The swimming pool at the Broken Spoke Campground looked even more inviting than usual. Thursday, August 6, was the Editor’s Choice Bike Show, Sturgis edition, and an alluring array of motorcycles was arranged along the northern end of the pool, featuring everything from sleek, brand-new customs to chopped-down, road-weary motorbikes. But the one that caught our collective eye was the impeccable, beautifully-finished 1980 Shovelhead built by Patrick T., proprietor of Green Devil Garage in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Like a glittering jewel, the stunning bobber sparkled in the afternoon sunshine, with the intriguing paint design calling for a closer look. The bike’s moniker is Extortion 17, named after the call sign for the American military helicopter shot down in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011. Out of the 31 heroes lost that day, 17 were from Navy SEAL Team 6. The SEAL Future Fund, whose mission is to provide resources to equip active-duty and veteran Navy SEALS for success in the civilian world, funded the build and Patrick, a veteran himself, jumped at the chance to honor his fellow soldiers.
The ’80 Shovelhead motor is cradled by a stock swingarm frame with a welded-on hardtail section. It’s got a BAKER Drivetrain 6-into-4 transmission, BAKER kicker and a BAKER tin-type primary, one of the remakes of the old-school primaries on Panheads and earlier Shovels. Carburetion duties on the 80 c.i. motor are handled by an S&S Super E. The front end is a Paughco springer, the handlebars, grips and throttle housing are manufactured by Biltwell, and JayBrake made the controls and brakes.
The rear fender came from Jeff Cochran of Speed King and Patrick made the struts. Holding the gasoline is a Sporty peanut tank that he modified to make it fit a little bit better by moving the tabs and moving the fill port location from a bottom feed to a side feed. Some parts, like the petcock, seat springs and taillight, came from Drag Specialties. The oil tank/battery box is from Kurt Owens of Anything Goes 74 parts fabricators in Mulberry, Indiana. Kurt’s wife, who’s with Butt Skins, also out of Mulberry, made the seat. Patrick says, “They do all my saddles like that; it’s all hand tooling. They do an incredible job.” There are other nice touches on the bike, such as the top motor mount, handmade by Patrick, that has the ignition integrated into it. He explained, “I tried to build it so it looks like it came from the factory. That was my biggest thing, to make the bike look almost store-bought. It’s flashy, it looks great, it’s built to ride but it’s just a clean bike.”
Patrick already had a set of wheels in his shop, and the standard 21” front and 16” rear sizes complement the bike’s geometry nicely. Performance Machine brakes are in front and the rear wheel sports a Hawg Halters sprotor setup. The exhaust is all hand built: “I am very, very OCD,” says Patrick. “I think I made that exhaust three different times. And I made the hanger coming off the transmission to hide it, and any builder will look at it and think it’s pretty neat. Everything kind of flows. I try to think outside the box and make things look like they belong there.”
The deluxe paint work was done by Joe Hill from Dog House Design in Virginia Beach and Igor from Igor’s Custom Signs and Stripes, also in Virginia Beach. Patrick comments, “I’m very fortunate in having an awesome, awesome team down there.” The gold-leaf designs on the side of the tank and rear fender are made to look like shoulder armor. “My vision when I started nerding out and thinking about doing this motorcycle was I wanted it to look like a Knights Templar horse just comin’ in.” All the pin striping is gold leaf, a red crusader symbol is painted on the top panel of the gas tank, and the seat is embossed with a crusader symbol as well.
On one side of the oil tank is painted “8-6-11” and “31 Heroes Project” encircled by the words “Long Live the Brotherhood.” On the other side of the oil tank are 31 sets of initials surrounding the SEAL Future Fund logo. Each set of initials represents each lost hero, even the working dog, killed in the helicopter attack.
The Extortion 17 bike was built specifically to be put up for auction, and the proceeds are going to the Travis Manion Foundation which conducts Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) research. The SEAL Future Fund teamed up with the 31Heroes Project to organize the inaugural One Team Memorial Ride that took place in Virginia Beach this past September (see the November 2015 issue of Thunder Press). The mission of the 31Heroes Project is to raise funds to support the families of Extortion 17 and to honor their legacy by funding treatment of TBI/PTSD. After the One Team ride, the bike was auctioned for $30,000, a great price for the winner and well below its true value.
Prior to building the Extortion 17 bike, Patrick had designed and built two custom bobbers—clearly the style he prefers—for previous rides that also benefitted the Travis Manion Foundation. In fact, Patrick has been involved in motorcycling for years, starting with his first ride on a 50cc dirt bike when he was nine. He “graduated” to street bikes when he rode his father’s Honda Rebel 250 at about 15, acquiring the first bike of his own, a Kawasaki Ninja 636, when he was 18 or 19 and just entering the military. His first Harley was a 2008 Night Train that he sold a few years ago. He now owns a ’55 Panhead that he rebuilt but still needs to drop into a frame. He also owns a ’69 Shovel, a ’77 FXE and the 2013 Dyna that he was riding around Sturgis. Patrick laughs, “I think I probably have more; I don’t even know.”
Patrick grew up not having a lot of resources, so he pretty much had to fix anything that was broken. “Or,” as he explains, “if I wanted it, it was more likely broken and I had to make it work.” So he got into making things. When he came back from his last deployment the realization hit that “I just don’t sit still very well,” so he started working for Dennis McKee at Birdneck Cycles in Virginia Beach. Patrick says, “I would not be near the builder I am today without that guy. Dennis has forgotten more about motorcycles than most people will ever know. He’s incredible.” Patrick was with Dennis for about six months. “He’s an older fella, so he just kind of likes to sit around all day and not do much, and I was bringing a lot of work in. And if you know Dennis, he’s probably the grumpiest nice person I’ve ever met. He said, ‘Make me too damn busy. Get your own shop; get out of here.’ So I went and started working out of my garage, my back yard, and one day I pulled a bunch of fuel out of a bike and I left it under a light switch, never thinking about it. It shorted out and fell onto the high-test gas and burned my whole shed down. No bikes were hurt, but I had my ’55 Pan frame in there. It got heated pretty good, but that’s when they made stuff well. So it was still good to go.” Patrick had grown out of his garage anyway, so he built another shop, a bigger one, where he was running two lifts. Now his Virginia Beach shop, Green Devil Garage, is 3,000 sq. ft. and runs four bike lifts, a car lift and “all sorts of other stuff.”
It’s only been two or three years since Patrick started working on bikes professionally, but he maintains, “With Dennis, I’ve grown very, very fast. In the military, lessons are learned like drinking through a fire hose, and if you can’t keep up, you’re gone. We know how to learn well and we pick things up very, very quickly.”
And Patrick’s future plans? “Just gonna keep growing, I guess.”