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Kamikaze Killer’s Race to the Race

Photos and text by Dmac

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Three years ago in Sturgis, South Dakota, a chance meeting of two Florida residents (who actually live 15 miles apart), Stephen “Hot Shot” Aretz and Freddie Bollwage, paved the way to Daytona Bike Week and Billy Lane’s 2019 Sons of Speed Vintage Motorcycle Race.

Freddie invited Hot Shot to the 2018 Biketoberfest Sons of Speed Race and Godspeed Racing’s Pit Crew. Hot Shot apprenticed for the race where Freddie’s Bike won the J-model race in a nose to nose finish. Hot Shot got bit by the Sons of Speed Vintage racing bug. Grateful for the opportunity and experience learned from Freddie, when an opportunity arose to obtain racing wheels through some good friends, Hot Shot jumped on it! A 1953 H-D 45 Flathead (with shark tooth paint) became available 6 weeks before the 2019 Daytona Beach Sons of Speed race. Hot Shot was all in – and on the road to racing!

A road trip to South Carolina and a fellow welder hooked up Hot Shot, with a stock length front end.

Steven Broyles from Michigan helped with the gear math/ratio set up changing the 22 gear sprocket to a 32 gear sprocket on the crank side for more top end speed, and lowered the sprocket on the rear tire for additional speed.

Kamikaze killer, or also known as “K.K.” was in for a 6-week make-over: Head and tail lights were stripped off, and racing number plates were made using aircraft brass rivets. Racing tires were mounted.

One week before the March 10th race, Hot Shot took the bike out of the shop for a test run. First time out, the brakes failed on Starkey Road in 5pm traffic. Sliding into the grass, and avoiding being creamed by the rush hour cage cluster fuck, Hot Shot managed to keep the bike vertical.

After his “Hail Mary,” he pumped the brakes up and took off down the road. Wasn’t long before he felt intense heat on his Left knee. “K.K.” started sounding really “loose” – kinda like “a bad one night stand.” Riding back to the shop, Hot Shot got his “blow job” – but the kind that came in the form of a blown head gasket. Well, that lead to a change from the current paper gaskets to copper gaskets, which fixed the rear head issue. Now the forward head got pulled off – and a hole the size of Hot Shot’s pinkie finger allowed molten aluminum to shoot onto his Left Knee…Talk about body heat!!!

Between his regular welding job, and working on “K.K.” time flew by, and Hot Shot finished up just hours before heading to the east coast and Daytona.

Meaty Jane
Meaty Jane

Camping at Cackleberry Campground gave the team close access to the track. Hot Shot, Carwash Rob, Rob the estimator/Right hand Pit Man, and the Hot Shot Team Mascot – Meaty Jane were on a tight budget for the week, but also had a mission to beat out Freddie to get to the track for 5:00 a.m. check-in, on Friday, the day before the race. Little did they know, Freddie had parked his truck and trailer inline overnight and beat them to the it!

Friday’s practice proved trying for Team Hot Shot, but “K.K. ran 15 laps. The bike wouldn’t go into 3rd gear – but that was operator error forgetting to tighten the fuel tank bolt that fell out – or to quote Hot Shot, “an amateur mistake." On the last lap, her throttle was stuck wide open on the fuel hose clamp. Hot Shot made turns 3 and 4 with the motor revved up high. The kill switch wouldn’t work, so panic set in and Hot Shot ripped the throttle cable out instead of pulling the spark plug wire (amateur mistake #2).
The 1953 45 Flathead former servi-car converted to solo 45 cubic-inch was then pushed into the pits. It had no compression in the forward cylinder. It was 5 o’clock in the afternoon and now looking like no more racing for “K.K.” and Team Hot Shot.

Photo Compliments of Team Hot Shot
Photo Compliments of Team Hot Shot

Tear down began, and a hole was blown in the head ¼-inch wide by 1-inch long around the sparkplug. The actual sparkplug melted. The saving grace was Carwash Rob scavenging through a local swap meet, finding two new aluminum heads, which he donated to “the cause."

Photo Compliments of Team Hot Shot
Photo Compliments of Team Hot Shot

Local Bike Shop, Black Gold, hooked up Team Hot Shot with Copper gaskets and miscellaneous parts. Their steering dampener resolved “K.K.’s” front end shimmy.

Fellow racers jumped on board at a local service station, turned motorcycle shop and the racing trailer was parked. The engine was torn down and gaskets were replaced. Daniel and Justin with TOCE Performance were instrumental in the assist. Donny from Strokerz hooked up Team Hot Shot with Jets for the S&S Carb. Working till midnight, the engine was finally back together but not running. They ended up heading back with the trailer and bike in tow to the endless party at the Cackleberry. Sleep – What Sleep?

Carwash Bob
Carwash Bob

Race Day, March 10th – began with 9:00 a.m. breakfast and the race meeting. Team Hot Shot was in the 3rd Heat Race. It was back to the pits and attempts to get “K.K.” fired up!. It just so happened that two other fellow racers needed welding to race – so hand wrenching skills were bartered for TIG Welding skills. The dream was becoming a reality. ……..until……”K.K.” would not start!

After exploratory surgery, it was discovered that molten aluminum was stuck to the exhaust valve. Once removed, Matt and the Wheels thru Time Team contributed their electric wheel starter and after three tries “K.K.” FIRED UP! Hot Shot almost had a hot shit!!! The bike was finally ready – with 5 minutes left to spare for the Heat Race. “K.K.” and Hot Shot finished 4th out of 5 – but completed the race!

Speed was lost in the turns due to a dragging floor board during the lean in. Unfortunately, Team Hot Shot didn’t qualify for the next heat race, but Hot Shot did admit to having the time of his life!

Hot Shot sends out thanx to the afore mentioned people and Billy Lane, for the opportunity to race in this historical event. A Hot Shot shout out to Ron Berman for creating a kick ass logo with minimal notice! Looking forward to the next race and “K.K.” and Team Hot Shot kicking some ass!


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Reader Comments

Good article, I enjoyed that.

Lindell Beach, BC, Canada
Saturday, March 30, 2019
Editor Response Gerry,

Glad u enjoyed some behind the scenes action....thanx for commenting!



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