‘A ton of skill:’ Bikes tear up Bradford Beach during H-D’s 115th in 1st races in more than a century

Michael Spaeth

MILWAUKEE -- During the Labor Day holiday weekend, and Harley-Davidson's 115th anniversary, FOX6 found bikes battling along the water, in a competition that'll leave you on edge -- an old-school beach brawl making history of its own.

It marks the first time in more than a century where bikes are tearing up Bradford Beach, one lap around the quarter-mile track at a time.

"A ton of skill, and for a lot of guys, it's unknown because it's never been done before and it's surely never been done before in an oval like this," said Michael Spaeth, Harley-Davidson senior project manager.

Motorcycle racing on Bradford Beach

Brian Cannon

On the shores of Lake Michigan, the 'Bradford Beach Brawl' pays tribute to the old days of racing, but it's not for the faint of heart.

"A lot of guts!" said Sherri Percival, spectator from Seattle.

"The consistency of the sand is going to continue to change during the day. There's a lot of variables," said Brian Cannon, racer.

Racers spent the day Friday, Aug. 31 getting a feel for the elements, and put on a show for the growing crowd.

"It's more about entertainment than competition," said Spaeth.

"I kind of just... tunnel vision. Got to go; give it all it's got," said Cannon.

It's an opportunity to celebrate 115 years of history, but also create it for the next 115.

Motorcycle racing on Bradford Beach

"It's a huge thing. It's... sheesh. It's been six months worth of hard work. Seeing it come to fruition here is really exciting," said Spaeth.

"It brings people together and it's camaraderie that's really a great brotherhood, if you will," said Percival.

Motorcycle racing on Bradford Beach

Official races kick off Saturday, Sept. 1 at noon and last until dusk. The event is completely free to attend.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the activities taking place during Harley-Davidson's 115th Anniversary Celebration.