Jeff Decker is an amazing artist who operates out of Springville Utah, not too far from the fabled Bonneville Salt Flats. In addition to being a serious rider, Jeff possesses a truly special understanding of motorcycles. You see, Jeff is a maker of sculptures and his chosen the iron horse as his subject. To date he has cast eight pieces, two of which we are showcasing in this gallery. The first, Boardtrack Racers is an evocative piece that recreates the fabulous spectacle of the wooden tracks that sprang up inside "dromes" all over America in the teens and twenties. Racers such as the legendary Don Johns mounted some of the most exotic race prepped motorcycles every produced and circled the tight oval track at speeds near ninety miles an hour or more.
Inside the stadium rabid fans sat under lurid banners that proclaimed that they were watching men who were Neck and Neck with Death and the slogan proved terribly true. Most of the racers led lives of reckless abandon, generally bunking in whorehouses while they traveled the circuit until a mishap brought an end to their careers, and often their lives. After a series of accidents in which motorcycles careened over sixty degree banking into the crowd killing spectators, the boardtracks were shut down, bringing to a close one of motorcycling's most colorful chapters.
Jeff always works meticulously from actual machines. In this case, he traveled to the Otis Chandler Museum in California and secured the permission of the staff to work after hours creating this artistic marvel.
Jeff's most recent project (shown above) is even more ambitious. It is a large casting of one of the most indelible images of motorcycling--the famous photograph of Rollie Free, clad only in bathing trunks, flat out on a Vincent, piloting it to a new American Land Speed Record of 150 mph in 1950. This fabled machine had been lost for decades but had recently resurfaced and fallen into the hands of Herb Harris, a princely gentleman with a penchant for two-wheeled exotica. When Herb heard about Jeff's desire to sculpt the bathing suit Vincent, he readily gave his consent. The result is a sculpture that Jeff has pronounced 'extremely accurate'and for Jeff to say that is indeed noteworthy. In the future we will showcase more of Jeff's work, including pictures of the machines he is working from and images of the art in its stages of creation.
Right now Jeff is currently in the midst of his casting run for this piece. He is making 19 and 10 are already spoken for. The sculpture is cast in bronze and weighs over 100 pounds and is 42 inches in length (Price: $18,000). He is also planning a run of 100 13 inch trophies of the bathing suit Vincent (Price: $1,000). 29 Board Track Racers were cast; the piece is 34 inches (Price: 12, 750 dollars). Inquiries should be directed to Big Sid.
That flash of yellow: Don Johns no doubt edging ahead on the outside, the Cyclone, that overhead cam speed demon; valiantly staying close Patterson (perhaps?) astride the Flying Merkel as the two circle some water soaked track sometime before the fall of 1916.