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NHRA 4-Wide Nationals - Charlotte, NC

  
  
  
  
  
  

story by Matt PolitoNHRA 4 wide

The Harley-Davidson® factory team struck back after early-round losses at the season opening event in Gainesville to take the title – and the points lead – in the Mello Yellow NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle championship series at the 4-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte, NC.

The event, taking place at Bruton Smith’s “Bellagio of drag strips” is unique on the NHRA tour. While a typical drag race has two racers facing off against each other, the 4-Wide has four riders lining up in a “quad” and competing at the same time. The first two riders crossing the finish line in each quad advance to the next round.

Andrew Hines took the win in Charlotte as teammate Eddie Krawiec placed second in the final round quad. Matt Smith Racing teammates Scotty Pollacheck and John Hall, both riding S&S-powered Buells, placed third and fourth respectively.

For the second race in a row qualifying was led by Michael Ray on the Star Racing Buell. Ray recoded a 6.816 elapsed time at 197 mph on Friday, which held up as the top spot throughout Saturday.

“The way I look at it is if I am on my game, there is not a bike out there that is going to beat me," said Ray, who placed second in the points last season.

Following Ray in qualifying was the Buell of Hector Arana Jr. at 6.825 seconds and Hines on his Harley at 6.842.

In all, S&S-powered Buells accounted for six of the top eight qualifiers and 11 in the qualified field of 16.

Reigning champ Matt Smith, who qualified sixth at 6.856 seconds on his Stockseth Racing Buell, set a new zMAX Dragway speed record for the class at 198.32 mph.

While number one qualifier Ray was confident going into Sunday’s eliminations, his bike defied him as a shifting problem put him on the trailer in round one.

The second round semifinals saw an all-Buell quad with Hall and Pollacheck advancing to the final over second year rider Chaz Kennedy and veteran Mike Berry. In the other semifinal the father and son duo of Hector Arana Jr. and Sr. lined up their Buells against the Harleys of Hines and Krawiec with both Harley riders advancing.

The difficult thing about racing at zMAX is dealing with the disparity of the lanes, which is greater than it is at two-lane drag strips. This year, lanes 1 and 2 were the coveted lanes and the Harley-Davidson riders were able to secure them for the final.

Hall and Pollacheck got the jump on the Harleys in the final but Hall had transmission problems and Pollacheck lost top end speed as the Harleys rode around them with Hines taking his 33rd career win, tying the late John Myers.

None of those wins, however, has come at the 4-Wide event. In fact, despite winning the Charlotte race run in the conventional two-lane format last fall, Hines has never even won an elimination round at a 4-Wide.

“This does a lot for my confidence because I’ve never had a round-win here,” said Hines. “At this race, there is so much going on that you never know what’s going to happen. Some guys take a long time to stage, and some guys want to get up there as quickly as they can. You have to be prepared for anything.”

With the win, Hines holds an 11-point advantage over Pollacheck who had made both finals this year. Following them in the points is Hall Krawiec, Arana Jr. and Gainesville winner Steve Johnson, the top Suzuki in the points.

Hines and NHRA Trophies

The next event in the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle series is the NHRA Summit Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, GA, May 16-18.

Justin Bramstedt -Racing Manager

  
  
  
  
  
  

S&S Cycle has appointed Justin Bramstedt to the position of Racing Manager to oversee the design and sale of S&S Racing Products as well as to manage the entire racing program.

Justin Bramsted -SJustin is a 1998 graduate of Mankato State University in Mankato MN, with a degree in Automotive Engineering Technology. He also attended a two year course at the Motorcycle Mechanic’s institute. That’s a useful background to have when you’re designing high performance v-twin engine parts, but just as important are some of his other experiences. Justin is a long time rider and drag racer, and he’s always gravitated toward Harley-Davidson® motorcycles. In addition, during college, he worked full-time as an ASE certified automotive technician. Even now, he runs a full service motorcycle and machine shop as a side business.

Justin’s combination of technical expertise and first hand knowledge of the ins and outs of the v-twin market made it a natural fit that he would come to work at S&S Cycle in 1999. By 2007 he was promoted to Manger of the Research and Innovation Department. In that position he oversaw the development of a large number of important S&S products including the S&S 4-1/8” bore engine, S&S clutch, S&S helical gear transmission, B2 cylinder heads, exhaust systems, and many others.

Justin explains his new position like this. “As a company that produces what are essentially recreational products, S&S Cycle went through some tough times in the economic recession of 2008 and 2009. As a result, we were forced to reduce our racing efforts for a while, but now that the economy is getting back up to speed, we’re back!” He went on to describe his mission. “My job is to keep S&S Cycle at the cutting edge of racing technology. In 2013 Matt Smith took the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle championship with an S&S powered bike, and we want to make sure that we’re in the winners circle again this year and every year!”

The S&S Racing Program is not limited to the Pro Stock Motorcycle class of the NHRA, but is involved with many other racing sanctions and classes, such as land speed racing at Bonneville and other long course facilities. Justin sums it up. “Whenever a racer wins using S&S products it just reinforces our company motto: Proven Performance®.”

NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Contingency Prizes

  
  
  
  
  
  

S&S Cycle was built on racing. Back in 1958, company founder George J. Smith already had years of racing experience, with drag racing championships and a Bonneville land speed record to his credit. So it isn’t too surprising that S&S still supports a number of racing efforts around the world to this day.

There are a number of ways S&S supports racing. One, of course is to manufacture superior quality Proven Performance® products that help win races and set records. The other ways are more financial in nature and can take the form of sponsorships or contingency prizes. In the NHRA, S&S pays out contingency prizes in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class.
A product contingency is a pat on the back (and in the wallet) for racers who use S&S parts to win races. S&S racing manager Justin Bramstedt puts it this way. “We get tons of requests for sponsorship. Way more than we could possibly honor. So rather than pay out to all comers ahead of time, we prefer to reward the guys who are making it happen using our parts.” Justin went on to comment about last year’s season. “S&S billet Pro Stock engines dominated the field last season, what with Matt Smith taking first place, and seven of the top ten bikes powered by S&S. We paid out over $27,000 in contingencies.”

The requirements for S&S contingency prizes are pretty simple: take first or second place in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class at an NHRA event on a bike with “S&S supplied engine cases”. As you would expect the first place prize is more than the prize for a runner up, but it takes a lot to achieve either placement in this fiercely competitive class.

S&S Cycle does do some limited sponsorship for other types of racing and other sanctions. Bonneville land speed racing is a good example, but that’s a subject for another story. The point here is that S&S continues to support racing. It’s what we do!

S&S Power Wins the 2013 NHRA World Championship

Story by Matt Polito

The 2014 NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle series kicks off with the Amalie Oil Gatornationals in Gainesville, FL, with the competition in the class looking to be as tight as it ever has.
The NHRA further tweaked the rules in the off-season to gain even greater parity between makes. The new rule is a benefit to the Suzuki bikes, allowing them to increase their displacement from 107 cubic inches to 113 c.i. The rule change is welcome as the Suzukis looked to be at a disadvantage, with only one Suzuki rider, former champ LE Tonglet, placing in the top ten in 2013.
Prior to the 2013 season the NHRA announced a major rule change, leveling the playing field for all V-Twin bikes.

In 2012, Harley-Davidsons dominated the season. A lopsided rule allowed H-D V-twins to have 4-valve, overhead cam cylinder heads while S&S motors were kept to pushrod-initiated 2-valve cylinder heads. The Harley team of Eddie Krawiec and Andrew Hines won all but one event in 2012, with Krawiec earning his third NHRA Championship.
The rules were adjusted between the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Now all V-twin motors are mandated to have 2-valve, pushrod valve train configurations. The pushrod length was also set to a minimum of 8 inches.
The S&S racers responded, winning 13 of the 16 events with Matt Smith hoisting the coveted “Big Wally” championship trophy for the second time in his career.

The 2013 season started with a three-race win streak by second-generation racer Hector Arana Jr. Through Indy, where the playoff “Countdown” is finalized, five different racers took event wins. Smith staged a stunning, late-season surge that allowed him to clinch the championship in Las Vegas with one race to be contested.
The S&S-powered Buells led the performance charge all the way. Of the 16 number one qualifiers, 15 were riding S&S power. Buell riders accounted for eight of the top 10 ranked riders.

No. 1 Matt Smith – Viper Motorcycle Buell
Matt Smith NHRA winnerMatt Smith is the renaissance man of Pro Stock Motorcycle racing. He builds his own bikes and motors, tunes and rides, all while overseeing and managing a 3-bike team he owns. He can perform every aspect of running a Pro Stock Motorcycle and does it all with astonishing success.
Smith, the 2007 series champ, looked strong at the opening event of 2013, taking the pole at Gainesville with a 6.804 elapsed time – a performance that would remain the quick lap for the class until the end of September.
But while Smith always came with a competitive bike, an intermittent transmission problem would repeatedly take him out of competition in the early part of the season.
Mid-season he rectified his issues. In the five-race swing between Chicago and Indy he went to four final rounds and took his first win of the season at Norwalk. He entered the playoff “Countdown” in the second spot behind Hector Arana Jr.
Smith yielded no ground to Arana Jr. in the first two races of the Countdown and then went on a tear – winning three straight at St Louis, Reading, PA, and Las Vegas to earn his second championship.
Smith’s championship was especially sweet for Smith as his father, Rickie Smith, won the NHRA Pro Mod championship, making them the first father and son duo to win NHRA national championships in the same season.

No. 2 Michael Ray – Sovereign/Star Racing Buell
Michael Ray NHRAMichael Ray, one of the rising stars of the series, broke up the possible undefeated 2012 season by the Harley-Davidson team by winning the Dallas event on the Viper Motorcycle Buell of Matt Smith Racing. Ray switched teams before the 2013 season and signed on with the Sovereign/Star Racing team owned by George Bryce.
Ray, who has won championships in the S&S Challenge and V-Rod Destroyer classes in AHDRA competition, continued his winning ways on the NHRA tour in 2013, making the winners circle at both Englishtown and Chicago. He also qualified in the number one position at Epping, Norwalk and Reading.

No. 4 Hector Arana Jr. – Lucas Oil Buell
Hector Arana Jr. NHRA racing2011 NHRA Rookie of the Year Hector Arana Jr. charged out of the gate in 2013, winning the first three races of the season to earn a commanding points lead and become the early-season favorite to win the championship.
Arana Jr. would not win another event until Sonoma but went into the Countdown with his points lead intact. He struggled in the final four events of the year, failing to advance out the second round of eliminations at each race, despite qualifying on the pole in Pomona. The late-season slide dropped him from first to fourth in the points.

Hector Arana Sr. NHRANo. 5 Hector Arana – Lucas Oil Buell
Hector Arana is one of the most popular riders on NHRA tour. His two sons, Hector Jr. and Adam, are now competitive racers in the series.
Arana is also one of the true veterans of the class, racing in the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle series since 1990. He is the 2009 series champion.
Arana has not won an event since his championship season but held performance marks in 2013. His 6.796 elapsed time at St Louis was the quickest run of the season for the class. He also ran 198 mph which was the fastest ever recorded for an S&S-powered motorcycle in NHRA competition.

No. 6 Scotty Pollacheck – Viper Motorcycle Buell
Second year rider Scotty Pollacheck made headlines in 2013 when he left the Star Racing team in the middle of the championship playoff Countdown to finish the season with Viper sponsorship on the MSR team.
Scotty Pollacheck NHRA racingPollacheck actually paid for his seat on the Star Racing team and cited personal, irreconcilable differences with team owner George Bryce as the reason for his departure.
While with Star Racing, Pollacheck made the final at three events. He joined the Viper Motorcycle team in St Louis where he made the semifinal. He again made the final at Pomona, improving on his seventh place finish in 2012.

No. 8 John Hall – Viper Motorcycle Buell
John Hall NHRA2013 was a breakout year for John Hall, the former standout in the AMA Dragbike SuperSport sportbike drag racing class. Hall switched teams for his sophomore season of NHRA PSM competition, moving from the Star Racing camp to the Viper Motorcycle team of Matt Smith Racing.
Hall scored his first NHRA win at Epping, New Hampshire, at the inaugural New England Nationals and then took the biggest race of them all – the US Nationals at Indy. Coming out of the 15th qualifying position at Indy, Hall took out former champions Eddie Krawiec and LE Tonglet before beating team owner Matt Smith in the final.

No. 9 Shawn Gann – PiranaZ Z Buell
Shawn Gann NHRA racingHis youthful demeanor hides the fact that Shawn Gann is one of the veterans of the Pro Stock Motorcycle class, racing in NHRA competition since 2000. His father Blake prepares the bike and is well regarded in the community, producing state-of-the-art components for drag bikes.
Gann won his first race in nine years in 2013, taking the win in the tricky, high-altitude air of Bandimere Raceway in Morrison, Colorado where he beat Hector Arana, Jr. in the final round.

No. 10 Adam Arana – MavTV/Lucas Oil Buell
Adam Arana NHRA racingRookie Racer Adam Arana joined his brother and father on the Lucas Oil team – one of the most formidable teams in NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle racing. Adam had an admirable rookie season, going to the final in Epping, NH and being the top qualifier in Denver.
His placement in the Countdown and his top 10 finish is impressive considering that veterans like Andrew Hines and Steve Johnson did not make the cut.

 

 

Download the 2014 NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Schedule at http://www.nhra.com/schedules/2014psm.aspx


Son Of The Beach – The Making Of A Show Bike

  
  
  
  
  
  

sob muffs

S&S Cycle generally brings a couple of motorcycles to the rallies to show off their parts, and of course it’s a lot easier to get people excited about your stuff if it’s on a cool looking ride, instead of an old rat. This year, the S&S events department decided to showcase some of our parts for older Twin Cam 88® engines, and it was decided that one of our fleet of lab-rats would get the treatment. These are bikes we have in our stable that are used to test everything from cams to cylinder heads.

Needless to say, life isn’t easy for these test bikes and sometimes things go wrong. But when life gives you lemons, you can make lemonade…if you can’t find anything stronger. The bike we chose for the project is a 2001 Fat Boy®. Being part of the Softail® family, it’s one of the first models in the Harley-Davidson® line to have Delphi® fuel injection. It also turned out to have a wonky flywheel assembly, as we found out when we dug into the engine.

Tank painted by Kevin BoartsFrom a cosmetic standpoint, the bike was pretty much trashed, but that was no big deal since we have some really talented guys on staff that are more than capable of making it look good. Kevin Boarts is a great painter and fabricator and has done the paint on our show bikes for the last couple of years. Dean Young III is a great all around mechanic and customizer who has also been a key player in making our display bikes turn heads at the shows.

Son of the Beach wheelThis bike was going to be redone in a California beach style, with an appropriately beachy name “Son Of The Beach." The plan included wide handlebars, really wild paint, white wall tires, and red wheels. That’s all very well, but the bikes we take to the rallies have to run. That’s where it got a little weird.

The original plan was to install an S&S 97” top end, and CNC port the stock heads. The only problem was that when the stock top end came off, it was discovered that the flywheels were going south for the winter. Not such a big deal, because we have some new flywheels that we wanted to showcase anyway. We’d just replace the ailing stock lower end with a set of the new S&S three-piece flywheels. That was plan B. Then someone got to thinking and reasoned thusly: “If we have to replace the flywheels anyway, why not put a set of 4-3/8” stroke wheels in it and make it a 96” engine?” It got better. “Why not make it a 103?” And better. “Let’s put a 106” big bore kit on it!” All valid options, but bigger is better, and biggest is best. So 106 it was. If you’re going to spend your money, why not get all you can for it?

The engine was taken out of the bike in the R&D shop at the S&S facility in Viola and sent up to the S&S Service & Speed Center (S&SC) in La Crosse for the engine build.

At the S&SC, Tom Smith took the engine completely apart and inspected all the bits. In addition to the flywheels, he discovered that the pins that hold the counter balancer plate in place had gotten loose and had wallowed out the plate. So some new stock parts were sourced from the local Harley-Davison® dealer in La Crosse.

son of the beach buildson of the beach build crankcase
son of the beach camshaftsson of the beach cnc heads

Once the engine assembly commenced, it was pretty much a piece of cake. Not entirely dissimilar to assembling a stock engine, except that when it was done, we had a butt kicking 106” engine, and of course, one fast Son Of The Beach!

 

sob finished

Matt Smith Cinches his Second Championship at Vegas

  
  
  
  
  
  
Story by Matt Polito

Matt Smith’s third straight win was one of the biggest of his career as it allowed him to cinch his second NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle championship.  Smith rode his Viper Motorcycle S&S-powered Buell to the win at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and in doing so locked up the 2013 Mello Yello championship with one race remaining on the schedule.  Smith beat the Suzuki Jerry Savoie in the final round.  Smith became only the seventh rider in NHRA history to win multiple Pro Stock Motorcycle championships. 

Matt Smith

Smith has had a fast bike for most of the year but he got hot at just the right time.  Since the championship “Countdown” has started in Charlotte, he has been to four finals and qualified no worse that 4th. This, as his major competition has stumbled down the stretch. 

“I don’t want to sound too confident, but we’ve almost been unstoppable,” said Smith. “We’ve been to 10 finals since Epping and have six wins. Those are amazing numbers for our team.” 

Smith came into Vegas with a 125-point lead over the rest of the field.  That equated to over six eliminations rounds of competition with only eight rounds left to race over the final two races.  Going to the winner’s circle by winning the four rounds at Vegas, Smith now has a 165-point lead over the next ranked rider, former teammate Michael Ray on the Sovereign/Star Racing Buell. With a maximum 150 points available at any event including qualifying bonus points and national record points, it is mathematically impossible for any racer to catch Smith. 

Hector Arana led qualifying at Vegas on his Lucas Oil Buell with a final session 6.930 second elapsed time to move the Suzuki of Steve Johnson down to the second spot.  Following Johnson were the Buells of Adam Arana, Smith, Hector Arana Jr. and Michael Ray.  Savoie was seventh on his White Alligator Racing Suzuki. 

Smith got by former champions Andrew Hines and LE Tonglet before taking out Shawn Gann in the semifinals to make his eighth final of the year.  Savoie beat Michael Ray in the semifinals, which essentially created the opportunity for Smith to lock up the championship.  Smith took full advantage, getting the holeshot over Savoie and pulling away, 6.99 to 7.05 for this fourth win of the season. 

The championship is even more special for Smith as his father, Rickie Smith, won the Pro Mod championship, which he secured in St Louis. It is the first time in NHRA history that a father and son have won national championships in the same season.  “What else can you ask for?” said Matt Smith, “With me winning the championship and Dad winning the Pro Mod championship, it’s been great.” 

The championship is the third for S&S-powered machines in NHRA competition.  Smith brought S&S it’s first championship in 2007 and Hector Arana won the big trophy in 2009 on his Lucas Oil Buell. In the last seven years S&S-powered bikes have won as many championships as the once-dominant Harley-Davidson® motorcycles. 

With the championship secure, the battle is now for the number 2 plate.  Three S&S-powered Buells are in contention as Ray has a solid 37-point lead over Hector Arana and a 40-point lead over Hector Arana Jr.  The Harley-Davidson of defending series champ Eddie Krawiec is 60 points behind Ray. 

The 2013 NHRA season concludes at the Auto Club Nationals in Pomona, CA, November 7-10.

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Smith Extends Points lead with Win at Maple Grove

  
  
  
  
  
  
Story by Matt Polito

Matt Smith took his second win in a row on the Viper Motorcycle S&S® powered Buell to extend his points lead in the NHRA Mello Yello Pro Stock Motorcycle championship battle.  Smith took out the resurgent Harley-Davidson® of defending series champ Eddie Krawiec at the Auto Plus NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, PA.Matt Smith

“It was a pretty good day for the Viper Motorsports team,” said Smith.  “We hurt the motor in the last qualifier and were up all night making repairs.  It feels good when the work pays off.”

Michael Ray took his third number one qualifying performance of the year with a 6.857 elapsed time at 193 mph on the Sovereign/Star Racing Buell.  S&S power accounted for the top six qualifying positions and nine bikes in the short field of 15.

Smith caught a major break in round one of eliminations when first time NHRA PSM rider Chaz Kennedy - who was making his NHRA debut on the #2 Sovereign/Star Racing Buell left open when Scotty Pollacheck moved to the Viper Motorsports team - red lit in round one.  Smith had a -.009 reaction time but Kennedy was worse at -.010 and turned on the red light, giving Smith the win.

“We got lucky and they say you have to get lucky for one round,” said Smith.  “We had a pressure leak which meant I couldn’t play the games I usually do.  I had to get in the [staging] beams fast. I rolled in a little too deep.”

In round two, Smith got by teammate John Hall.  The same round saw two of the top contenders for the points, Hector Arana Jr. and Hector Arana Sr., also go out.

The loss marked a tremendous fall for Arana Jr. who stared the season with a three-race with streak.  He led the points all the way until his first-round loss at St. Louis the previous week.

The semifinals at Maple Grove saw an epic face-off between Smith and Michael Ray.  Ray ran the quick lap of eliminations in round one at 6.88 seconds but slowed to a 7.00 against Smith, who turned in a 6.99 to make the final.

The final saw Smith cut a devastating .004 reaction time against Krawiec who was appearing in his second final in the last three races. Smith pulled away for the win, 6.93 to 6.96.

It is said that champions get hot as the season playoffs get started.  That is exactly what is happening with Smith.  In the last six races he has made five finals, two wins and two number one qualifying performances.

His lead is now 125 points over Arana Jr.  That equates to over six elimination rounds with only eight rounds of competition to go over the final two races of the season.  The tight pack following Smith - Arana Jr., Ray and Arana Sr. - are separated by just four points.  Krawiec is 145 points back.

Even with an almost insurmountable points lead, Smith has no plans on letting up.

“It’s not over until they give you the trophy, the big check and the jacket,” he said.  “Right now we just look at every round as 20 points and that is 20 points we need for the championship. We are going to work as hard as we ever have.”

The NHRA Countdown to the Championship resumes in Las Vegas Oct 24-27.

Matt Smith Wins Midwest Nationals In St Louis

  
  
  
  
  
  
story and picture by Matt Polito

After a two-race shutout, S&S power once again made it to the NHRA winners circle when Matt Smith took the win at the AAA Insurance Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park in St Louis.

Matt Smith

It was the second win of the season for Smith, who rode his S&S-Powered Viper Motorsports Buell to a final round victory over the Nitro Fish Suzuki of LE Tonglet 6.88 to 6.95.  With the win Smith took over the points lead for the Mello Yello championship.

“I messed up so many times in the final this year,” said Smith. “There were four races where I had the better bike but made I mistake.  I wanted to make sure that didn’t happen here.”

The big news coming into St Louis was that Scotty Pollacheck, the number six ranked rider in the championship points, had left the Sovereign/Star Racing team for Smith’s Viper team just two days before the event.  Pollacheck made the semifinals on his new ride.

Pollacheck’s former teammate Michael Ray led the field following the first day of qualifying at 6.84 at 195.79 mph on the Sovereign/Star Buell.  He joked about having the crew for two bikes working on his one motorcycle. “We feel like a Top Fuel team,” he quipped. “Too many people working on one bike. I have five really killer motors to choose from all weekend.”

Hector Arana grabbed the spotlight in the final day of qualifying on Saturday, setting both ends of the track record at 6.796 seconds, 198.58 mph.  “It bogged a bit but after that is was perfect,” he said of the run. “We have been struggling with the consistency in our 60 foot times.  Last year we were on top of the class in 60 feet.”

Arana’s 6.79 elapsed time was the quickest of the year in Pro Stock Motorcycle and his 198 mph speed was the fastest ever recorded for an S&S-powered motorcycle in NHRA competition.

Smith came from the third qualifying position to make his sixth final of the year. He beat the Harley-Davidson of defending series champ Eddie Krawiec in round two and Michael Ray’s Buell in the semifinals before facing Tonglet.

Hector Arana Jr., who led the points all season long, lost in the first round and opened the door for Smith who now holds a commanding, 75-point lead with three races to go.  Arana Jr. and his father are tied for second followed by Ray and Krawiec.

Smith’s lead equates to four rounds of competition.  “We have the dominant bike,” said Smith.  “I feel like I have the bike to beat.”

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Recap of the 2013 Motorcycle Speed Trials

  
  
  
  
  
  

Bonneville LandscapeFor many, the great migration to the prehistoric lake now know as the Bonneville Salt Flats began a year in advance in preparation for the 10th Anniversary of the BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials. For one man in particular, Denis Manning prepared for his BUB 7 Streamliner to run during the week of August 25-29, 2013. As the year lapses he waits for the weeks prior to the event to scout for the perfect course Denis and his team spent many days leveling the salt into the smoothest and flattest surface on earth. The International course is 11 miles long with speeds timed at the 5-6 mile and the Mountain course is 5 miles long with speeds timed in the 2-3 mile.

This year, the BUB Motorcycle Speed Trails began on August 24th with tech inspection and a reuniting of a family of race teams and newbies who were welcomed with open arms. Everyone set up their pit area and walking through, you can hear the Radio Free BUB 89.7 FM from every angle as the announcer reports speeds of each motorcycle that zooms by. “That motorcycle took off like a scalded dog…” Out here, the goal of every team is to be faster than anyone else before them and many have succeeded by proving it on the salt under the governing sanctions of the Federation Internationale De Mototcyclisme (FIM) and the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA).

S&S Cycle was proud be a part of this history making event. Many of the race teams were running S&S products and we wanted to have resources available for support, report event happenings  to our fans of speed  and provide hospitality to all racers at the S&S Cycle Pit Stop.

“It’s the end of the BUB 2012 event and we are on the long drive home. We are tired, worn down, out of clean clothes and want to get home, but all we can think and talk about is next year’s event. Fast forward and here we are headed for the BUB 2013 event, full of enthusiasm and anticipation.

We’ve loaded the S&S 5th wheel and dually up with enough items to create a mobile hospitality area on the salt for racers and fans to visit, have a cool area to sit and enjoy a Wisconsin brat, hamburger, cheeses and cold water. This is also the area racers come to when they need parts or tech help which is where Dan, Jan and myself come in; we are pretty much on the go for the whole event.

This year’s event had an added twist for me; I would also be riding a couple of the S&S supported bikes for the first time on the salt. Between assisting S&S racers, working on various bikes (don’t tell Steve) and riding, I had a pretty full week.

The last day we break down the canopies and load up the trailer. Jan and I stuck around as some of the S&S bikes are in tech and I want to see if there are any engine concerns we need to be aware of. It’s just as well, as I am tired, worn down and out of clean clothes any way, but plans were already being made for next year and I can hardly wait to get back. As I heard one person say to no one in particular “Coming to Bonneville is like going to a family reunion that you want to go to.” Pretty well said.

Gene DlaskGene Dlask – S&S Product Development Technician

 

I attended the BUB meet with the goal of providing support for the teams running the S&S Variable Fuel Injection (VFI) system. While I did get involved in a few of the carburetor tuning discussions most of my time was spent helping the teams review the data logged by the VFI system during each run and helping provide input for tuning changes based on that data.

For me the real highlight of the week was being able to work closely with the teams running the VFI. While helping review the data from a run I would become involved in the tuning and gearing discussions, shared in the trials and tribulations they encountered during the week, and could celebrate with them when they set records. It was a blast getting to work with each and every one of them.

Jan Smith – Emissions and Fuel Injection Specialist

 

This year Bonneville like last year was a bittersweet experience for me. Early morning in the dark we head out to the salt all excited to prep the bikes, tune the bikes and ride faster than anyone ever before in that class. . . . . oh, that’s right, I am not riding today . . . . . bittersweet experience!  I have had the pleasure of riding some of the fastest motorcycles in our time, loved the adrenaline high and now I very much enjoy helping others fulfill their dream of going fast and setting records.

Working at S&S and racing at the Bonneville Salt Flats has given me the honor of working with or alongside many famous people. My hero’s Pete Hill, the late Jim Mclure and Elmer Trett. (Patty and I even had dinner with Richard Petty and Kenny Bernstein.)  I raced with and for Dennis Manning, met Don and Rick Vesco, lifelong friends with legend racers Warner Riley, Wink Eller, Scott Guthrie, Jon Minono, Dave Campos, John Yeats, Jay Allen and my old buddy Dave Feazell,  the list of racer friends is endless. 

 I find it interesting and refreshing to see the enthusiasm now oozing from more current racers, right here at S&S, our own Jeff Bailey who has set records, some over 200MPH at Bonneville, Gene Dlask 216.4502MPH with their sidekick Jan Smith, the best fuel injection tuner on the planet!

I would like to thank the teams for believing in the S&S products and congratulate Wink Eller, Kenneth Zetterquist, Cayla Rivas, Jayden Landwehr, Jim Fischer, Jay Allen, Terry Spears and Jim Hoegh on their new world land speed records.

I look forward to next year being the 100th anniversary of racing the Bonneville Salt Flats, it should be great fun!

Dan Kinsey – S&S Research & Development Guru and Multiple Bonneville Record Holder

 

 The teams noted below took home records using S&S products.

WinkEller PeteHillWink Eller

Wink Eller is the owner of Wink’s Custom Cycles in Orange, CA. With his 132” S&S X-Wedge powered FXR he took home the 3000-A-PBG class record crushing his own record from 155.877 mph to 177.539 mph! He reports that this year is his last as a pilot, but will be bringing a “rookie” to the salts next year to ride this power house.  AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Pete Hill, "Godfather of Speed", in his 80 years has raced the drag strip and took home many championships. Wink Eller was honored to lend his leathers and S&S X-Wedge powered motorcycle to this legend. This is Pete’s first run down the salt it was a screaming 163.652 mph!

ZmanKenneth Zetterquist

Kenneth Zetterquist (aka Zman) is the owner of Z Man Machining in Chico, CA. With his supercharged Ironhead Sportster took home two records. For the 1000-APS-PBG class he bumps the record from 151.439 mph to 153.729 mph and the 1000-APS-PBF class he takes it from 150.732 mph to 151.075 mph.  Zman has been to all 10 of the BUB Motorcycle Speed Trail events. This year, he improved his Ironhead Sportster with an S&S 55th Anniversary Limited Edition Black Super G Carb and gained 14 hp!

CaylaRivasCayla Rivas

At age 13, Cayla Rivas is the youngest to have set a record at the BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials. Following the footsteps of her father Chris Rivas and his World's Fastest Bagger, she and her father took a 500cc Buell Blast and modified it to 250cc. The record is now 68.442 mph for the 250-MPS-PG class.

 

 

 

 

 

TheChopParlorThe Chop Parlor

Last year, Dean Young, S&S Cycle Events Team Leader, helped rookies Drew Woodford and Jaden Landwehr with some tuning issues on their 883 Evo Sportster. This alone helped improve their time significantly, but they did not set a record.  For their second year, they improved the valve train with S&S upgrades (600 cams, rocker arms, tappets and pushrods). Their first run on Sunday unfortunately left them with busted stock pinion gears.  They came over to the S&S Cycle Pit Stop, called up the S&S headquarters in Viola, Wis. and had S&S pinion gears overnighted to Utah. They were up and running for Tuesday racing and took home the record for the 1000-M-PF class, taking it from 95.832 mph to 140.761 mph.

RileyFischerWittRiley-Fischer-Witt

This trio was out to attempt a trifecta this year with their Alloy 100” S&S powered 1998 Sportster. They took home a record at both the East Coast Timing Association in Wilmington Ohio Mile in June and the Loring Timing Association 1 ½ mile track in Caribou Maine in July. For the BUB Motorcycle Speed Trails, they took home two records, the 1650-M-PG class bumped from 169.627 mph to 174.946 mph and the 1650-M-PF class from 167.561 mph to 172.872 mph.

 

 

JayAllen WinkEllerJay Allen

This year, Jay rebuilt his S&S B2 head T124 engine with a shorter stroke to be more competitive in the 2000 class. It proved to be a good move as he took home a record at the 2013 BUB Motorcycle Speed Trails for the 2000-M-PF class at 170 mph. In addition, he took home two records at the 2013 Speed Week (Aug. 10 – 16).

 

 

 

 

JoeTaylorRacingJoe Taylor Racing

The Goose returns with vengeance! After last year’s rear cylinder piston detonated that put a stop to their racing on the salt, Joe Taylor and Pilot Terry “Gunner” Spears return to 2013 BUB Motorcycle with knucklehead known as “The Goose” was rebuilt with S&S Vintage products and took home the record for 1000-MPS-VG class with an impressive bump from 109.079 mph to 123.249 mph.

 

 

 

ConfederateConfederate Motors Inc.

Last year, Jim Hoegh earned the title of the World’s Fastest Unfaired Big Block V-Twin with a record of 172.211 mph on his 132” S&S X-Wedge powered Confederate Hellcat motorcycle . This year, he bumped this record to 177.266 mph for the 3000-A-PF class. He also exceeded his personal goal with his fastest run of 181.373 mph.

Records Summary (Pending Certification. Official records will be posted at  www.americanmotorcyclist.com) 

Team

Pilot

Class

Down

Return

Record

Wink Eller

Wink Eller

3000-A-PBG

179.134

175.945

177.539

FRCP/JRV Racing

Kenneth Zetterquist

1000-APS-PBG

153.478

153.979

153.729

FRCP/JRV Racing

Kenneth Zetterquist

1000-APS-PBF

151.805

150.353

151.075

Chris Rivas V-Twin

Cayla Rivas

250-MPS-PG

70.180

66.704

68.442

The Chop Parlor

Jaden Landwehr

1000-M-PF

139.755

141.766

140.761

Riley-Fischer-Witt

Jim Fischer

1650-M-PG

174.299

175.594

174.946

Riley-Fischer-Witt

Jim Fischer

1650-M-PF

175.731

170.013

172.872

Jay Allen Racing

Jay Allen

2000-M-PF

169

170

170

Joe Taylor Racing

Terry Spears

1000-MPS-VG

122.624

123.873

123.249

Confederate Motors Inc.

Jim Hoegh

3000-A-PF

176.878

178.314

177.596

BUB2013 Teams

John Hall wins Chevrolet Performance US Nationals. Top 6 Are S&S Powered.

  
  
  
  
  
  

2013 NHRA IND Hall WC

Picture and text by Matt Polito

John Hall took his second NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle event win of his career in stunning fashion: coming from the 15th position to beat three former champs including his teammate, crew chief and team owner Matt Smith in the final at the biggest drag race of them all, the Chevrolet Performance US Nationals at Indy.

Hall, riding the Viper Motorcycle S&S-powered Buell overcame a final round holeshot by Smith - also riding a Viper Motorcycle S&S-powered Buell - to take the win at “The Big Go” and put himself in a strong position to contend for the NHRA Championship.

“This team gives me the opportunity to win,” said Hall. “I never thought I would get a Wally. To have two in one season and to win Indy is something special.”

Hector Arana looked like he had the hot bike at Indy, qualifying his Lucas Oil Buell on the pole with a 6.938 elapsed time at 193.88 mph. 

S&S powered Buells have dominated qualifying this year but at Indy other makes challenged the stranglehold with Eddie Krawiec (H-D) and LE Tonglet (Suzuki) claiming the number 2 and 3 spots. Still, S&S-powered bikes accounted for over half  (ten) of the 16 qualified entries.

Hall put himself in a difficult spot.  Qualifying in the back of the pack with a 7.022, he would have to face defending series champ Krawiec in round one. 

“I was responsible for my poor qualifying performance,” said Hall, who has been qualifying consistently in the top half of the field. “I left before the tree was activated in what was the best conditions of the weekend so I got no time on the run.”

Hall’s bike came alive in eliminations as he put up a 6.97 to turn back Krawiec’s 7.01. Hall then scored a huge holeshot win over Michael Ray on the Sovereign/Star Racing Buell in round two before advancing to the final with a semifinal victory over Tonglet, the only non-Buell in the round of four.

On the other side of the ladder Smith took out Arana – who had set low elapsed time and top speed of eliminations in round one at 6.948 seconds, 194.16 mph – with a massive holeshot before winning a 7.018-7.019 squeaker over Scotty Pollacheck in the semifinals

Smith, also looking for his second win of the season, put a holeshot on Hall in the final but his bike was off-pace and Hall took the win 7.03 to 7.06.

“My bike was hurting itself in the semis,” said Smith. “We didn’t have time to change the motor and there was no pressure to because our team had already won the race.”

The US Nationals was the last chance for racers to earn a spot in the “Countdown” to the NHRA championship.  Now only the top ten riders have a chance to win the big Wally championship trophy at the end of the season.  S&S-powered bikes dominate the top 10 rankings, holding the top six spots and eight of the 10 positions.

Leading the way is Hector Arana Jr. on the second Lucas Oil Buell.  After winning the first three races of the season, Arana Jr. has never relinquished the points lead and with the most event wins of any racer this season (four), he is the favorite to win the championship in only his second year of racing.  Following Arana Jr. in the points is Smith (one win), Michael Ray (two wins), Hall (two wins), Arana Sr. (no wins), and Scott Pollacheck (no wins). 

The NHRA Countdown to the championship begins at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte NC.

Going The Extra Quarter Mile At The Sturgis Dragway

  
  
  
  
  
  

A Special Sturgis Narrative By Chris Clemens of S&S

Working in the motorcycle industry gives me an opportunity to make my daily bread surrounded by machines and people that bring me joy. My boss actually pays me to ride across country on a company bike and partake in the revelry of Sturgis! That’s a pretty good deal by my accounting. But sometimes the deal gets even better, sometimes quite unpredictably.

On a warm and dry Wednesday morning at the Sturgis Dragway, S&S Cycle hosted an event in which individuals had an opportunity to ride their own machines wide open down the drag strip followed by a second pass on a Harley-Davidson® Dyna® model fitted with a fire breathing 124 cubic inch engine pushing 130 hp and 135 ft/lbs of torque.

That day, nineteen riders shared in this experience and, by all accounts, were thrilled by the opportunity. Once all of the participants had moved along, something very special happened. One of those moments where a man can feel good about what he does, not because it brings him a tangible reward or compensation, but because his actions bring joy to others, unsolicited, unexpected.

Dean Young, my friend and colleague who basically lives on the road promoting the S&S brand and representing the company at events, had arranged for one of our dealers, Harry Saunders from Shooters and Scooters in Troy, MT to participate in the event at the Dragway. Harry’s experience that day would not be of the standard variety, and in this most unexpected place, turned out to be something quite meaningful and gratifying. In the resplendent summer sun amidst the superficial attractions of Sturgis, we were going to send a one armed man down the track.

Harry T124 DemoHarry had lost his right arm in an unintended dynamite explosion while working as an excavator. He described being lifted 15 feet into the air and tossed 100, sure that his time on this earth would end that day. It didn’t though, and here he was, in the flesh and with most of his bones, ready to seize this moment in his life that he so very nearly lost. Don’t for a moment believe that Harry is a charity case or dependent on the goodwill of others. No, Harry rode his own specially modified bike to the track, we simply modified ours to make this occasion one in which he could partake. In the place of his right arm is a prosthesis that looks Terminator cool and is emblazoned with two stickers, one the Harley-Davidson® bar and shield, the other, the S&S banner.

Harry has modified his handlebars to suit his needs. The throttle has been moved to the left grip, above it are two levers; a relatively small clutch lever that is actuated with the left index finger and a longer brake lever that is actuated with his other three digits. The right side of the bar is bare, save for a post approximately 1 ½” in diameter and maybe 4” tall that Harry can grasp with the hook of his prosthesis. He moves his bike along quite well, struggling only slightly to pull it around on tight right turns.

Harry, Dean, and I removed the handlebars from our Dyna and replaced them with another set that Harry brought, strapped to the back of his bike. The bar was bare, save for the aforementioned post on the right handle. We then removed the controls and throttle cables from his bike and installed the assembly and bars onto the Dyna. Within a half hour, the conversion was complete and our friend was prepared to make his pass.

It’s sometimes easy in the day-to-day load of work, family, and everyday struggles, to become dissatisfied or complacent. At times like this, a moment of introspection reminds us of how fortunate we really are; how on our worst days, we are still much better off than many people in this world. I couldn’t help but get a shiver up my spine and goose bumps down my arms as Harry slowly rolled the bike up to the timing tree at the home end of the drag strip. After some quick instruction, Harry pulled on his glove, nestled his safety glasses atop his nose, leaned forward into the bars and waited, just a brief moment, then fed the ground rattling 124” engine a fist full of gasoline and in an ear pounding blast, launched the bike down the strip. Harry returned to the starting line and repeated his trip down the strip probably a half dozen times, each time more comfortable with the machine, each time faster down the track. The smile on Harry’s face each time he returned told us that we had done well. Our seemingly very small gesture had created a moment hopefully very big in one man’s life.

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