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  • Bonneville Speed Week experience

    Hi Everyone,

    I’m baaaack!

    My last post was near the beginning of last month when I was making a set of starting rollers for a race motorcycle to be run at the Bonneville Salt Flats. I was asked to post my results when I returned, so here goes.

    When we tried the rollers at home, for whatever reason, the free wheel of my SUV would just spin when it was in the air as soon as the clutch was released on the race bike & the wheel driving the rollers would stop.

    By leaving the free wheel on the ground, we could use the rollers to start the bike, but the limited slip rear end would cause the free wheel to dig a hole in the ground. Not acceptable at Bonneville.

    So we changed our plan and bolted the rollers into my trailer & took my street bike w/us to start the race bike on the trailer. I sure was glad I made them narrow enough to fit the width of the trailer:



    This shows the starting procedure that worked well:



    Next photo is of Patrick at the end of the first run right after loading the bike to return to the pits for tweaking. He had just run 107.25 MPH & the record for his class was 119 MPH. So it was quite promising to get so close w/a bike that had never been driven before since being setup w/blower, methanol, water injection etc. Not at all bad for a 1954 Harley KHK flathead!



    We got ready to run again & went into town to get our wives so they could watch his next runs and take photos too.

    2nd run:



    Just after this photo was taken there was a loud POP & engine was dead. Patrick coasted off the track & when I got to him he showed me a burn on his left palm. The burst valve he had made blew & he had flames coming out of the opening, up towards the fuel tank so he put his gloved hand over the opening to smother the fire. Should have been no problem. But the stitching either burned away or melted and the seam where the thumb met the glove opened up exposing his hand to the flames.

    So, the week ended a bit early. Still learned a lot & I was quite impressed w/all that the SCTA accomplishes each year to put on an event like this. It’s especially amazing when you learn that they are ALL volunteers!

    If only our government was as efficient. But that’s another story.
    Last edited by jhe.1973; 09-06-2011, 02:47 AM.
    Best wishes to ya’ll.

    Sincerely,

    Jim

    "To invent you need a good imagination and a pile of junk" - Thomas Edison

    "I've always wanted to get a job as a procrastinator but I keep putting off going out to find one so I guess I'll never realize my life's dream. Frustrating!" - Me

  • #2
    Thanks for the follow-up.

    Looks like he's happy with that run - salt looks good too not caked all over the tyres like usual.

    Can you catch one of the events to follow later in the year, or is that it for now?
    Peter - novice home machinist, modern motorcycle enthusiast.

    Denford Viceroy 280 Synchro (11 x 24)
    Herbert 0V adapted to R8 by 'Sir John'.
    Monarch 10EE 1942

    Comment


    • #3
      That's it for now.

      Hi Peter,

      He only could squeeze 3 weeks out of his boss for the entire trip, so he & his wife are back in the U.K. now. I think the bike should be on it's way too, or at least close to the return trip.

      As for me, if I ever catch the bug to do land speed stuff, I'll go for the dry lakes dirt versions rather than salt.

      I had to replace one of the CV joint boots when we got back (not related) & when I removed the axle drive flange from the hub I was amazed at the salt penetration & rust between the machined surfaces of the hub & flange.

      Early in the Bonneville week we had a storm in the evening & for the rest of the week at the end of the paved road where the salt starts there was a small river you had to cross each time in & out. I think that going thru the salt water was how it found it's way into EVERYTHING!

      If life ever settles down & I can be a volunteer out there, I'll use a rented vehicle.
      Best wishes to ya’ll.

      Sincerely,

      Jim

      "To invent you need a good imagination and a pile of junk" - Thomas Edison

      "I've always wanted to get a job as a procrastinator but I keep putting off going out to find one so I guess I'll never realize my life's dream. Frustrating!" - Me

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for posting! It has been one of my dreams to go to Bonneville, maybe some year! Recently they've started running for speed at the former Loring AF Base in Limestone, Maine which has a runway that is miles long. The event is run by the Loring Timing Association.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for posting Jim. I've been a fan of Bonneville ever since seeing the Spirit of America run on tv as a kid. They showed the Spirit being pulled out of the salt marsh after the crash. I live close to Bonneville, but still havn't been there for speed week. Any other photos of the Harley? Would love to hear details on the blower setup.

          Comment


          • #6
            For those of you that have missed a chance to go to the Bonneville Salt Flats, should you ever get another, dont pass it up! My first trip there was in 1970 as a crew member on the Rod and Custom magazine lowboy roadster project car built by Jerry Kugel of the famed Kugel Komponents Company. This car was a B/MR running a 427 overhead cam Ford using about 60 percent nitromethane for the fuel! Being there, out in the middle of this vast open hot plain and seeing this car streak past at over 250MPH followed by the sound of this incredible power plant is something I'll never forget! The amazing thing about this is the fact Jerry snapped the lines for the chassis and assorted components on his living room floor with all the needed brackets, mounting facilities handcrafted in his small shop with a minimul of hand tools! Yes his wife got brand new carpet as soon as the project moved outside! Should you like to see more Jerry Kugels craftmanship click onto KugelKomponents.com I think you'll enjoy the browse! My home made lathe is making progress and will have postings soon!

            Best Regards to all.

            Comment


            • #7
              A little off topic, but if you have not seen the movie "The Worlds Fastest Indian" go rent it. Its about bikes and the salt flats. Its a great movie, probably one of the best.
              John L

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Forestgnome
                Any other photos of the Harley? Would love to hear details on the blower setup.
                Ditto that!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by johnl
                  A little off topic, but if you have not seen the movie "The Worlds Fastest Indian" go rent it. Its about bikes and the salt flats. Its a great movie, probably one of the best.
                  John L
                  One I thoroughly enjoyed, but I'm a gearhead.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    For you folks around North Carolina you can go watch 1 mile runs at Maxton NC. Usually lots of bikes and cars in all kinds of classes. I think they have a race weekend Sept 23-25. Bikes at over 200 MPH in the standing mile.

                    You can get 'up close and personal' with the bikes/vehicles too. Fun place.

                    The ECTA sponsors the races. That track is shutting down after this year and I don't think they have a replacement site yet.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Cool story, I like storys of what our HSM made parts end up doing in the real world

                      What was the burst valve protecting from overpressure? Im not fimilar with where a burst valve would be used on a motorcycle.. I guess the next model will have a deflector to shoot away from the gas tank
                      Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Follow up

                        Hi Everyone,



                        Thanks for all the interest!

                        x39: Thank you for the info about the Limestone, ME event. I had just heard about it a day or two before we left & didn’t have time to check it out. Now their site is saved in my favorites.

                        I have no desire to horn in on anyone’s thunder so I need to make it clear that I was only the contact in this country as the bike was shipped to me from Great Britain. I cleared my shop & calendar so that the builder & I could do a few last minute things.

                        Patrick, the bike’s owner/builder started an online build diary last October at:

                        http://www.landracing.com/forum/inde...ic,8744.0.html

                        He covers a lot of detail as the bike was being constructed & likely answers most questions that you might have.

                        Here is a closer view of the bike on the trailer right after the first run. The general layout of the blower & drive is clearer:



                        Next is the burst valve after the 1st run:



                        It failed on the first run also, but at the end of the run.

                        Back when I was drag racing they used to make a spring loaded valve & called them pop off valves. The purpose of both styles is to protect the blower & intake tract from a backfire.

                        I’m w/you Black Moons that a deflector is needed - a minimum if this design is retained.

                        Personally I would have made this the spring type I was used to seeing because it would be closed after a backfire, reducing or eliminating the chance of fire.

                        Ah yes, “The World’s Fastest Indian” I believe it to be one of the best movies based on a true story that I have ever seen.

                        Two things really impressed me. First that everyone was portrayed in a positive light w/o being unrealistic. The second thing I liked was that they really captured Mr. Munro’s determination & craftsmanship.

                        I followed what I could find at the time he was coming to Bonneville & I am including a photo from the 3rd Annual Motorcycle Sport Book by Bob Greene copyrighted in 1968. This talks about the 1967 Bonneville season.

                        My next post will show the individual views as close-ups & some of the text.

                        Best wishes to ya’ll.

                        Sincerely,

                        Jim

                        "To invent you need a good imagination and a pile of junk" - Thomas Edison

                        "I've always wanted to get a job as a procrastinator but I keep putting off going out to find one so I guess I'll never realize my life's dream. Frustrating!" - Me

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hi Everyone,

                          Through all of these years, I have always remembered this photo of the connecting rods Mr. Munro made from an old truck axle. Being quite familiar with the male/female rod setup that Indian & Harley have used, these rods always impress/amaze me:



                          The following is a quote from the book:

                          “After breaking fifty standard connecting rods, Burt spent five months carving his own out of an old Ford truck axle – that was the last of the trouble, over twenty years ago.”

                          He was 69 years old when this book was written & that year he ran 190.07 MPH one way!

                          I’ll type up the entire 5 or 6 paragraphs if you guys would like. Just let me know.





                          Best wishes to ya’ll.

                          Sincerely,

                          Jim

                          "To invent you need a good imagination and a pile of junk" - Thomas Edison

                          "I've always wanted to get a job as a procrastinator but I keep putting off going out to find one so I guess I'll never realize my life's dream. Frustrating!" - Me

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