This just in from Ohlin Metzler:
They Got Your High Tech Right Here
TEAM LONGBEARD VOWS TO UNLOAD ON THE BAGGERS
Suspenders, PA (APWaaaaaa?) Even in the magical kingdom of roadracing, time passes and things change. Seeing as how going around a road course as fast as possible has involved adopting developing technologies, it should not be surprising that some teams embrace the latest advancements with a fervor comparable to the pursuit of vaccinated supermodels.
But there are always exceptions that prove the trend, and one of them is the time-tested, non-digital bluetooth-unenabled Amish technology that fuels Team Longbeard. And whom do we thank for this heavily whiskered, spotlessly attired (line dried, you know) return to the AMA sanctioned racing world? MotoAmerica’s King of the Baggers series of course. Longbeard and their Pennsylvania Amish brethren are all about the wagon lifestyle, and what screams louder for these country folk to toss their straw hats into the ring than a bunch of cargo-hauling racing nutters dragging the hard parts of overweight motorcycles?
“They are a buggy culture, and I’m not talking about computers that don’t work right,” almost quipped Mitch Corporate, a spokesperson for, oddly enough, a “traditional” internal combustion engine-powered motorcycle organization. “They wheel those black horse-drawn buggies around like they own the Lancaster roads, and now they want to poop all over our lovely V-Twin bagger series.”
Poop, sir? Not really. There will be no horses on the racetrack, although there is a livestock component I’ll cover in a minute. No, Brother Jethro (whom we would call something like Head Racing engineer or Chief Tuner but his team just calls him a carpenter) has developed a steam-powered cycle that uses Amish-grown hay of a particular pedigree to fuel the boiler.
“We’re all just harnessing the fire,” Brother Jethro explained in a lamp lit conversation in a secluded barn that I think was built in the late Jurassic, yet still looks new. “It is God’s creation. The others may get their fire using dead dinosaurs and explosions, but we use fire too, in a way that scripture commands. Fire can light our way, cook our meals, and take us across the finish line before the impure are putting on their odd boots.”
Strong words, from a man wearing both suspenders and a belt. Like its petroleum competition, there’s a belt drive but no real transmission, or so our spy drone imagery seems to indicate. Incidentally, Brother Jethro is a Son of Jethro, who is also a Son of Jethro, and all these Jethros have been tweaking and perfecting this little beast of a power plant for generations. But what about the chassis? “There is wood for every purpose, English,” Jethro told me. “Oak for strong backbone, balsa for light seating, maple for steering parts and beech for a pleasant sent during travel.” Natural rubber tires are still the ticket for traction, and sent via flatbed trailer pulled by Clydesdales from a Mennonite tire factory in Brazil. The journey took years and cost hundreds of lives, but a previous Jethro, a man of great visionary ability (like Elon Musk only accurate, and not a complete tosspot) put in his order back when young Kenny Roberts started dragging his patella.
So steam is the means, and while there are some negotiations involving some “Rules Committee” on the tech inspection front, Team Longbeard has made it know that for this series to be considered legitimate for the punters, all contestants must carry actual cargo in their saddlebags. For those Harleys and Indians this could mean spare parts, tattoo instruments and pigments, black T-Shirts, saddle soap, implements of mass destruction along with delicate underthings. For Team Longbeard, chickens seems to be the preferred freight and while this may ruffle a few feathers, the view from a speeding steam-powered two-wheeler will likely be pretty awesome for the fowl. It all gives this team a character and presence that will be easy to root for, provided some “official” doesn’t start screaming about safety, bird flu or some other nonsense that will put a mask on the whole enterprise. But never count these people out. They’ve survived without toaster ovens and social media for millennia, or at least since the advent of radio. I wouldn’t bet agin ‘em.
Editors note: As most are now aware, TEAM LONG BEARD unfortunately missed the Road America round of the Baggers “Race” because they forgot to re-set their sundials for Daylight Savings Time. They are at the track today.