County man crew chief on Harley Davidson bagger race team

Episode 368

July 11, 2021

It is a long way from Van Buren, Maine to WeatherTech Raceway in Laguna Seca, California, however, one of the County’s native sons made the trip this week as the crew chief for the Rossmeyer Harley Davidson Bagger Racing Team. Kurt Dumond, (44) son of Doug and Linda Dumond turns wrenches with the newly formed race team.

Mission King of the Baggers is a Moto America sanctioned series dedicated to one of the most popular models of road touring type motorcycles the V-Twin Indian and Harley Davidson. The racing from Laguna Seca Raceway this weekend was featured on Fox Sports, FS1 and FS2.

Dumond, a 1995 Van Buren High School graduate, got his Automotive Technology degree at Northern Maine Community College in 1997. A self-described snowmobile guy, he went to work at Plourde and Plourde Skidoo, Arctic Cat and Harley Davidson dealership in Caribou, Maine in May of 1999. He attributes a six-week Harley Davidson school and hands on learning for the depth of knowledge that eventually led him in February 2020 to land the service manager position at Bruce Rossmeyer Harley-Davidson, Daytona, Florida. Rossmeyer Harley is known for its 109,000 square foot showroom with over 1,000 motorcycles sold annually.

It was a phone call from former Caribou resident, Paul Harmon, now living near Sebastian, Florida that changed the course of history for Dumond, who at the time was the service manager at Rochester New Hampshire. Harmon mentioned that he was looking to upgrade an exhaust and air cleaner for his motorcycle and was looking for advice on what to change to. Paul asked Kurt if he wanted to come install the exhaust.

Kurt thought it was a joke at first but soon found Paul wasn’t kidding. Soon he and his wife Christina were traveling to Florida. After a few days in Sebastian. Kurt and Christina took a ride to Ormond Beach to Rossmeyer’s showroom to look around. A salesman approached and because Christina, (who also was a manager for Seacoast Harley Davidson’s Riding Academy), had her manager jacket on, they were questioned where they were from and what they did.

They explained what they did and the salesman mentioned they were looking for a service manager. After some discussion with his wife Christina, Dumond decided to apply. He got the job after traveling to the Daytona location. That triggered a series of events which allowed him to make the move to Florida.

His 8 technicians work on a variety of bikes from electric to the most expensive models of Harleys available. Just prior to COVID-19 shutdown in 2020, Dumond experienced his first Daytona Bike Week in March. Daytona Bike Week is one of the “Big 3” motorcycle shows in the United States which also includes the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota and Laconia Motorcycle Week in New Hampshire. Rossmeyer Daytona Harley is one of the most visited spots for attendees of Bike Week. Dumond and crew put in long days and nights taking care of biker’s needs. Just prior to the 2021 Bike Week,

Dumond was approached by General Manager Shelli Rossmeyer to see if he would be interested in building and campaigning a bagger bike in the new Moto America series. Shelli the daughter of owner Bruce Rossmeyer had some experience with Buell and XR 1200 raced by Richie Morris Racing. She felt the new bagger series with its national media coverage would be good for the dealership.

“Yes!”, said Dumond “Let’s do it. I want to be part of that kind of action and commitment to excellence that such a race series requires.”

Rossmeyer HD racer under construction in the Daytona shop. The bagger began its life as a Miami Police Department leased bike. (Kurt Dumond photo)

A leased “turn-in” Miami Police Department Harley-Davidson Street Glide bike that was wrecked became the backbone of the build effort in late February of this year. The conversion from street bike to racer would be a thrash since the season opener was Road Atlanta April 30, 2021.

It was decided right off that the time before the Atlanta race was too short to build a race bike from scratch. The team would attend the race and gather as much insight as possible. The goal was to be ready for the second race of the season June 11-13, 2021 at Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

Rossmeyer Race Team at a Florida test in spring of this year.  Left to right. Jason Jones, Mike Waters, Cale Johnson, Mike Spare and Kurt Dumond. All are techs from the shop. (Bruce Rossmeyer Harley Race Team photo)

The bike was ready for its debut with veteran driver thirty-five-year-old Danny Eslick, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma in the seat. The learning curve was steep for the new team minus Dumond who was at his son’s high school graduation in Caribou, Maine. Off the pace by eight seconds in the Friday practice session, the team in a phone meeting that night decided to look for a stock transmission which would give the driver a more favorable gear ratio with less rpm loss during shifts.

Dumond got on the phone looking for the desired transmission and found one Saturday evening at House of Harley dealer just 1 ½ hours south in Milwaukee. Fortunately, the Screaming Eagle Harley factory team had one in their race parts truck which the team could use for the race. That change and other minor tuning efforts yielded a five second reduction in lap times.

The race featured a 1-2 finish by brothers Kyle and Tim Wyman aboard Screaming Eagle Harley Factory bikes. Eslick finished a respectable fourth in the team’s race debut. Since returning to home at Rossmeyer Harley, the team has done work on the triple trees front suspension as well as completely stripped the bike to the frame, cleaning, replacing worn components, and rebuilding for the demanding road course at Laguna Seca. The engine now has been freshened up with new parts.

Laguna Seca race update

View from the hill near the famous “Corkscrew” at Laguna Seca Raceway, Monterey, California. Dumond mentioned the crowd was one of the largest motorcycle crowds at the track. The arid beauty of the area is noticeable as well. (Kurt Dumond photo)

Earlier this evening I called Kurt Dumond for an update on the race in California. The bike finished eleventh one lap down after transmission woes which showed up at the halfway point. Though disappointed with the race results, Dumond was upbeat with the overall experience.

“The first practice Friday revealed shifter problems,” said Dumond. ” We were still able to get 129 mph out of the bike.”

“It was an unbelievable track,” noted Dumond as he described the beauty of the California hills in that area. “Lots and lots of people filled the track. The pits were packed. We were able to connect with many of our west coast parts suppliers. It was great putting a face with the voice we had only heard on the phone before.”

In the background is one of Laguna Seca’s most famous features, the “Corkscrew”. It drops 59 feet in 450 linear feet with two apexes. The team driver Danny Eslick had raced at the track on multiple occasions, however, most of team had not. New teams typically have problems as they try to work out the bugs. (Kurt Dumond photo)

The Rossmeyer Daytona Harley team will be talking over future race plans in the next few weeks to determine what is next. Regardless of 2022 plans, it is quite an accomplishment for a “County Kid” to be a major player on the team.

The King of the Baggers race podium finishers:

  1. Kyle Wyman, Screaming Eagle Factory Harley Davidson
  2. Tyler O’Hara, (-4.388 seconds behind leader) Factory Indian
  3. Michael Barnes, (4,913 seconds behind leader) non-factory Harley Davidson

For more information about Moto America visit https://motoamerica.com/

Doing the right thing at WAR

Watch the evening news and you are going to get what seems to be the “bad news”. It seems like the good news is reserved for a two-minute spot near the end of the newscast if they have time.

This story is one of those good news stories in the midst of a crappy time. It will not be featured on the evening news or sports highlights yet is a big deal.

It seems that one of Wyatt Alexander’s best friend’s dad has cancer and is not doing that well. To show support for the family racers in New England have been sporting the decal #Racing For GNG to honor John Peters dad, Greg.

Recently John posted the following video announcing the John Peters Motorsports number change from #51 to the family number #09.

https://www.facebook.com/JohnPetersMotorsports/videos/346429086903841

John was going to make his 2021 season debut at Beech Ridge Speedway in their Super Late Model division last Saturday. In a Facebook post Peters explained that he would not be able to make the race since it was more important to be with family at this time.

That is when the idea to get John at the track or at least his number on a race car at the track. With the help of Warren Hamilton with graphics, the family #96 gave way to John Peters Motorsports #09 on the sides for the evening at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway. This is why WAR is respected. County Proud!

“#09 was on the card to race tonight and that’s exactly what is gonna happen. How could it not? Otherwise, I don’t know how to express all my feelings. I know how excited John Peters is to debut it, and he knows how much I care about tradition and family numbers. It simply had to happen. Warren Hamilton made it all possible. Thanks to Brooke Shaw for her input. Proud to represent for GNG, Johnny, Gail Peters, and the entire Peter’s family that I consider my own. Gonna run hard tonight with a lot of pride on the doors”, Wyatt Alexander  (WAR photo)

” I’ve never wanted one worse… had my doubts after a poor draw and a mid-pack starting spot. Ended up a close 3rd after leading for a couple corners.
So close to parking the #09 tonight. What an epic race it was though, can’t ask for more than that,” Wyatt Alexander speaking about WAR placing third at Beech Ridge. (Lindsey Walker photo)

The last few laps of the race won by Dave Oliver with Brandon Barker and Wyatt Alexander in close pursuit. Got to watch this racing action courtesy Matthew Deering:

https://www.facebook.com/matthew.deering/videos/246395646994249

Loring Timing Association kicks off racing action in the County

LTA announced the 2021 events and kicked off a membership program to help support the sport in northern Maine. Details can be found at their website.

Land speed racers from a great number of places in the United States will be converging on the former Loring Air Force Base in Limestone, Maine minus the Canadian contingent who are prevented from entering the United States by COVID-19 cross border restrictions.

The full schedule for the week is posted below. I hope to make multiple visits to the race venue. Admission is $10 per day or $25 for the entire event. Yes, spectators are allowed in 2021.

From the LTA Facebook post:

1) Schedule:
Monday – Pits open yearly birds. (be forwarded that if you show too early, we might put you to work).
Tuesday – Tech will start when there are enough vehicles ready to be checked and continue through Saturday.
Wednesday – Racing will start 1:00ish when there are enough vehicles teched and ready to run. Racing ends at 5:00.
Thursday – Racing will start at 9:00 and end at 5:00.
Friday – Racing will start at 9:00 and end at 5:00.
Saturday – Racing will start at 8:00 and end when the line runs out.
2) SAFETY – Be sure to check and mark your tire date codes for the tech team. Use a colored marker please!
3) ROOKIE / DRIVER MEETINGS –
All meetings are held in front of registration and will be signaled by a blast of the air horn.
ALL drivers are required and all team members are requested to attend ALL meetings. There is always something that needs to be discussed.
ALL ROOKIES are required to and anyone that wishes to refamiliarize themselves with the track should attend the ROOKIE MEETING.
Meetings are held about 1 hour before racing starts and after the noon break.
Swanson wins again
UpNorth Motorsports has been following the career of Kingsburg, California’s Kody Swanson since our inception in 2014. Swanson now living in Indianapolis has won multiple times this season with wins in stock cars, sprint cars, Silver Crown, and midgets.
Swanson competed in the SRX Series at Eldora Raceway June 27th and finished second to Tony Stewart. On Saturday July 3rd he followed the SRX Series show at Lucas Oil Raceway with a win in the Champion Midget race with Rosela Racing.

Following the SRX race at Lucas Oil Raceway (A race many felt Swanson should have been in) he won the 25 lap Brown’s Oil Champion Midget feature race. Since he was the pole winner and started 8th with the Hot Box Pizza Challenge, his win earned free small pizza for everyone at the track. A popular win indeed. (Jordan Swanson photo)

Kody Swanson (on right) with the Doran Racing team after winning the 125 lap Glen Niebel Classic at Anderson Speedway Saturday evening with Dan Binks powerplant. Swanson finished second in the rain shortened Champion Midget feature won by Kyle O’Gara. Swanson is in action tonight in the Redbud 400 CRA-ARCA race at Anderson. Busy! (Jordan Swanson photo)

Let’s go racing,
Tom Hale
Soli Deo Gloria (Matthew 16:5)

 

Tom Hale

About Tom Hale

Tom wrote 14 years as freelancer for the Bangor Daily Sports covering motorsports in Maine. Now blogging and concentrating on human interest stories about people and places in racing. He races Champ Karts and owns HTF Motorsports in remote Westmanland, Maine