Just 45 minutes south of the insanity at the Sturgis Bike Rally is the Black Hills Speedway and the second round of racing for our Man in a Van with a Plan, Hayden Gillim. After gaining some confidence from his fourth place at the Buffalo Chip TT, he was ready to swap out the TT setup on his Indian Scout FTR750 for one that is suited to the high speeds of a half-mile.
After setting up his pit, Hayden and his dad finished swapping parts on the bike, exchanging the S&S 2-into-1 exhaust for a S&S dual exhaust, removing the front brake, changing gearing, and switching out the weighted Roland Sands Design rear wheel to one without. Helping out once again was John Cornwell from Öhlins for overall bike setup. After everything was swapped, tightened and rechecked, Hayden headed out for practice. The surface was prime and Hayden laid down a sixth-fastest lap time of 23.104 seconds.
Hayden continued to make changes to get more out of the FTR750. He was enjoying the chance to let the Indian eat on a bigger and faster track.
“It’s like riding a 450 on a short track,” Hayden said.
During the heat race, Hayden continued with great times, but four laps in he cooked his rear brakes, forcing him to slow and limp the FTR into 12th place going into the semis.
After changing out the brakes and making some suspension changes, Hayden headed out for the semis where he struggled again, battling near the back and placing ninth—the last position who would transfer into the main event. Undeterred, Hayden lined up alongside the top flat-track racers in the world on his first half-mile main event in the AFT Twins class.
As the rider intro began, Hayden realized the banjo bolt on the rear brake caliper had worked itself loose, pumping out brake fluid. Frankie Gillim was on the issue quickly and ran back to the pits to get the tools and fluid. With speed and efficiency that would make a F1 pit crew jealous, Frankie tightened the bolt, pulled fluid through the rear brake system, and made sure Hayden’s one and only brake was ready to go.
Hayden made it to the line in time for the start, and when the flag dropped, he missed the jump from the line and lost a handful of positions. He battled and fought through the grueling 25-lap race, dicing in some heated battles with Jake Shoemaker and Henry Wiles. At the end of the 25th lap, Hayden crossed the line in 12th place, pleased with the result at his first-ever half-mile race. As the van was packed, our Man in a Van with a Plan looked ahead to the Peoria TT and the promise of fighting for a podium position if not the win.