The Cycling Exploits Of Fred Ham
In April 1937, Fred Ham, a California Highway Patrolman, set a new world record endurance run aboard a 1936 Harley-Davidson 61 cubic inch OHV EL Knucklehead. The run was made on Muroc Dry Lake at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The Knuckle was revolutionary for Harley since it was their first overhead valve model, with all previous models being flathead side valves.
A team had made arrangements for refueling along with a pit stop equipped with tools and supplies for repairs. A five-mile course was designed on the lake bed with markers every 47 feet and oil flares set ablaze between the markers for nighttime illumination.
In 24 hours, Fred "Iron Man" Ham covered 1,825 miles making for an average speed of 76.615 mph.
I was honored by an invite to a reenactment of the record in 2007 for a magazine article. That's when Dale Walksler with his Wheels Through Time Museum took a special-built '37 Knucklehead to Talladega Speedway in an attempt to beat Ham's record. After repeated mishaps and mechanical problems, they came up just a little short. But it was a valiant effort by a team of pros 70 years after the record was set by a bunch of hard-heads who were told it could not be done.