Hall of Fame Inductee 2014
Jay Ligntnin’ was born John Bently in Swansea, Massachusetts. It was the same town where rider, mechanic and drome builder Pappy Boudreaux lived, and Jay had the pleasure of riding with Pappy’s son Joe and learning about the mechanics of Indian Motorcycles from Pappy when he was just a teenager. He joined their show full time in 1970 and spent a few years as a straight rider on Harley Hummers before graduating to the status of trick rider on the Indian 101 Scout. He rode with that drome for 4 years before purchasing his own motordrome. He dubbed it the “California Hell Riders” and later sold it to long-time friend Dan Daniels. During this time, Jay worked construction in the winter months.
In 1998, Jay took out a loan against his house to purchase wood and supplies to build the first motordrome to be built in the United States in over 50 years. In 2000 he completed the American Motor Drome, and began touring with it.
What started out as a few days of shows during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally has grown to a full nine-month season of shows all over the country. For many years, the American Motor Drome was the only drome to be on the road full-time. Jay’s crew does shows every hour during the Sturgis rally, and has traveled to events in places like Milwaukee at the Harley-Davidson Museum, at the Barber Motorsports Museum in Alabama, Dal Marva Bike Week, Daytona Bike Week, Evel Knievel Days, and many more.
Besides keeping the motordrome culture alive in the United States, Jay is also very interested in vintage motorcycles. When on tour, he displays several old Indians, including bikes that have belonged to motordrome greats. His dream is to have a traveling museum of vintage bikes as well as a place where people can come to enjoy old bikes and the Wall of Death shows during the off season.
Jay has a daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter who live in Connecticut. He shares his life with long-time partner Edie “Ice” Smith. The couple live in California.