If you haven’t heard of Jody Perewitz – you’re about to meet your newest girl crush. Jody works at Perewitz Cycle Fab – a family-owned custom motorcycle shop just outside of Boston – but she’s also a land speed record holder and is attempting to be the first woman to complete the Motorcycle Cannonball. While other women have taken part in the endurance race, a woman has yet to conquer the full mileage. (Did I mention she’s a talented painter too?)
How did you get into riding motorcycles?
Sometimes I think I was born on two wheels. Motorcycles are a part of my family business so I have always been around two wheels, but it was really my older brother Jesse who got me into bikes. Whatever Jesse did, I wanted to do. I have always loved two wheels and machines! I truly eat, sleep, and breathe two wheels.
Who are your inspirations?
My dad! He has a passion for two wheels. To be able to say you have been in the same industry for over 40 years and you haven’t become a millionaire (at least not yet) and don’t have a retirement, but you still come to work everyday, that’s an inspiration.
What kind of bike do you ride on the street?
What do I ride on the street? Well, I have a few bikes that I like to ride. I have a 63 Panhead that I love, but when I don’t feel like kicking it I ride either my FXR or my Dyna. Both of them handle great and have some power.
What inspired you to make the move from custom motorcycles to land speed attempts?
The Bonneville Salt Flats was a place that my father had never been. He has traveled all over the world but never been to the salt flats. So I gave him a trip to the salt for a Christmas present and he said, “Well if we are going to go we can’t go out there and not race!” And the rest is history.
We fortunately have a lot of friends who guided us about racing on the salt. Racing was not something that we or myself had done. This was new territory for us. But we put both feet into it and gave it our all.
What kind of bike do you ride on the salt flats?
My first bike was a 100ci v-twin with a super charger on it. That was the bike that I became the first woman to go over 200 mph on an American motorcycle on.
My current bike is a 120ci v-twin with a turbo. This bike is a beast! It has over 315 horsepower! It does not like to go slow.
Both bikes have Baker 5-speed transmissions and partial streamline bodies.
What has your experience been as one of the few women on the salt flats?
I love the salt family! It doesn’t matter if you are male, female, slow, fast, young, old – everyone out there is going for the same thing, to set a record. Everyone is helpful and generous out at Bonneville. I hope that I can push more women to get into land speed racing or even just racing in general.
What’s the next goal for you when it comes to speed?
My next goal actually isn’t speed, but rather distance. I will be competing in the Cannonball Endurance Race. My goal is to be the first female to complete all the miles. As for land speed, when we get back out to the salt I would like to go 220 mph…
What will you be riding for your Cannonball attempt?
I will be riding a 1927 Harley Davidson JD.
What got you interested in being the first woman to complete the Cannonball?
The cannonball has been on my bucket list for a long time. I want to ride across country, not on just a regular bike but on a 90+ year old bike!
How are you preparing?
Yikes, preparation began a couple of months ago. This is a venture that I have to prepare for mentally, physically, economically, and mechanically. I have been going to the gym 5-6 days a week, trying to build muscle and stamina. I am also going to fundraise to help with the cost of this venture. When I get the bike in our shop in the next month I will start to learn everything about the bike mechanically as well as putting several miles on the bike to learn exactly how it moves.
How can we watch your progress?
Any words of advice for other women attempting to achieve big goals in the motorcycling world?
I want to let women and girls know that your dreams are never too big! Make your dream a passion and pursue it. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. We can do anything!
Do you wake up every morning like “holy shit – I’m a land speed record holder”?
Ha, no not really… I wake up thinking, “What can I accomplish today?”