Bonneville Speed Week 2011
at Bonneville for the 2011 SCTA-BNI Speed Week. Shovelhead, Evo, and
Twin Cam were ridden to Wendover and a Knucklehead was trailered.
Pop-Up tents are pretty much the norm. Here we take the Bullett out of its Haulmark trailer and onto the small trailer we take the bike to the line and also to trailer the bike back from each run.
helmet is inspected for the latest Snell certification. Most of the
inspectors are racers themselves. You have to have all safety gear
inspected as well as the bike itself. Let's see..there are orange hats and black hats.
in the motorcycle inspection station, the Bullett passed with flying
colors. They are very strict. The Bullett, because it has run over 200
mph, must be inspected by two officials. It's 300 mph tires are the
only tires certified for over 200 mph.
We get a lot of
..."It's you guys...again!!"...Something about how we were afoul of
something here and there in the past like running 110 mph on the return
road or getting red flagged for not getting completely off the
course...or maybe it was because we all show up dressed in black in the
sweltering heat and sort of stand out.
Unload at Staging Lanes
with four race tracks you have to do a lot of waiting as there might be
600+ vehicles entered. Here, as we get near the start, we take the
Bullett off of the trailer. It's about the only place that the bike is
happy...She's a bitch everywhere else. 1000 lbs of knuckle-busting
money-sucking uncooperative metal. He she is calm.
try to have some fun when we get near the start line. Some people want
their pictures taken by the Bullett...others wish us luck...and a lot
of photojournalists ask us to get out of the way while they compose or
take shots. It gets serious when the starter says go however. Women like bikers and vice versa.
Bullett on the start line next to a nitro burning, twin MSD Magneto,
roadster. They asked everyone to stand back when the car was started in
case of an explosion. There are rules but not many...no one asks you to
go behind a blast barrier...there aren't any. Smell the fumes...Nitro
in the morning. Shake the Salt.
Official Starter will give you your final instructions as to who goes
when. Here Dean is asking us if we're ready to rumble. That's an
it's damn hot and, in black leathers, Bryan heats up fast. An umbrella
is a good idea. Green vests are photo journalists and freelancers.
You're headed out on a weekend run and get run into by a truck in the
middle of town and end up with titanium plates and screws holding your
arm together, a crushed kneecap and a badly mangled leg and foot...and
you still come to Bonneville to help out. Blaine.
After a 199 mph pass on wet track, the Bullett sits in impound awaiting the return run for record. The exhaust burn is seen on the fairing. The plugs looked a bit rich, the boost was low, and the EGTs were showing 1530F or so, so things were safe. You have exactly four hours to do maintenance.
You go back to impound in the morning at 5:30 to 6:00 AM and leave with the other racers at 7 AM for the return run in the same direction as your qualifying run.
Headed down the course Bryan hit a bump that shook the Bullett and snapped the primary chain. Bryan was hitting 15 pounds of boost, launched the bike over a bump, and saw the horizon go left to right and suddenly..."bang"...and no power transmission. We got really lucky, as the primary was neatly coiled up behind the inspection cover like a snake, and could have damaged the bike or put Bryan down. Shit happens.
Brother Speed drove a new primary chain and shoe in from Salt Lake City on the Road Glide Express and couple of hours later we were back in business. It does help to have 150 psi compressor that worked as long as Scott held the automatic throttle open on the Honda generator...whatever it takes. No air tools...no fixy primary.
Once you get to the line the man in charge is God..he tells you when to start, when to go and will check your girth to see if it matches his. He keeps and eagle eye on your safety gear and advises you of course conditions and, in general, tries to keep a serious business somewhat light, if going 200 mph on slippery wet salt is a normal occupation.
When the combined the officials have more time on the salt that you've been around you'd better listen. They joke around with the bikers asking if we have any knives or guns and if we have any beer left over. When they say start we start. When they say go we go.
Take a 203 MPH ride with Bryan
A video camera on board records a
run down the Bonneville Salt Flats. The black markers are quarter miles
and the orange markers are mile markers. You can see the front tire
through an opening in the fairing. At the end of the run Bryan turns
left off of the course. The debris coming off the front tire is chunks
of soft salt being picked up by the front tire.
Headed for record run again after another 193- 202 mph pass on wet slushy salt... Back at the line Frank, Jesse, Scott, Blaine, Bryan, Nick, Mark and Walt...Every vehicle has a crew. This isn't Formula 1 where you need 100 million dollars and a FOCA pass. We're up on the line with racers like Poteet and Main and Seth Hammond. Long course with the big dogs and Bryan qualified for 200 mph plus speeds. 1000 lbs of bike, wet salt, 320 hp @ 15 psi, and a crew of volunteers. Black and Gold and full throttle.
Conditions weren't the best and we damaged a turbo running at 187 mph @ 12 psi of boost @ 4350 rpm on our second record run. A bit of debris damaged the turbine blades and took out the turbo. There was no way we were going to run 230 plus mph under these conditions so we viewed it as more of a test. We ran up to 15 psi and 320 hp with EGTs in the 1500F range and the bike ran cleanly off the line and idled @ 1200 rpm with 1600cc injectors. When conditions are better we'll try to hook up the tire at 320 hp and, if that works, we'll up the power to 500hp.
Pete Hill...Top Fuel Champion
the former 5 time Top Fuel Champion on his supercharged Knucklehead,
stopped by our pits during Speed Week with his wife Jackie to look at
the Bullett and talk racing. We spent about an hour talking racing and
technical issues all the way from supercharged Knuckleheads to the
Turbocharged single cam Bullett. We didn't know it, but Pete and
Jackie had visted Bonneville 7 times. Pete Hill is a true life hero to
Bryan Stock and Mike Geokan. He's a racer's racer.
After the crew got home we sent some pictures to Pete and Jackie. Here's a link to a video of Pete and Jackie and the supercharged Knucklehead.
Pete Hill's supercharged Knucklehead...at home in his shop. Talk about
having to figure things out on your own. If you've ever been involved
in building race bikes from scratch like we have and like Mike Geokan
has you'll have an appeciation of the years of work involved. While
everyone else was salting away their investments we were sharpening our
pikes to slay windmills. No store bought parts and no one to turn to
for advice...never is when you are out front.
New Debris Catcher
from the Salt we fabricated a new debris catcher from an 8" Kitchen
strainer. You pretty much have to make everything as the bike is so
unique. The Bullett is so densely packed there was little lateral room
for any type of commercial air filter or snorkel. In order to avoid
further $800.00 wheel damage we welded up a stainless steel backing
plate that bolts flush with and directly to the left side 3/4" wide
machined clamping block that holds the compressor inlet.
is bolted solidly to the chassis from both sides and the stainless
steel exhaust manifold has two slip joints and is just there to conduct
the exhaust to the turbocharger without any "support" function. We also
added a turbo timer to allow the turbo to receive oil from the turbo
dry sump when the engine is shut down. The Ball Bearing turbo will spin
for over a minute after shut down.
Ken Dutweiller...the turbo engine guy who gives George Poteet and Ron Main the power to snap drivetrain components.
This is the one that took the long standing...1970's Summers Brothers Goldenrod record. It was that tough.
have fins and streamliners have fins..Here you have essentially a
dragster that has found a new life on the Salt. No asphalt this time,
only we salt with about as much traction as a dirt road.
Hauling ass ...and the groceries...Run whatcha brung.
Leaving Bonneville and on the way back through Nevada we convoyed two trucks, two cars, and two motorcycles to Wells, Nevada where we gassed up and headed to the town of Jackpot, which was the next gas stop for the bikes and just shy of the Idaho border. Midway between Wells and Jackpot the last car in our convoy, an older Chevy sedan, was stopped by the Nevada Highway Patrol. The reason for the stop was completely unclear...we suspect it was simply profiling an older car instead of a shiny new truck.
Our two crew members were arrested for possessing drugs without a prescription and hauled away to the Elko Jail and their car towed back to Wells. We had to bail them out and pay the impound and tow fees.
The charge of
possessing drugs without a prescription was completely
bogus. The drugs and prescriptions were completely legal. One
individual is a 100% disabled Viet Nam Marine who served in I Corps and
had VA prescription drugs. The second individual also had legal
prescription drugs for prostate and stomach issues and was put in restraints at a hospital in Elko and
was forced to give a blood sample. Emphasize "forced".
On release from jail and arrival at Jackpot the Nevada Highway Patrol was waiting again and attempted to arrest and search the same vehicle again and would give no reason for the stop. It was clear the officer had been instructed to stop the car again. We had tailed the car and intercepted the officer before he could exit his cruiser and demanded to know why he had stopped the Chevy. He refused to explain why he stopped the vehicle and later gave conflicting explanations. Things like " a license plate light was out"...it was still daylight. After some serious discussions about honor, truth, and justice in a place with none, we ended up getting on our way later on without a second trip to Elko.
Interesting note: In the
Elko jail they have a niftyATM-like machine you can post your bail in.
A Spanish family fed it $1500.00 as we watched. Another girl was there,
just released and awaiting the release of her boyfriend...sort of a
coincidence that their bail equaled the amount of cash they had on
hand...$2,000.00. They were stopped for going 74 in a 70 mph zone and a
drug dog found some pot in their car. Imagine that...Drug dogs on call
in the desert. Business is booming in Elko.
Be aware when you are on
the road between Wells Nevada and Jackpot Nevada. It's up to some high
priced attorneys now to get the charges dropped. It seems to be a large
source for revenue for the locals in an economy that has tanked. There
is a specific reason for the large number of Bail Bond establishments
in one small town. Pure luck we weren't fleeced in prevous trips. The
Bail Bonds person stated the Highway Patrol uses any pretense to stop
and search vehicles.