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Mike Geokan: World's fastest Harley Street Bike. (More Photos)
Rewind the tape back to before you were born and in 1960 Mike was teaching the crew of the late Donald Campbell's Bluebird to play baseball instead of cricket at the Bonneville Salt Flats. The hardworking crew of the Bluebird, the sheer size of the armada of Land Rovers with their power take-offs and the beauty of the immense purpose-built streamliner had a profound impact on Mike. The determination of the British, even after a crash at 580km/h, which sent Donald Campbell to the hospital for a brief stay, inspired Mike to dream. It's no accident that his record setting Harley is called "The Blue Bike".
If you don't know what the Bluebird was or who the hell Sir Malcolm Campbell or Donald Campbell was, exit this page. Mike has been going to Bonneville except when Uncle Sam sent him to Viet Nam to earn a Purple Heart. Mike says Bonneville is pretty tame compared to the time he was awarded a Bronze Star when his tank was sent in to help an outpost that was being overrun. Download a PDF describing the battle. Mike says official history is not exactly correct.
Each year Mike hops on his Shovelhead Dresser and leaves for a few days to remember his friends who did not return from, or maybe wonder why he did return from Viet Nam. Going 199 mph thru the traps leaned over to counter crosswinds in slushy wet salt...all Mike will say is that "it was a handfull"!
For those of you whether you were US (Uniform Sierra), RA (Romeo Alpha), or NG (November Golf) and you got sent on the big bird like Mike did, as did millions of others...For those of you who went with the program, wherever it was...When you get home continue with your dreams like Mike has. Never forget.
LZ Gold, Suoi Tre, Viet Nam. 21 Mar 1967
Mike Geokan far left. Crew of tank 2-5. LZ Gold. Outpost was overrun. Time Magazine reported 80 armored vehicles came to Fire Base Gold. In reality it was just two tanks and two APC's. With Mike firing point blank at enemy troops the crew went through a full load of tank rounds, 50 caliber and 7.62 machine gun rounds, even resorting to using 45 ACP pistols on enemy trying to get on the tanks.
From Mike's unpublished manuscript "ACES of IRON":
"Avias brought us to a stop behind 2-6 as the lieutenant came back on the air. "We're gonna change course here and proceed to Fire Base Gold. Fire Base Gold is an artillery position with infantry support. They've been under attack since daybreak." He paused for a second. "they've been overrun twice, they can't hold again,...." his voice trailed off.
The words took a second to sink in. Charlie had overrun one of our artillery positions! It would take hundreds of VC to do such a thing! The lieutenant continued, "...the attacking force is the suspected 272 VC regiment that has been operating in this area!!!."
A regiment! A fucking regiment! That's a couple of thousand VC ar least! Fear grabbed at my insides. My mouth suddenly felt too dry to speak. The movement of 2-6 in front of us brought me back to reality. The tank began to bear off to the right, picking up speed.
I keyed my headset to the intercom, "Okay, let's go. Follow 2-6." I glanced at Wallass beside me in the loader's hatch. His face was white and tense. The jungle thinned. We moved faster, thundering through the trees, working our way closer to the beseiged fire base.
The panic started again. I took a couple of gulps of air, fighting it, and something sort of went click. The fear washed away, and I wasn't afraid anymore. I knew, like we all knew, that we had less than a snowball's chance in hell of lasting any time at all if the VC had overrun the perimeter twice. They'd captured the 105's, and that would be waiting for us when we got there."
"Thought you may like to forward a couple of pictures that were taken at our annual reunion last June. My Company, A/2/12 arrived at FSB GOLD 15 minutes before the Mech arrived. Just wanted to show you a photo of the attendees. Some are alive today because of the mech's arrival to help us out in defeating the enemy that day. The first picture shows all the attendees, the second shows four men who were part of the artillery unit that was and we came to their aid that morning 41 years ago. All 4 received Silver Stars for their actions that day. Pass on our thanks to Mike." Bill Comeau, President Alpha Association, A/2/12, 1966-67.
Mike Geokan... Before Bonneville
Easy Rider Movie, No Peter Fonda, no Dennis Hopper....Mike Geokan and
his 21-over Panhead, back from Viet Nam with two Bronze Stars for Valor
and Purple Heart and an attitude with a short fuse. There's only two
kinds of soldiers as they say..."The quick and the dead". Back from
Viet Nam, head to the roughest bars with an Indian primary chain for a
belt, cum equalizer, and a cold-eyed stare of one who's seen shit and
came out the other side.
Turbo Harley Motors
Mike builds motorcycle racing frames and Carl Pelletier builds race motors. Put the two together and you get a water cooled 275 hp, Intercooled, Fuel-Injected Street/Show/Bonneville Sled. Probably 48 passes on Bonneville's long course, 18 to 24 lbs boost, over 250 miles with no melt downs, no explosions and a handful of Bonneville Land Speed Records. Specifications developed on Mike's 104" motors have been transferred over to the new S&S Special Application based 113/126/132/139" ORCA Turbo motors. Special valves and camshafts not to mention sophisticated head and base gasket seals and some very strong forged pistons. When the bike isn't at Bonneville it's winning custom shows and Mike even hangs on a license plate and cruises his home streets of Boise, Idaho with his club members of Brother Speed.
Harley-Davidson and the Marlboro Man
Mike Geokan stole the exhaust flanges off of Mickey Rourke's movie bike when we built his Blue Bike turbo system. We made three sets of pipes for the movie bike: a set of megaphones, some 1 1/2" primary duals (for the movie), and a set of 2" duals after the movie was shot. The bike was sitting there and Mike needed the flanges. Oh yeah, the 1 1/2" primaries didn't work worth a shit but they did "crackle".
Mike and his record setting RSR Fuel Injected Turbo Harley at Bonneville. If you've never seen the stark, surreal landscape of the Bonneville Salt Flats, this is your chance.
Feeling he's accomplished his goal of a 200 mph street bike, his new project is a 250 mph sit-up Harley appropriately called "The Bullet". Given his multi-decade love affair with the salt, Mike is going to emulate Sir Malcom Campbell as his new bike is skinned in aluminum like the Bluebird and appropriately enough the aluminum comes from auxiliary fuel tanks used on fighter aircraft that went to Viet Nam. If you'd like to contact Mike and help out financially with his new bike he'd sure like to hear from you... 1 (208) 323-8184. To contact the only professional Harley engine builder that understands high output turbos contact: Carl Pelletier, Competition Motorcycles, Boise, Idaho. Carl spent his time in the salt mines learning how to make 100+ inch big twins survive endless six mile long dyno pulls on the long course and his RSR fuel-injected turbo Sportster has been running for nine years, now serving duty as pit/tow bike for his nitro burning 4 cam drag bike. Carl will be happy to build a motor for you, just don't expect to call him up for endless advice so you can do it...It's cheaper to let the professional do it for you!
The Bullett...1992 to present
99 inch wheelbase. 36" tall, 22" wide. 300mph certified Bonneville 15" tires. 139c.i.( 4.375" x 4.625") ORCA Turbo motor. RSR Fuel Injected Pro Gas 500hp rated Turbo running on gasoline. Inter cooled with water injection. We will be testing new items like special McClure connecting rods and ignition systems and some things we can't talk about. Since weight is not a major factor at Bonneville Mike has even added a power seat so he can drive around the pits and then power it to a more comfortable position for his 250mph runs! Individual sponsorships are available for $2,500.00 each. If you have trouble with decimal places the amount is $25,000.00. Mike is going to wear his Brother Speed Leathers no matter how much money you have or how sweet you are...some things aren't for sale.
Every dollar helps (click on Picture)
You need help on projects like these and whether it's the girls at the Torch Lounge, your fellow club members at Brother Speed, or hands-on people like Carl and Brian, you just can't fly alone. It's always about the people. You can't talk to the walls when it's over with and when you go home you need people who care about you and the risks you've taken. Everyone has to lay it on the line whether it's g-strings, torque wrenches or welding torches. The road to glory is paved by pain and sacrifice and those who aren't around at closing time never know the meaning of brotherhood.
Salina, pictured on Mike's bike has lent her support to Mike's effort. To quote another Bonneville racer "...and nice ladies around is a big help." -Burt Munro
Construction of the Bonneville Bullett (click on Picture)
Details of what it takes to make a Bonneville Bullett to slay the Salt Dragon have been posted to give you an idea of what it takes to build a 250 mph, turbocharged, 139 cubic inch ORCA S&S Cycle powered big twin. Follow the genesis of an idea and see what what happens when you actually decide to act on it. We all get brave after a few drinks around midnight...then when morning comes we sort of forget about all the talk. If you decide to "walk the talk" come along with Mike and feel the joy of skinned knuckles, endless hours of planning, and a bank account that vanishes quicker than does your guests when the bill comes. This one has legs long enough to wrap around you and squeeze you to death, but God it will be glorious!
Final chassis construction was completed in late 2006 for the new competition schedule. Extensive press coverage including Speedvision. Contact Mike Geokan (208) 323-8184 to participate in this 250mph "Bullet", Mike's new Bonneville Racer/Show Bike. Take a look at the aluminum bodywork and see your business' name on what will become the fastest sit-up Harley in the world! Come to Bonneville and help crew the Bullet and see why you should get off your salt-free diet. Remember, Wells is less than an hour's drive away. Budweiser, Coors, Jack Daniel's call collect!
Update Bonneville 2007/2008
2006 was pretty wet and not the ideal conditions to debut the Bullett. Several people went "down" in the wet conditions. It makes no difeerence...Mike would not have run under the conditions and we weren't completely ready. Mike has taken the time to disassemble everything for final powder coating and Carl Pelletier was constructing a second, engine only, facility away from his service shop so the engine wasn't ready. Everything takes time.
Mike Geokan is about ready for his assault on Bonneville with a 139" ORCA Turbo motor in the Bullet to run in both the fuel and gas classes. New RSR ECU's that allow the running of dual fuel strategies will be employed. Mike has finished construction of the stainless steel gas, oil, and water tanks and finished the bodywork. The 400 mph tires got weathered during the construction of the Bullet and will be replaced before Mike starts testing.
We've posted pictures such as these new watercooled cylinders as Mike takes the time to put down the tools and torches and grabs a camera. Never give up never surrender...follow your dreams.
Know What You're Getting Into...
In the early 1980's Mike Geokan built the famous #226 "Blue Bike"...Blue because he had met Donald Campbell in the early 1960's when he crashed his Bluebird streamliner at Bonneville. Bonneville is all about tradition. Big iron, big dreams, big speed. First it was with Nitrous Oxide, wide-open bellowing pipes and holed pistons and runs in the 180's. One time Carl Pelletier even welded a holed piston shut with a mig welder at the Salt Flats to get Mike his record.
Next for the "Blue Bike" was a custom intercooled, fuel-injected, water-injected RB Racing Turbo and some custom water jackets fabricated by Carl Pelletier and an upgraded 104" engine. Battling wet salt, electronic gremlins, high winds and taking house payments to pay entry fees, Mike put the turbo bike into the record books. Bonneville wasn't always friendly to motorcyclists and patch holding bikers were definitely not part of the tradition. Mike got respect by having innovative equipment and running well. Essentially a low compression chopper with a fairing that ran high 190's time after time on wet salt...Then the Carrillo Rods snapped and destroyed the 104 inch engine. Time to reevaluate.
Mike started work on the Bullett in 1992 and finally retired the #226 bike in 1998. The Bullett was designed to be a pure Bonneville bike and not based a modified street frame. He designed the frame and he and fellow Brother Speed member Bryan Stock built the frame in Mike's shop. Carl Pelletier machined the custom triple clamps and the jackshaft assembly. Carl left the project to go drag racing. In 2003 decisions were made on the engine and the frame was raised to accept a 1" taller engine. The final decision was to build a 4 3/8" Bore x 4 5/8" stroke motor...and after two years of wrangling with S&S and tens of thousands of dollars later the RB Racing spec'ed 139" ORCA engine parts were delivered to Carl Pelletier of Competition Motorcycles for final assembly. Carl supplied the 8" Nitro rods and the special wet primary /dry clutch assembly.
Many firms were involved: S&S Cycles (Steve Rominski), CP Pistons, John O'Keefe of Branch O'Keefe (porting), Ferrea Valves, Jims USA (transmission), Compufire (3 phase charging system) and specialized components from RB Racing. Everything was paid for. The bike carries no stickers. Mike worked practically non-stop for 5 years working out the final details.
In 2008 the Bullett made it to Speed Week where Mike got the bike sideways and ended up shattering his collar bone...16 years after he started the project. Another rider took the bike down the course for two test runs under 100 mph and the bike was returned to Boise. An attempt was made to return to the October 2008 World Finals but the event was rained out.
In 2009 the Bullet returned for testing at the Bub Meet. Bryan Stock succesfully took the bike down the 2 mile course twice in third gear with a test speed of 183 mph. Returning to the 2009 SCTA-BNI World Finals Bryan got his licenses for 125,150 and 175+ mph. The Bike and Bryan are now qualified for long course and 200+ mph in 2010.
Some numbers for all the people involved: 17 years of Mike's labor. Many tens of thousands of dollars (don't ask, we don't want to know), 55,500 miles of vehicle operation by crew, suppliers and support personnel from Brother Speed. Unknown quantities beer, Gatorade, Casino food, and controlled substances. After all of this you are allowed to go to the long course.
In early 2009 Mike was hit by a driver that ran a red light while riding his street FXR "Evil Twin" bike and nearly died. He is recovering and will be with the Bullet in 2011. Dreams never die. Those who dare to carry out their dreams allow us to go along with them. Know what you're getting into. This is serious business. Consequences for all involved.
In 2010 The Bullett returned for both
the USFRA World of Speed and the SCTA-BNI World Finals with several test runs over 200
mph. One run was 212 mph with only 9 pounds of boost. There was a fuel
starvation issue that turned out to be a partially clogged fuel filter.
Stainless debris was hiding inside the corners of the fuel tank which
restricted the fuel flow damaging the Bullett's pistons. Conditions
were wet and soft. The engine had to come apart for new pistons.
In 2011 at the USFRA World of Speed Mike Geokan made it to Bonneville to see his bike get a 200 mph record 20 years after he started building it. Here Mike, in his Brother Speed T-Shirt, is discussing the Bullett's journey and tank warfare in Viet Nam with two other Army veterans. Never give up. Bryan Stock suited up to take the Bullett down the course.
After the 2011 record was set the bike was torn down for a refreshened 139 Orca motor and the installation of all new Cosworth Pectel SQ6M electronics. The weather and salt conditions have prevented the return of the Bullett through the 2015 season.