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20 Years Later, Speed Week 1998 and The Deeley Exhibition’s Own Historic Bonneville Run

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Speed Week 2018 is in the books and a number of records were broken. To celebrate, yours truly at the Deeley Motorcycle Exhibition dusted off our own Bonneville champion, the 1998 Buell Lightening S1.

The 1998 Buell Lightning S1 – 1350 cc Production-Push Rod Class land speed record breaker (Photo courtesy of The Deeley Exhibition).

To celebrate the 20-year anniversary of the Buell’s record-breaking run, I sat down with two members of Team Deeley; Shane Kenneally, the record setting racer and Terry Rea, the Crew Chief, and revisited the events leading up to and including the big race on August 7, 1998.

Bonneville Speed Week – August 1998 (Photo courtesy of Darwin Osarchuk).

So how did this idea of racing the Lightening S1 at Speed Week come about?

Shane Kenneally, Racer: I did some mathematical calculations on my slide rule and realized it was possible for the Lightening to break 150 mph. After doing the math, I walked into the Deeley Exhibition and discussed this with Terry.

Terry Rea, Crew Chief: Right off the bat I should tell you that Trev (Deeley) was not keen on the idea of us racing at Bonneville. We had to convince Trev that straight-line racing was racing since he was never interested in land speed records. To him racing was dirt/flat track not drag or time trials.

Shane Kenneally: But this was where the idea sprung from. Trev and I spoke about this further on a number of occasions and eventually we put a team together.

Team Deeley: Back Row – (left to right) Jason McVickers (Racer), Peter Sellers (Technician), Mike Rowland (Project Manager/Bike Builder), Michelle Wilson (Head Office Admin). Front Row – Terry Rea (Crew Chief), Shane Kenneally (Racer), Debbie Kenneally (Shane’s wife), Trev Deeley. Missing: Len Creed, Steve Drane (Photo courtesy of The Deeley Exhibition).

Terry Rea: Even though Shane did his slide rule calculations, Trev still called the Buell engineers and asked if their bikes could reach 150 mph; they said it was not possible. Trev was skeptical but both Shane and I challenged him saying it could be done.

What was so special about this motorcycle?

Rea: The Lightening was an unmodified bike. The only things we did were get European belts and sprockets for better gas mileage and a steering dampener to control wobbling. As a matter of fact, we entered the bike into the 1350cc Production-Push Rod Class but in reality, our bike was only 1200cc. We were giving up 150cc!!

I heard there were some issues leading up to the race. What happened?

Rea: The engine suffered serious damage on the dynamometer the day before it was scheduled to leave. Over-revving bent a pushrod and we didn’t have a spare! We managed to find a dealer in Victoria (Steve Drane) who had one but it was lost at the bus depot. I had to bribe the terminal workers with a Harley test ride so they would search for it. We repaired the bike at the very last minute, rode it from the back of the shop to the front and loaded it into the trailer. Since we needed to be there the next day, Jason McVickers and I drove all night to get there in time.

Kenneally: I didn’t even know the pushrod was broken. I had left before everyone else. Trev flew everyone there except Terry and Jason who drove.

Rea: We had to detour through Prosser, WA. which added 2 extra hours to the drive. The tech inspection at Bonneville was closing at 5pm and we rolled up at 4:30; 22 hours after we started! The first run wasn’t until the next morning though.

So now you’ve made, how was race day?

Kenneally: The weather was great, it was hot!

Rea: We had traction the whole way, tires were not slippery.

Kenneally: I did three runs altogether. The first run hit 132 mph (the record was 144) but the bike was misfiring on the top end. I jetted out the carbs a couple of times and the second run was 142 mph. Peter Sellers (Team Deeley Mechanic) jetted out the carbs twice more. On our third run we broke 150 mph. We did our return run the next morning, again over 150 mph, so our average was 150.022 mph, a new record!

Rea: Bonneville has its own radio station so after the third run as I was nearing the CB radio I heard, “That’s a new track record set by Trev Deeley Racing!” Trev and I ran to the truck and listened enthusiastically. That was the first time I ever saw Trev running (Terry muses).

What was the reaction like from the crowd?

Rea: There were congratulations all around as everyone celebrated that the rookies set the record! Trev asked me how I knew the Buell would beat 150 mph and I answered, “Shane’s Slide rule!”

Kenneally: I was pretty close to my calculation (Shane laughs). Eric Buell said 144 mph was the best the Lightening could do. They did hundreds of runs but we beat them in only three. It was hard to get Trev excited, but he was pleased with the Buell record. Looking back, the Buell was very stable, the most rock-solid bike I ever raced in Bonneville. It was just “waaaaahh’ing along” and I was just sitting there watching the mountains fly by…

There is still residue on the gas cap from the wax tape used to seal it after the race inspection. Below it is a piece of paper cut from a pack of Winston cigarettes. “Trev told Team Deeley we had to win so we taped the word ‘Win’ onto the bike for motivation,” says Terry Rea. (Photo courtesy of The Deeley Exhibition).

The aftermath of the Buell Lightening’s record-breaking run was a huge success for Trev Deeley as he made full use of the bike as a marketing tool. The Lightening was sent on a cross country tour of Canada and sales for Buell motorcycles more than doubled. The next year The House of Buell (Buell dealership) opened its doors on Boundary Road in Vancouver.

Along with the Buell Lighting S1, Team Deeley raced 3 other bikes at Speed Week 1998. Shane raced a Suzuki Gamma RG500 and Jason McVickers raced both a 580cc Gamma in Modified Gas and a 750cc GSXR Suzuki. All three bikes broke their respective records which still stand today.

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A Brief History on Hill-Climb Motorcycles

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Many argue that motorcycle hill-climbing got its start in the early 1900’s thanks to Indian Motorcycles. Taking a motorcycle from the bottom of a steep hill, up and over, was a way to prove the power and strength of that motorcycle, and it was the method used by Indian to show off their latest models. These displays were often done at some of the steepest hills in Springfield, Massachusetts and eventually drew a crowd. Soon enough it became a sport for thrill seekers, and motorcycle companies began manufacturing hill-climb-specific models to meet the growing market of racers. Triumph began competing in 1905, with Harley Davidson joining the races five years later. The sport and the specific bike models both thrived together, with racing creating a demand, and new hill-climb models drawing in new racers.

hill-climb harley davidson

The 1920’s saw the biggest boom of the sport, with more and more competitors in hill-climb races and more motorcycle companies manufacturing hill-climbers. The sport was particularly popular in Southern Orange County, with its ideal terrain. Unfortunately the sport’s popularity did begin to wane, especially with the rise and prominence of other forms of racing, like flat track. The sport almost died out altogether until 2008, when the Daytona Motorsport Group took over from AMA, creating a 21st century resurgence in hill climbing popularity.

As part of our commemoration of unique bikes over the past 100 years, The Deeley Motorcycle Exhibition has on display a 1930 Harley Davidson Hill-climber. One of only thirty built, this unique bike was first introduced by Harley Davidson in 1929, during the height of hill-climbing popularity. This DAH with its overhead valve v-twin engine produces over 60 horsepower. First bought from the factory by Fred Deeley Jr, the bike was later gifted to Trev Deeley who had considerable success at hill-climb events throughout the Pacific Northwest.

hill-climb modern day

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Preparing Your Bike for Winter Storage

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As the days get shorter and the nights get longer; as the leaves turn to orange and you dust off your coats, it’s time to start thinking about preparing your bike for winter storage. Of course there may be a few more months of good riding left, but these days, the weather is unpredictable. It’s a tough call to make when to tuck her away, but when you’re ready, here is a checklist for prepping your bike for storage.

  • Wash your bike
  • Wash thoroughly, making sure to dry the bike very well after. Don’t forget to lube the chain and wax any chrome afterwards as well.
  • Remove and clean the spark plugs, change them out if necessary
  • Change the oil – This helps to ensure your bike is ride ready come spring.
  • Fill the gas tank – This helps prevent rust from forming inside the tank
  • Remove the battery and connect it to a charger – This maintains the battery life through long periods of inactivity
  • Make sure to store the battery in a clean and dry place away from any heat sources or chemicals
  • Cover the exhaust pipes – This prevents moisture from collecting inside, as well as keeping out any curious critters
  • Find a dry storage location and cover up the bike
And lastly,
Sigh with longing for the spring when you can ride again!



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Bringing Honda to Canada

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Many know Trev Deeley through his connection to Harley Davidson and the legacy he brought to the company by being the first distributor of the Milwaukee company in Canada, but not many know that he was also the first distributor of Honda motorcycles in the English-speaking world. In 1957, four years after being appointed general manager of Fred Deeley Motorcycles, Trev came upon an article about a U.S. soldier who had fought in Japan who brought back with him a 250 cc motorcycle made by the Honda Motor Company in Tokyo.

Intrigued, Trev sent a letter to the president of the Honda Motor Company indicating that British Columbia and Japan shared some similarities which could make for a profitable market for the company. This led to a correspondence with the company that resulted in Honda sending Trev a free 250 cc Honda Dream. Regardless of struggling to convince Fred Sr. and Jr., Trev was impressed with the craftsmanship and performance of the bike and became the first distributor of Hondas in the English-speaking world, primarily ordering 50 cc Honda Cubs.

With the Deeley Motorcycle Exhibition’s new exhibit “100 Years of Motorcycling”, we hoped to highlight motorcycles that have made some sort of mark over time, and both the 1960 Honda Dream and the 1963 Honda Super Cub are glowing examples, being the first two models of a Honda Motorcycle  tested and distributed by Trev Deeley to an English-speaking market.

Although the 1960 Honda Dream holds significance for being one of the first models of Honda motorcycles to come to the Western world, the Honda Super Cub, which Trev first began distributing, has made great strides, becoming the most produced motor vehicle in history with production passing 100 million units in 2017.

Come check out these incredible bikes and learn a deeper history at the Deeley Motorcycle Exhibition’s newly installed display, “100 Years of Motorcycling”!


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100 Years Later

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July 2 marks the 1950 grand opening of the East Broadway location of Fred Deeley Ltd. Previously located on West Broadway, Fred Deeley Limited actually got its start all the way back in 1914 with the opening of “Fred Deeley, The Cycle Man,” on 1075 Granville Street. Continuing the same business he had in England, Fred Deeley initially sold bicycles before starting the sale of motorcycles in 1916 with imported BSA’s. Before long, motorcycle business was booming and the sale of motorcycles and bicycles were separated, with a distinct motorcycle shop opening on West Broadway run by Fred Deeley Jr. It wasn’t long until a young Trev Deeley joined the team in 1935 as a mechanic, eventually becoming an integral member of the team. It was Trev’s decision to move the shop’s location in 1950 to its iconic spot at 606 East Broadway.

The Deeley family name has not only been influential in Canadian motorcycle history, but also holds great significance in the history of Vancouver. A racer, a collector, and a philanthropist, Trev Deeley’s distinguished personal collection of motorcycles can be appreciated at the Deeley Motorcycle Exhibition.

2017 marks 100 years since the Deeley family placed their faith in an almost unknown motorcycle company from Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Harley Davidson, thus becoming the first distributor of the brand in Canada. To celebrate such a milestone and the evolution of other motorcycle brands throughout the past 100 years, the Deeley Exhibition will be opening its new exhibit, “100 Years if Motorcycling,” on July 5 2017 and we cordially invite you to stop by. With all types of brands and models, there is something for everyone!


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Featured Female Rider – Anke-Eve Goldmann

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A fashion icon, a racer, a journalist, and a writer, Anke-Eve Goldmann was a pioneer for female motorcyclists, both in Germany and in the United States. In most images, the over-6-foot, dark haired German beauty can be seen riding atop a BMW R69, at the time the fastest Bavarian flat-twin roadster, sporting a leather cat-suit. Although she was never officially sponsored by BMW she almost solely rode bikes produced by the company, displaying the flashy letters of BMW on her classic pudding basin helmet. Her riding gear was designed by herself, with the help of the German manufacturing company Harro, winning her the title of the first woman to wear a once-piece leather racing suit, and aiding female riding fashion in the process, as her designs were approved for public distribution.


Goldmann was often ridiculed and barred from racing due to her sex but that didn’t stop her from competing wherever she could. She participated in speed circuits and endurance races, with her modified for speed BMWs. Unfortunately, she was barred from competing at higher levels or in Grand Prix’s, possibly driving her to help found the Women’s International Motorcyclists Association in Europe in the late 1950’s.

Her passion for racing fueled her journalism career, with articles written for motorcycle magazines such as Cycle World, Moto Revue, and MotorRad. Most notably, Goldmann broke social taboos of the time by crossing into East Germany in 1962 while the Berlin wall was under construction, to document soviet women’s racing. Cold war tensions stopped articles written during this time from being published in European magazines, but they were accepted in American magazines, despite the growing tension of the Cold War Era. Rumor has it that due to her connections and mobility in East Germany, Anke-Eve was approached by the CIA to be a spy, but she refused and stopped traveling to the Soviet Union.

Goldmann’s fast paced and fashionable persona became the influence for André Pieyre de Mandiargues 1963 novel, The Motorcycle. The novel later was adapted into the 1968 cult classic The Girl on a Motorcycle.

Although Anke-Eve stopped riding following the death of a close friend from a riding accident and has stayed out of the public eye since, her legacy lives on through riding fashion, equality, and film.

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