‘My personal hero:’ 78-year-old wins main event in his class; racing bikes on Dr. Pepper syrup

MILWAUKEE -- One of the biggest events during Harley-Davidson's 115th anniversary celebration heading into the Labor Day holiday weekend took place Friday night, Aug. 31 at the UWM Panther Arena.

On "Flat Out Friday," motorcycle riders raced on top of Dr. Pepper -- and there was a surprise winner.

"The track is 180 feet from end to end," said Eric Jensen from Harley-Davidson.

Flat out racers got help with grip from an unlikely source, Dr. Pepper.

"They use Dr. Pepper syrup because it allows them to crate a traction surface for the racers. They lightly spray it down before they go out and race," said Jensen.

Chuck Dickenson

Chuck Dickenson

Racers came from around the world to compete. Chuck Dickenson of Richfield had nearly all of them beat when it came to age.

"I'm 78 years old. This is fun! This is motorcycle racing. Got to keep doing it while I can," said Dickenson.

Dickenson has been racing for 55 years. We found one thing missing from his bike on Friday -- brakes.

Chuck Dickenson's son

"I know -- he's my personal hero," said Dickenson's son.

In an early turn, Dickenson's bike went down. His son looked on with nervous eyes.

"Worry is not the right words. He's doing what he loves," said Dickenson's son.

He was helped up for a restart.

"Try to use your brain. The guys that are out here with you, you trust. Nobody wants to hurt anyone else," said Dickenson.

Chuck Dickenson

He gives it to her every time he goes out on the track. He's not out there to roll around," said Dickenson's son.

When he came across the finish line, Dickenson was in second -- good enough to advance to another heat. He ended up winning the main event in his class. At 78, he said he's just thrilled to go home in one piece.