Asheville attorney Harold Seagle of Sea Eagle Racing brought home three class land speed racing records from the East Coast Timing Association land speed races held in Maxton, North Carolina on May 19 and 20. To make it even more special, one of the records was on a 1937 Indian Scout hand shift motorcycle. Seagle says that the motorcycle, owned by Scott Olofson of Acme Motorcycles in Asheville, is not only beautiful, but a true museum piece. Olofson, an accomplished motorcycle racer himself, acted as chief mechanic for the final record attempt.
Seagle, formerly of Rountree & Seagle in Wilmington, is now in practice in Asheville, having returned to his home in the mountains of North Carolina. He is past President of the Fifth Judicial District Bar and is listed in The Best Lawyers in America and Who’s Who in American Law.
The East Coast Timing Assn. is the east coast version of the sanctioning body that runs the Bonneville Salt Flat Land Speed Races in Utah each year. Both sanctioning bodies are national organizations, with the Bonneville group providing a convenient venue for the west coast racers while ECTA is more convenient to the east coast. While the Bonneville Land Speed Races run a much greater distance, the east coast group runs only 1 mile from a standing start.
Seagle was at the race primarily to campaign the Time Warner Cable/Road Runner High Speed Online Porsche rally car with which his race team contests the Targa Newfoundland Rally each September. Seagle was thrilled to have set two land speed records in two separate divisions with the car, but was anxious to try the Indian. After completing the timed runs with the Porsche, Seagle changed into his motorcycle racing leathers and climbed aboard the Indian Scout. He noted in his first record attempt on the Indian that riding a 70 year old motorcycle, without rear suspension, with a paucity of horsepower, over a track that creates a challenge for even modern well designed machines, made the first recorded speed of a bit over 88 mph seem much faster than one would imagine. After years of road racing motorcycles, he observed that 80 mph on the Indian seemed every bit as much an adventure as 160 mph on a modern machine on the banks of Daytona International Speedway.
After the first record run, Seagle reported back to Olofson that the bike was making good power, but was red lining far before the mile and running out of gearing. They discussed the possibility of actually breaking the existing land speed record with a speed of more than 90 mph. With that goal, Olofson set about disassembling the entire rear hub assembly of the bike in order to change the gearing for another attempt at reaching the magic number of 90 mph within the mile. On the second run, after riding the bike through a series of vibrations that he had not felt on the first run, Seagle felt sure they had increased the speed over the prior run of 88 mph. When returning to the timing booth after the run, everyone in the pits seemed focused on the time slip that read “91.01389 mph” --- a new class land speed record for the Indian!
For more information on Sea Eagle Racing, go to SeaEagleRacing.com. For more information on the East Coast Timing Association, go to ecta-lsr.com.