them, which is good because he says these bikes are usually found in a pile of parts.
But as much as he loves the machines, he is also drawn to the riders and their stories.
“I try to connect each bike as best I can. I keep a file on each bike as who road it, its history, one rider to another over the years,” says Gene.
And the bikes on display also include that file on the bike’s owner, race number plates, leathers and other memorabilia. Because of his love of the sport, Gene wants to honor those who road as he tells me these riders took pride in their efforts and he wants to honor that.
This building is part work shop, part museum. Retired many years now, Gene comes to work in his shop every day, and as I’m sure you would guess, he is very particular.
“Well if it’s not 72 degrees summer, winter or in between, I’m not working. You have to keep the environment level to keep the corrosion, keep the moister off the motorcycles and stop corrosion. That’s all part of it.”
Gene’s collection is not open for tours. This is a private collection, and that’s I appreciate the opportunity to show it off.