AMA Pro Flat Track Series
Springfield Mile at the Illinois State Fairgrounds
By Pattie Frost
SPRINGFIELD, IL, AUG. 12, 2015
Neil Keen passed in body in 2014, but the legendary racer who competed from the 1960s through 1974 was burning up the roads from coast to coast on the American Motorcycle Association’s Grand National Tour.
“The Illinois Motorcycle Dealers Association, one of the largest motorcycle dealers groups in America and the only dealers association to promote races in the Midwest… these events would begin on Tuesday night in Granite City on a Half Mile or move up to the short track on Wednesday night at Santa Fe in Hinsdale and by Thursday you might be headed to Jersey City or getting ready for the TT (Tourist Trophy) in Peoria, but come Sunday you were at the Mile,” stated Kim Keen, widow of the late Neil Keen.
In the early 60s, many a Californian towed open motorcycle trailers to this event. Later they came in caravans of El Caminos or Rancheros – which were far easier to load up – and run the 30-hour drive. The notorious stories of these road warriors as they drove to get to the next race have been duplicated in the 1970s movie On Any Sunday by Bruce Brown. Such luminaries as Neil Keen, Joe Leonard, Dick Mann and Marshall “Digger” Helm, the undertaker from Bakersfield, California, made those trips.
Neil Keen’s iconic number-10 plate will be duplicated by Pro Plates for Scrambler Ducati team co-owners David and Michael Lloyd.
“We have been lucky with our partners Ducati.net and, of course, DucTalk.com, [and along with] help from Motion Pro, Pro Plates and others [this] has allowed us to team up with our racer Johnny Lewis,” stated David Lloyd, who is preparing for the upcoming Don Tilley Memorial Charlotte Half Mile on August 29, 2015, in Charlotte, North Carolina, prior to the IMDA Springfield Mile on Sunday, September 6, at the Illinois Fairgrounds in Springfield, Illinois.
Doing the racing will be National number 10, AMA Pro racer Johnny Lewis from Coatesville, Pennsylvania. The six-footer is one of the tallest riders in GNC1 competition, and he does well on the Scrambler. Lewis has taken to the road as a full-time traveler along with his wife, Alysha, and their beautiful son Maxsen. Lewis makes a living by teaching and training other riders to further their careers while giving back to the sport. Johnny and Alysha have found their niche in an industry in which you must make a mark to strive for conditioning, practicing and instilling your passion for what you’re doing.
Thank you, Johnny, for carrying the number 10 one more time.