Harvard's architectural plans may not include a drag racing track at Soldiers' Field-the "Friends of Harvard Racing Track" are not well organized as a lobby. But the Class of '65's leading speed demon, Bill Dutcher, will be in town today to prepare for the Yamaha Silver Cup Race, to be held June 10 in the Boston Garden.
Dutcher and over one hundred other contestants will be racing motorcycles on a circular, concrete, indoor track for a purse of $5000. Dutcher, who rates his past racing record as "medium success," will be riding a Bultaco bike and will be satisfied if he qualifies for the 12-man final.
Entering Harvard in the fall of 1959, Dutcher found nothing in the Cambridge community that caught his interest. So he dropped out and began racing motorcycles in Florida. After two years of competition, he returned to Harvard-to the Soc Rel department and the New England racing circuit.
Upon graduation, Dutcher found he had nothing to do, but after a summer of indecision, he accepted a job in Schenectady, N. Y. as a salesman for CEMOTO East, a dealer of Bultaco racing parts.
Since that time, Dutcher has been an active racer. He made it to the semifinal heats of the recent Yamaha races that drew 17.000 to Madison Square Garden and was covered in Sports Illustrated.
"Racing indoors compared to racing outdoors is like roller derby compared to neighborhood outdoor roller skating." Dutcher said. Contact and physical struggle abound on the small, circular track.
General fighting and crashing usually occurs on the first lap of the race. "The track only takes nine or ten seconds to circle, so its a tremendous advantage to get the early lead." Dutcher said. "There's no strategy or planning. It's just a matter of bulling to the front."
Dutcher feels that the most important factor in motorcycle racing is tire preparation. "Racers use softening compounds on the tires and then file and rasp the edges to get maximum contact with the racing surface," he explained. "The track gets much faster during the race as a layer of rubber melts onto the surface."
In order to qualify for the final race, Dutcher' will have to race all afternoon. First, he must beat the cut-off point in the time trials. Then, the top forty racers will be paired in a series of heats to determine the final entrants.
"Racing is my form of relaxation." Dutcher said. "Once you are on the track, you can't have your mind on anything but the race."
The Boston race is a preparation for the famous Laconia outdoor race that will be held June 12 in Lauden, N. H.