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FrontRunners: Making a Splash

Vincent Black Lightning Bathing Suit Bike

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An appearance by the “Bathing Suit Bike” will be among the highlights of the third-annual Quail Motorcycle Gathering ( May 14 at the Quail Lodge Golf Club in Carmel, Calif. The Vincent Black Lightning prototype gained fame in 1948 when it set a motorcycle speed record of more than 150 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. The bike was ridden by Rollie Free, whose piloting attire became the source of the Vincent’s nickname: To save weight, Free wore only a helmet, tennis shoes, and swim trunks. The Vincent will be one of several historically significant machines displayed at the golf club, where dress more proper than Free’s is required.

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