One of our favorite happenings in all of the motorcycle racing is Royal Enfield’s Build.Train.Race program:
“The first all-woman initiative teaching women to build & race their own motorcycle. The Build.Train.Race. program highlights women and motorcycle culture in North America through a unique format that brings together riders from different backgrounds to compete in several different track events.”
There are both flat track and road racing formats, and each rider progresses through the three stages of the program.
- Build: Each rider receives a Royal Enfield 650 Twin — an INT650 for flat trackers, and a Continental GT650 for road racers — which they then transform into a race-ready machine, supported by Royal Enfield themselves and a host of partners that include Parts Unlimited, Öhlins, S&S Performance, Dunlop, and more.
- Train: Royal Enfield mentors help train the ladies in their chosen racing discipline. American Flat Track pro Johnny Lewis of Moto Anatomy is the main mentor for flat track, while MotoAmerica pro and team runner Melissa Paris mentors the road racers.
- Race: The riders then compete in a series of BTR races, racing head to head at AFT and MotoAmerica events.
Today, we’re thrilled to feature the Royal Enfield 650 tracker of BTR racer Alex (Bumpus) McDonald (@abumpmcd), who hails from Tennessee, where her family has been Harley-Davidson dealers for over 35 years.
“Bumpus Harley-Davidson originated in Memphis, TN, and now there are three dealerships spread across the state of Tennessee, as well as a T-shirt and novelty store on the square of Lynchburg, TN.”
As you can imagine, motorcycles have been a part of Alex’s life from the time she was knee-high to a grasshopper:
“I have been riding my own bike since I was 5, so truthfully, I don’t know what a life without two wheels looks like.”
Alex says their Memphis store is also a Royal Enfield dealer, so she’s been following the BTR program since its inception. This was the second year she applied, and she was thrilled to be chosen. As for the build, it was mainly about functionality, with a traditional silhouette that recalls the Springfield Milers of her childhood:
“I wanted to go ‘traditional tracker/ framer look.’ I grew up watching flat track with my family; mostly I remember the Springfield Mile and those bikes were what flat track looked like to me.”
As with so many of the BTR builds, it was truly a team effort. Alex credits Ryan Tapley (@rftapley) of Bumpus H-D’s Murfreesboro location for teaching her the fine art of the grinding wheel, while her friend Pat Fleming of Last Call Racing Co. fabbed up a host of brackets, mounts, spacers, and more. Scott Jones (@noisecycles) lent her invaluable advice, while Cody Hopper (@c.hopper) blew the paint out of the park.
Then there’s the most important team member of all, her husband Josh McDonald (@braapmacky100), a flat track racer himself.
“There is so much to say and thank you for, but we can keep the sappy stuff for at home 😉 ‘Through it all, I do it all for you.'”
One of our favorite parts of the build has to be the nickname, “Pink Lipstick #2,” and the story behind it:
“I guess you could say all of my race bikes are ‘Pink Lipstick #2.’ My first race, about four years ago, I showed up without a number on my number plate. You have to have a number to race, so I grabbed my pink lipstick and drew a number 2 on it. I used that same plate for years and the concept stuck. You will always find me with bright lipstick.”
All in all, this is one stunning build, and Alex got to take it racing for the first time at Round 1 in Daytona. Weather conditions limited the ladies’ pre-race track time to just three laps, but Alex felt good on the bike:
“By the main I felt comfortable, had gearing where I needed to, and felt like I was racing. In my head I keep thinking two more rounds on the track and I could have been more competitive, but all in all, I’m happy with mine and my machine’s performance. I am so looking forward to Odessa.”
Below, we talk to Alex for the full details on the build, and you’ll find more gorgeous shots from her friend and photographer Tyre Grannemann (@visualsbytyre).
Bumpus BTR Tracker: Rider Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and how you got involved with Royal Enfield’s Build. Train. Race. program.
I am Alex (Bumpus) McDonald, 33, from Middle TN, and I’ve grown up in the motorcycle industry. My family have been Harley-Davidson dealers since 1986. Bumpus Harley-Davidson originated in Memphis, TN, and now there are three dealerships spread across the state of Tennessee, as well as a T-shirt and novelty store on the square of Lynchburg, TN.
Our Memphis store is also a dealer for Royal Enfield, so I’ve been familiar with the brand for years and closely followed the Build, Train, Race program. This is the second year I applied, and I was thrilled when Bree Poland, director and mastermind behind the BTR program, called to offer me a spot on the team.
I have been riding my own bike since I was 5, so truthfully, I don’t know what a life without two wheels looks like.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
2021 Royal Enfield Interceptor 650.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
I wanted to go “traditional tracker/ framer look.” I grew up watching flat track with my family; mostly I remember the Springfield Mile and those bikes were what flat track looked like to me. I added in so many pieces for functionality and had to have the most beautiful girly paint on top of performance handling. So I called Cody Hopper (@c.hopper), a talented friend, and told him to surprise me. He blew it out of the park.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Just about everything except the motor is “Custom.” Where should we start?
I became great friends with a grinding wheel, which was quite scary at first, but my cousin and Parts & Service Director at BHD in Murfreesboro, Ryan Tapley (@rftapley), patiently taught me how to handle this job. I cut countless pieces off. My “tank” is actually a shell that holds the battery and lots of wires.
I had a great friend and talented welder, Pat Fleming (@lastcallracingco), make several pieces for me to bolt things to: a custom exhaust bracket, pull back risers, a brake mount, and at least three sets of spacers…. I think I quoted once during the build: “I get by with a little help from my friends.”
• Does the bike have a nickname?
I guess you could say all of my race bikes are “Pink Lipstick #2.” My first race, about four years ago, I showed up without a number on my number plate. You have to have a number to race, so I grabbed my pink lipstick and drew a number 2 on it. I used that same plate for years and the concept stuck. You will always find me with bright lipstick.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride the completed bike?
I’m thrilled to say really well. It didn’t fall apart!!! I’m extremely amateur mechanically, so I was pleased to find out the bike was in fact functional 😊 Since the first round, I’ve been putting in laps at our place and getting comfortable with the bike.
• How did Round 1 at Daytona go?
So many adjectives I could use for round 1! All in all, it was spectacular. We went straight to qualifying with the weather and track conditions, so I literally had to jump on the fresh build, which I was unfamiliar with, and hopefully be my personal best.
We got to ride the track three times, and by the main I felt comfortable, had gearing where I needed to, and felt like I was racing. In my head I keep thinking two more rounds on the track and I could have been more competitive, but all in all, I’m happy with mine and my machine’s performance. I am so looking forward to Odessa.
• Are there any people or sponsors you’d like to thank?
Yes, several and I’ve mentioned a few already. First and foremost, my husband Josh (@braapmacky100). There is so much to say and thank you for, but we can keep the sappy stuff for at home 😉 “Through it all, I do it all for you.”
Both of my parents, Tom and Angie Bumpus, have been so supportive of this challenging endeavor, and have also been incredibly helpful with my babies (Truman 6 and InaMai 4) throughout this process — I never would’ve had this extraordinary life without them and raising me to be fearless in chasing dreams.
Scott Jones (@noisecycles) has been instrumental in terms of advice.
Thank you to my personal sponsors who have supported my racing and lifestyle over the years:
Bumpus Harley-Davidson (@bumpushdmurfreesboro)
Russ Wernimont Designs (@russwernimontdesigns)
Phoenix Handlebars (@phoenixhandlebars)
Della Crew Co (@dellacrewco)
Last Call Racing Co (@lastcallracingco)
Denizen Designs (@denizendesigns)
Durelle Racing (@daveydurelle)
Thank you to all the program sponsors, this bike wouldn’t be possible without these amazing companies.
Royal Enfield (@royalenfield_na)
Parts Unlimited (@parts_unlimited)
American Flat Track (@americanflattrack)
Dunlop tires (@dunlopmoto)
S&S cycle (@sscycle)
Moose Racing (@mooseelite)
Arai Helmets (@araiamericas)
Maxima lubricants (@maximausa)
Boxo tools (@boxousadirect)
AGV sport (@agvsportamerica)
Lowery racing (@lowery_racing)
And I am super thankful to my good buddy Tyre (@visualsbytyre) for documenting this whole process and taking the best pictures of this bike. He has been instrumental in showcasing this beast!!
Follow the Builder / Rider
Alex Bumpus (@abumpmcd)
💋#️⃣2️⃣🏁 #boogerupracing #builtbybumpus #BTR #BuildTrainRace
Photos: Tyre Grannemann (@visualsbytyre)