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You know the photo – the rider stretched out on a speeding motorcycle on the salt in full Superman pose, wearing nothing but swim shorts, a pudding bowl helmet and tennis shoes. It’s undoubtedly one of the most famous photographs in the history motorcycling. The man in the photo was Rollie Free and he was on his way to setting a speed record on the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1948. The documentary Black Lightning – The Rollie Free Story gives us the backstory behind the iconic photograph electricity video bill nye and it’s top-notch storytelling. Archives: Bathing Trunks and Black Lightning Stripped down to his swim trunks and riding in a Superman pose helped Rollie Free set gas monkey monster truck hellcat a American speed record on a Vincent at Bonneville in 1948.

This documentary follows the life of Rollie Free from his early year, through his racing career in the 1920’s and 30’s, owning an Indian dealership, his military service, and his post-war life. At the core of the story is an unusual union of two very different men. One, from a world of privilege and the other from blue-collar middle-America. Their bond was their fierce determination to set an historic motorcycle speed record and to beat the Harley Davidson Motor Company.

Wealthy sportsman John Edgar, who’d been a hydroplane racer in his younger years, wanted to own static electricity definition science the fastest motorcycle in America. He’d met Vincent Motorcycle Company owner Phil Vincent and discussed the possibility of having Vincent prepare a special Vincent HRD that would be set up for speed trials. Vincent agreed and the factory built a special Vincent. Company engineers set the Edgar’s machine up to run on alcohol, included high lift cams, fitted special Amal carburetors and racing tires on Avon alloy rims. After the bike was completed, a factory rider tested the machine at a British airstrip and was able to reach 143 mph before running out of tarmac. That speed alone electricity 2014 would be good enough to break the existing record.

Roland “Rollie” Free had been a racer clear back to the board track days. His first success was on Harley-Davidson motorcycles and after winning some regional races, a sponsor offered to put up the money for Free to buy a factory Harley racer. Harley agreed to sell Free a factory rig, but according to Free, when he showed up to Milwaukee to pick up the bike, they tried to sell him a standard racer, not the factory special he’s been promised.

By sheer chance Edgar gas zone edenvale met Free at a gas station/repair shop Free owned in Los Angeles. The two struck up a conversation about their mutual love of fast motors and when Edgar found out Free had been a record-setting motorcycle racer, he knew he’d found just the guy who could help him make his goal of owning the fastest electricity bill average motorcycle in the country possible.

The movie goes into the details of the successful attempt to become the first AMA Class A motorcycle to break the 150-mile-per-hour barrier. It is told by way commentary from motorcycle racing experts like well-known motorcycle author Jerry Hatfield, who wrote the book “Flat Out! The Rollie Free Story”, motorsports historian and television personality Alain de Cadenet, fellow motorcycle land speed electricity measurements units racer Marty Dickerson, William Edgar, son of the bike’s original owner, vintage bike expert Glenn Bator and Chip Conner, who is both the owner of the famous “Bathing Suit Bike” and was Executive Producer of the documentary.

The film makes wonderful use of of archival footage and photos, including old Super 8 film taken at Bonneville during Free’s record-break runs. It even includes segments of audio interviews done with Free himself just a few years before his passing in 1984. You can tell from some of the terminology used by Free, that he was a man of a different time in American history.

While Edgar was eager to own the fastest gasbuddy near me motorcycle in America, the film reveals that in Free’s mind if they could earn the record, it would be poetic payback to Harley-Davidson all those years after they snubbed him. In 1948, Harley factory racer Joe Petrali held the American record of 136.183 mph set on a modified Harley-Davidson Model E on the beach at Daytona in 1937.