Bub 2009 / USFRA 2009 / World Finals 2009

Back at Bonneville at the Bub Meet (AMA/FIM only) in August 2009. Go through tech inspection again, this time under AMA rules. They wanted bigger holes in the front wheel but passed the bike for competition anyway...It took several AMA officials to make the decision even though the Bullett has passed two SCTA-BNI technical inspections. Now it has passed three.

The senior FIM technical inspector came to our pits to express his admiration for the bike's design and craftsmanship.

Wayne and Donna Pingel of Pingel Enterprise came by our pits and gave us an updated controller for our Pingel Electric shifter.

Garmin GPS

We mounted our Garmin GPS receiver in a machined cup on the Bullett's tail. It's held in place by an internal bolt and then Siliconed into place with the wires passing through a rubber grommet.

Cockpit instrumentation and rider's chest and chin pad. Bryan Stock gets the front row seat.

Bryan Stock...Brother Speed

While Mike Geokan is recovering Bryan Stock steps up to the plate and prepares to ride the bike for the first time.

Wet Salt...

When you hit the salt at the end of the access road, and you see puddles, you just know the course is going to be wet. If you don't know this, all you are thinking about is "My beautiful truck is going to corrode"...Everything corrodes that goes to Bonneville, including your bank account. Experienced salt racers only think about the course conditions.

Like during Speed Week 2009, early in the week, the salt was wet and traction was a problem. The salt was in no condition for the heavy Streamliner Iron like the Ack Attack Dual engined Hayabusa-powered 360 mph streamliner which was at the Bub Meet for display purposes.

Going to Work

If you are going to race motorcycles at Bonneville and you are Hard Core then you ride to Bonneville...Let the crew drive the trucks and trailers. In return, you get to drive to work each morning, wrench on the bike, put on your leathers and get the job done. Bryan Stock.

It's a unique experience to ride across the big white pool table...just watch out for the soft, wet, dark spots or you'll be mixing salt and road rash...And remember when you cross back into Nevada, the helmets go back on. Bryan's son Nick...he first came to Bonneville 18 years ago. Now he gets to ride with his dad on the big white pool table.

Sam Wheeler's Old Norton

Gearbox/Clutch/Shifting Issues

Ready for a test run the crew decided to abort and check on a possible issue noted earlier. There is no shade at Bonneville. Bring your own.

The Bonneville Bullett was hard shifting into first, and neutral was getting next to impossible to find, so the crew checked the mechanical shifting mechanism, the electric shifter, the clutch, and the gearbox itself. It turned out that an outboard support bearing alignment issue had caused a bearing race to overheat and push inward to the main output shaft. Symptoms were noted at the 2008 Speed Week where shifting and finding neutral were difficult but the case was not determined at that time.

The gearbox was disassembled and other parts ordered. Carl Pelletier of Competition Motorcycles in Boise had transmission parts and special tools red labeled into Wendover. Brother Speed members drove the transmission parts in from Salt Lake City. Whatever it takes.

Re-machining the outboard support bearing would have to wait. Wayne Pingel suggested an updated ball bearing output shaft clutch basket bearing assembly from Baker Powertrain. This would not seal properly on our wet primary/dry sintered iron clutch assembly however.

Cover removed to inspect the shifting forks.

Bryan disassembles the clutch to find out why shifting was difficult and why neutral became increasingly difficult to locate. Ponytails only type of work...Walt and Bryan

Clutch disassembled and root cause discovered...The binding of the clutch output support bearing had caused the main transmission bearing race to weld itself to the transmission output shaft. Bryan had to grind off the bearing race to remove the clutch trap door, the gears, and the output shaft. This failure is normally seen in dragster engines where the transmission output shaft bends and causes bearing failure. In addition, one of the shifter forks was tweaked, perhaps during the 2008 Speed Week.

The misalignment of the output bearing support will be remachined after the bike gets back to Boise. It's a simple fix.

It helps to have a workbench in your trailer with a generator, electrical outlets, and compressed air. Sooner or later people find you have a Heliarc and you get to weld broken exhausts, shifters and the like.

Jerry Branch...Harley Legend

Jerry Branch, 85 years young, is a Bonneville regular and stopped by our pits to film the Bullett and check out the technical details. Jerry thought it was a beautiful piece of engineering and, better than most people, knew the amount of hours it took to make it. Jerry had previously seen our highly modified S&S SA B2 heads ported by John O'Keefe of Branch O'Keefe and had offered advice on port flows for the highly modified 139" engine.

Besides Jet Skiing, scuba diving and flying ultralights, Jerry also makes and edits movies.

FYI the engine is known as "CA2" for very special reasons.

Gearbox Fixed, Run #2

Bub official explaining the starting and course procedures to Bryan. Walt brought his diesel Ford Truck so Byan could sit in an air conditioned seat prior to his run. It's hot enough without being zipped into a set of black leathers.

Run #2: Better Course Conditions...170 mph 3rd Gear

Bryan leaves the line on a 170 mph short course (2 to 3 miles) cruise in third gear @ 170 mph with maybe 2 psi of boost. Two more gears, 23 pounds more boost and another 300 horsepower left to go. The bike went straight and Bryan pulled a "U-Turn" and drove the Bullett back to the pits right past the trailer we were going to pick him up with. At SCTA-BNI events you have to trailer the bike back.

Bryan says the bike is hard to hold back and he was using almost no throttle in 3rd gear and the bike tracked straight and the motor was quiet and smooth at speed. Bryan did a coast test by clutching the bike and it hardly slowed showing the bike was very slippery.

Bryan getting ready to leave and up his speed a bit. We were at Bub to familiarize Bryan with the bike and to sort out the bike itself. The Bullett was entered on the "Run What You Brung" Short Course which is only a total of three miles.

Check out the salt build-up on the Bullett's rear tire...None. Back from a 170 mph third gear pass the Bullett's rear tire is clear of salt build-up indicating traction was better than earlier in the event. Bryan thought the course was smooth for the first two miles and then it got a bit bumpy. It also got interesting because just before the timing lights the zipper on his leathers opened and he became a human air brake. Another experience you can file away in your Bonneville portfolio.

Many people came by the pits to check out the Bullett on it's return, especially when they saw Bryan drive it back to the pits.

Run #3: 183 MPH...Bryan Drives Bullett Back to pits

After the gearbox was fixed Bryan made a third run and upped the rpm a bit. The course was too short for the Bullett to stretch it's legs but it did reach a peak speed of 183 mph somewhere on the course on the GPS and the bike ran straight and stable...and on this run Bryan's jacket zipper did not open.

Data Points:

Digital Cameras don't pick up the flickering refresh rate of seven segment L.E.D.s...So here's the numbers: Bryan hit a peak of 6800 rpm somewhere during the 2 mile run, hitting a peak speed of 183 mph. The Orca Turbo Dash showed 1554 Deg F in the front cylinder, 1419 Deg F in the rear cylinder and a peak manifold pressure of 1.65 Bar (9.75 PSI Boost). He dropped the bike into 4th gear and his exit trap speed was 176mph. Bryan says he gave the bike too much throttle in 4th and it broke loose so he backed out.

The GPS Speedo was one L.E.D. short of 200 mph. Just after the last orange light is the 1st red light which is exactly, triangulated by four satellites, 200 mph. The digital Gear Position Display is to the upper right.

RSR Fuel Injection Prediction

Since you can't ride the Bullet around on the road we do our "Fuel Map" purely by automated prediction in our Autocal.V6 program. In this case we're running a large Garrett Turbo that has a known compressor map rated in lbs/min. You can use our calculator to translate this into horsepower. This particular turbo is known to produce about 550 hp in 3 liter cars wound out to about 8000 rpm. As we have less displacement, and are only running about 3/4 of that rpm, our peak hp will most likely be close to 3/4 of this value if we push a 3.0 pressure ratio which we don't plan on doing.

Using the compressor map we write a prediction based on the hp at 8 / 15 and 30 psi as well as 0" Hg. We then test this on our wet flow bench and the numbers usually agree +/- a tad. Autocal.V6 actually predicts this very accurately. Same old truth... "GIGO" garbage in, garbage out. Our light 3rd gear pass at Bonneville at 183 mph based on predictions had egts about where we want them. We don't enter milliseconds anywhere...just horsepower and macro based torque curves.

We run water injection so we predict things closer to the way they should be instead of running "too rich". Whenever we run the boost up higher we'll fudge the horsepower prediction a bit on the 1st run just to be safe. Without prediction capability we would be destroying the engine....Something we choose not to do. We let Autocal.V6 scale and interpolate things and we don't do point editing.

Water Injection

Running a bit over 200 hp the 120cc water injection nozzle activated in the Bullett's inlet manifold increasing the charge density and protecting the motor. The secondary 120cc nozzle was not activated as we held the boost below 10 psi.

Safe, back in the pits

No leaks, no problems. It just needs more than the two mile Bub Course...and of course we will turn up the boost and use another two gears. Bryan felt comfortable enough to drive the bike back to the pits. The high gearing made this tricky because, as you slow down, 1st gear is way too high for pit speeds. The bike also weighs 1000lbs.

The Bub Event was chosen to do some testing because the weather forecast was good even though the salt was a bit wet. The Bub Meet has no licensing procedures like the SCTA-BNI events which is where the Bullett is headed. Winds were minor which is a miracle by Bonneville standards.

The Bullett and Bryan will have to go through the 125/150 and 175 mph licensing procedures in SCTA-BNI events. Since it ran 183 in wet conditions in a lower gear the prospects for successful licensing and higher speeds look very favorable.

No that's not snow

This is where you have to go if you want records. Salt not pavement. Sir Malcolm Campbell, Donald Campbell, Craig Breedlove, Mickey Thompson, Art Arfons, Al Teague, Summers Brothers, Dave Campos, and Rocky Robinson. Big Iron, big speeds. Mike Geokan's Bonneville Bullett is serious in the same tradition. Aluminum skin and a big heart.

Salt Eats Everything

This is what we use to protect the Bullett from corrosion. Boeshield T-9® was developed and licensed by The Boeing Company to fill the need for a superior lubricant/protectant. The formulation, based on a unique combination of solvents and waxes, is designed to penetrate metal pores and dissolve minor corrosion, then leave a resilient waxy coating that lasts for many months. It is being used in the tough saltwater marine market for lubricating and protecting all metals. In the saltwater marine market it works well on engines and deck hardware as well as electronics, batteries and wiring connections. Boeshield T-9® is also the ticket for Salt Flat Racers. It is non-conductive and will not cause short circuits. Not a substitute for K-Y.

Run Whatcha Brung

Passenger Gets Front Row Seat

Turbocharged sidecar. You can add balast or a human to meet the regulations. Best to take someone along for the ride. You can't talk to a pile of lead weights and reminish. Mike Taylor of Barnett who made the Bullett's primary cover rides on this one.

Vincent Streamliner

More problems plagued the Lambky Streamliner. Drivetrain gear issues. It sure is small and slippery looking. Not all Vincents were black. Sam Wheeler's liner also showed up. It may be the most slippery of all as it was designed in a Caltech wind tunnel. The Bub liner went 355 but had an oil fire. Sam Wheeler's bike went 323 but had some mechanical issues. The people who went about 100 mph on a pocket bike or all those who went fast on Bultacos, Nortons, BSA's and stock Harleys probably had the most fun.

Then there were the parties back at the Hotel. Two minutes of running and 23 hours 58 minutes of everything else. Pass the beer, the Visene, Tylenol and Sunblock.

USFRA World of Speed 2009

Loading up to go to the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association (USFRA) Bonneville meet in September. This is how you pick up a 1000 pound Bullett off of it's work stand. Nothing is off the shelf. Everything has to be adapted or made for the task.

6000 Miles of Driving to get to this

End of the access road. Race day at the USFRA meet. No one allowed on the Salt Flats. If you know anything about water on the salt....and you see a new lake, you know it will take a month of hot weather and some strong winds to get the salt into race ready status. Best cancel the rest of your hotel reservations and head home....or sit in the hotel for a couple of days and hope for the best.

Take two diesel pickup trucks, one support car, four riders on motorcycles, two trailers and total up the road miles from all parties and 6000 miles later you get home to your warm bed. Interesting hobbies we have. The access road was full of dreamers like us, some from as far away as Australia. That's what's neat about Bonneville...all those who came before you faced the same elements. It's only fair that you get your ass kicked once in awhile. These are not the best conditions for racing.

About all you can do is walk up and down the clogged access road to the salt and look at the neat iron. People came from far away only to look at the flooded salt. Everything from multi-buck efforts like the hydrogen fueled, fuel cell powered, streamliner from Ohio State to single cylinder Aermacchi Harley-Davidsons and neat hot rods like this one. No one was allowed on the salt until later in the week.

At least your truck and race trailer don't get submerged in salt water. If you hung around to the last few days of the 4 day meet they let you drive through about a mile of water to get to unsubmerged, but still wet, salt. Technical Inspection was set up on the access road. The last two days of the event saw some record runs so it wasn't a loss to everyone. We decided to go home and wait for better conditions.

Some events never get rained out

Helmets and other forms of protection are required in Nevada. There's that money we didn't spend on the hotels.

Next Up World Finals (SCTA-BNI)