Written by: Jeff Bailey - Engineering Manager, S&S Cycle
The goal was simple, set a Bonneville land speed record over 200 mph. We had two meets to do it at, the BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials (Aug. 26-30) and World of Speed (Sept 8-11), giving me eight days of racing to work with. The bike had the power to do it and it had proven reliable in the past. The biggest unknown was the new bodywork. Would it go straight? Would it try to fly? Only one way to find out...
This was my first trip to BUB, so the first thing we had to do was understand how they run the event. I started in the MPS-PG 3000 class. This means I had a modified (M), partially streamlined (PS) chassis with a pushrod (P), gas (G) 3000 cc engine. Because this was the first time running the full fairing, I had planned on taking it easy the first run. Even that didn’t go exactly to plan. With a 10-13 mph cross wind, I wasn’t able to even make it through the timing lights after being blown off the course. Not the start I had planned on.
We made sure the alignment was correct, which it was, did a quick 95 mph test run down the return road and headed back out to see if it would go straight. The next run was 201 mph in little to no wind. The bike felt light and not as planted as I would have liked. The 201 did qualify for a record. On the return run the other direction, the wind had picked up, and again I struggled with handling. I wasn’t able to go full throttle and only mustered a 189. This resulted in a 195.732 record. Not 200, but close.
We spent the next two days struggling with handling and traction. I ran a 195.6 and 192 before giving up on the bodywork and switching to a naked (no fairing) class. I hadn’t planned on running the bike naked, so there were plenty of things on the bike that stuck out and made it aerodynamically dirty. We also fabbed up a seat with 2 x 4’s, cardboard and duct tape. Dan Kinsey also went into town looking for any steel or lead weights. The best he could come up with were two 12 lb sledge hammers. We cut the handles off and attached them to the bike with hose clamps and scraps of welded metal.
Now in the M-PG 3000 class, I set off in hopes to set another record. The first run netted a 192.914 mph. The bike felt more planted and hooked up although still not great. The return run started from the other end of the course where the salt was worse and bumpier. I was only able to go 185.235, but that was good for a 189.075 record.
That was the end of the BUB meet, but not an end for this year’s racing. I was happy with the records, but not happy to leave without a 200 mph record.
For the World of Speed (WOS) meet we built a steel skeleton to replace the flat aluminum belly pan used at BUB. Dan also built some brackets that would allow about 60 lbs to be added to the bike. We also went over everything else including pulling the heads and cylinders for inspection. Everything looked great, so with a fresh set of rings, it went back together.
After completing the third 1500 mile trip in a few days, we were back on the salt to take another crack at a 200 mph record. This time it was at the USFRA World of Speed. The salt was good and the wind was calm, so I set off on a test run on Saturday morning. Now in the APS-PF class, I ran 197.7 to qualify on a 184.6 record. The bike really hooked up and felt stable. I knew it had more in it, but I took it as a qualifying pass which meant that I was off to impound for the rest of the day. The next morning we made a return run of 203.4 and it was on the rev limiter the whole mile. We finally had something we could tune on and I could ride. With the PF record in the books at 200.577 mph, I changed to the PG class to go after Chris Rivas’ 201.5 record.
In the afternoon on Monday, the bike made a nearly perfect run of 207.74 mph. It was slightly hitting the rev limiter, but more importantly, it continued to handle well and felt very solid. We decided that raising the rev limiter would be better than pulling another tooth off the rear. I thought for sure the next morning (final day of racing) would yield a solid record over 200.
But the following morning, the weather had changed. It had rained over night and it was cool and windy. We held back in the line of qualifiers hoping the weather would change by the time it was our turn. Luckily it seemed to. The wind died and the sun came out just as the guy ahead of me took off. I was feeling good and took off down the course. At about the 1.75 mile mark, a side wind came up and nearly blew me in to the “Q” that marks the 2.25 mile. I tried correcting the bike and getting back into it and actually ran a 196 through the second mile. I thought that would be enough for the record, but didn’t know about a rule that requires the return speed to be averaged with the speed in the same measured mile. By running it in the second mile, it didn’t count towards my average for a record.
To make things a little more exciting, right before the 4 mile marker, the exhaust weakened the fiberglass on the tail section, causing it to break and flap in the wind at 196 mph. With the wind blowing 10 mph straight across the track, I decided to pull the bodywork and switch to the open A-PG 3000 class and tried to break my own record from 2010 of 180.350 mph. We made two quick runs of 191.84 and 192.151 for an average of 191.995 mph. All I can say about those runs is the wind pressure at that speed is amazing. It was really trying to pull me off the bike.
With two records in the books, it was time to head home. One more day of racing would have probably resulted in the APS-PG record that I really wanted, but it wasn’t meant to be.
We will see what next year brings, but for now I want to thank the many people who helped out. I couldn’t have done this without sponsors like S&S Cycle, AirTech, Jimmy John’s and Spectro Oil. Although many people helped out on the project a few guys were very involved. Dan Kinsey contributed his years of knowledge of Bonneville racing as well as machining and fabrication. Gene Dlask kept the bike in race ready condition and made sure I didn’t do anything dumb. Paul Olesen spent hours reworking the fairing and preparing the bike. Rob, Nevin and Jan took care of EFI, data acq and electronics.
Success stories are great and they’re the stories everybody wants to be able to tell. Racing is a test, with racers pushing their machines to the limit in order to get a passing mark. After all, almost setting a record is the same as not setting a record. Sometimes you win, but sometimes one of thousand things that could go wrong does go wrong, and you don’t. It’s how you deal with that situation that shows your measure as a racer. Will you consider a loss to be a defeat, or will you pick yourself up and look forward to the next opportunity to win.
Here is a letter from John Endrizzi from the Joe Taylor Racing Team to Eric Wangen, the S&S product line manager for Flathead Power®. Eric provided support to the team by sending some much needed FHP engine parts the build the knucklehead race engine.
Hi Eric, I wish to send a very big thank you for all you have done in getting the Joe Taylor Racing Team off the ground. Without the S&S FHP sponsorship, our Land Speed Racing efforts would be dead. There was a whirlwind of activity at Terry Spears Gunners Cycle shop in Webster Wi. prior to BUB. Most of the fabrication on “The Goose” (formerly EL Bonnie Knuck) had been completed over the winter months. Lee Wickstrom had a full plate when he stepped up to do our motor build. He spent many hours wrenching after he should have been home with his wife. We took delivery of the motor about 12 days before taking off for Bonneville. We had arranged to do Dyno testing at Fairbault HD. The dyno operator called the day before we completed the bike to say that he had blown up the dyno. I made a frantic call to my friend Pat Lehmann who is the dyno tech at Rochester HD. He volunteered to run The Goose at the dealership on his day off. A baseline was established and the bike loaded up, leaving for Wendover two days later. A blown out trailer tire made the trip extra exciting! I flew out and joined the Team on Sat, Aug 25. We spent Sat and much of Sunday preparing The Goose for tech. After passing tech Sunday afternoon we had a freak thunderstorm, which left 2 inches of standing water on the Salt. Racing resumed Tuesday morning! We made our first pass that day after waiting in the starting queue for over 4 hours. By the time Terry set off from the starting line a very brisk crosswind had come up. He found the bike being blown from one side of the course almost hitting a marker flag on the opposite side. This was in the measured mile. He backed off the throttle. Later, he said that he was at 1/2 throttle and accelerating when the gust of wind hit him. The result was 115.929 mph. This was enough to break the Sid Biberman Vincent’s standing record of 109.079. By the time that we got the bike back to the pit, the wind speed had not died at all. It was decided not to make the return pass, which would be needed to post a new record. The next morning it was another long wait for our turn to run. Terry got off the line in good fashion and the bike sounded good thru 1-3rd gears. At the top of third, a little change in the motors rhythm was heard. While on the way down the return road, we heard the announcer say that our bike had run 59 MPH! Once back at the pit we found the rear cylinder had a holed piston. That was end of racing for The Goose! As I write this, the motor is still together. We are taking the motor down to Lee’s Speed Shop tomorrow for teardown. We suspect that the hole was NOT caused by a lean or detonation condition. More on this when we are finished with the examination. Well that’s a brief run down. I’m thinking of making a scouting trip to Wilmington, Ohio on Sept 29-30 for the ECTA Throttle Nation Bike only Land Speed Races. This would be in preparation for running The Goose there next April. We are down right now, but far from out! Thanks again Eric!
John K. Endrizzi, Joe Taylor, and Terry Spears
One of the many racers who ran S&S parts at the BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials last August was Jimbo Fischer. This is a pretty cool story so we’ll let Jimbo tell it in his own words.
Well we sure proved the quality, strength, and endurance of the S&S Super Stock SB-100 engine this year at the BUB/AMA Speed trials at Bonneville.
The “Great White Dyno” threw us a couple glitches as usual, that were analyzed and remedied quickly. We had to beat the existing record of 156.096 - An early lesson from Warner is - Don’t waste a minute of time - get there and beat the record first day out. That’s exactly what we did, three times.
After we set a new record of 162.299 mph on the first runs, Dyno Mike downloaded data - the decision was made to change the rear wheel sprocket and drop one tooth. Next time out the following day - we broke the record again, with a two way average of 167.418 mph. He’s still pulling hard so the decision was made to change the rear wheel sprocket again and drop one more tooth. That resulted in a third qualifying record run of 168.702 - In the impound the decision was made to check data - The ignition being on for the process a bit too long made for some high drama at the 5mi. start for the return record run. After trailering the bike to the 5 mi. start the signal was given - we’re next up - get ready. I hit the start button - and - it’s a very low battery - engine won’t turn over. OH S**t ! !
Trying to push start it - he won’t go - Suddenly, like the Cavalry coming to the rescue - Jeff Bailey and some of the S&S crew pull up with a starter pack and we get him fired up.
So with a little last minute high drama we were off to our best speed for the meet, and brought in a 170.552 mph and a two way average of 169.627 for a third time AMA Record in four days of racing.
I must say a huge THANK YOU to my team mates Warner & Mike, as well as to George Smith and all the great talent at S&S that put this engine together, and to our sponsors who also helped with much needed parts - like Wayne & Donna Pingel, and Jim Wallin at AutoMeter and the folks at Magnetrol flow & control.
Four days of racing, breaking the AMA record three consecutive times puts me on cloud nine.
Santa not visiting your house this year due to your questionable behavior? Here is your chance to WIN BIG for the holidays!
If you were at the AMD Championship at the last incarnation of the one-and-only Sturgis Rally, you may remember this bike. If you do not, let us get you up to speed.
Darwin Motorcycles has developed a sporty machine with a lot of (X-Wedge) muscle. This bike, dubbed the "RLX", won 1st in the "Production Class" at the 2011 AMD World Championship of Bike Building. That class is no easy ticket to come out on top of!
This bike was built for 2 reasons:
1) "To build an American Muscle Bike that pays tribute to Bobby Rahal and his storied racing career."
2) "To raise money to support our troops through military charities, Steel Anchor and Pros 4 Vets" (to be raffled off January, 2012)
Seriously... how awesome is that?!
Heard enough? GET YOUR TICKETS TO WIN HERE!
Darwin Motorcycles could have slapped some shiny parts together for your average chopper, put a price tag on it and given a portion of the proceeds away and called it a day. Not the case! This is an exceptional motorcycle with the highest quality components, some by yours truly, and award winning design that its sole purpose was to be raffled off to raise money for our troops. (I'll give you a second for an appropriate hardy slow-clap.)
The RLX was featured in the January edition of IronWorks Magazine and they had plenty of good things to say about it.
"I’ve mentioned it before; the most exciting part of working with creative people who make stuff is watching things come together. I’ve seen this machine in various forms and described in various conversations, captions, FB posts, emails, and texts so that I had a clear image of it in my mind’s eye before I had ever seen it in the “tin.” But when I first saw the bones of the machine last year in Daytona, I was knocked out. It was so much cooler and tougher in person, I couldn’t wait to see it done and flying down the road.
I got that chance this past Sturgis. Dar, Bryan, Tim, and the Brass Balls/Darwin Motorcycles team had kicked some major booty with this machine at the AMD show with a win in the very competitive Production Class and were feeling good about the results of all of their effort. The bike was a killer and knowledgeable folks had recognized that, we all know how good it feels when hard work is recognized." -Stephen Berner
Darwin Motorcycles: RLX
S&S Cycle: 132" X-Wedge
Baker Drivetrain: FFP primary w/ King
Kong Clutch and 6-speed transmission
D&D: Materials for 2-into-1-into 3 stainless
exhaust, built by Darwin Motorcycles
Beringer: Dual 4-piston front and single
4-piston rear brakes plus hand controls
Brock's Performance: BST Carbon Fiber
wheels, 19"x120mm front, 19"x180mm rear
WorldWide Bearings: Ceramic bearing sets
Dunlop: Sportmax tires
Ohlins: Road/Track suspension
Racing Innovations: Muscle Bike frame
Autometer: STACK race gauge
Braille: Carbon fiber battery
Vortex: Clip-ons, sprocket, gas cap
Vortex/Darwin: foot controls with reverse
Joker Machine: Bar end mirrors
Motion Pro: Cables and switches
MoFlo: Air cleaner
Alloy Art: Headlight
Hix Design: Custom seat
Escort/Passport: Radar detector (machined
into top clamp)
Cycle Electric: Regulator and Stator
Shark Skins: Front fender
Paint: Manny's Ink & Air
Darwin Motorcycles: Tag bracket, custom
bodywork, custom top clamp and rear
brake hanger using Summit Machine.
Designer, Dar Holdsworth had a few things to say about the build / charity: "At Darwin Motorcycles, we build a no compromise custom/production bike using only the highest quality components. We machine everything to fit perfectly. There is a performance edge to our bikes...
I wanted to go farther: more power, more sport/cafe inspired styling. I could not stop thinking about this next bike. How could I bring it to life: out of my head, onto paper, and onto our bike lift? I decided the best way to develop this bike was to pay it forward. To build it then give it away at the end—and that is what we did.
See, I do a bike every year that supports the military. I knew with such a tight economy, I’d have to do something big to get contributions from the top suppliers I was seeking to partner with... All proceeds go to Steel Anchor and
Pros For Vets charities. The components listed in the sidebar were generously donated by these exceptional suppliers; Darwin Motorcycles built the bike for free."
Tickets are only $20.
The bike is valued at over $50,000!
Only 3,500 tickets are being sold!!
Darwin Motorcycles is raffling this bike through midnight pacific standard time, December 24th and need your help to raise as much money as possible to support our troops. Winner will be selected January, 2012. Good luck!
Our friends over at the PowerSport Institute, who carry out our S&S Dealer technical training program, along with tech training for all aspects of the powersports industry, have a new project to show off. Last August during the 2011 Sturgis rally, the students and instructors at PSI unveiled a custom bike build that was entered into the AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building.
This build is the pride and vision of PowerSport Institute Students. Hence the bike's name, "Students Pride". This 2004 Big Dog has an S&S 107" engine and was hand built by the students from fabrication of fuel tank, forming of handmade side covers, fitting the seat pan to Corbin one-off seat and mounting Corbin bags to a Softail Frame. The one-off pipes were designed and manufactured by SuperTrapp. All molding, paint prep, selection and application completed by PSI students with assistance of PSI Instructors.
Student Builders (from left to right): Brenda Riley, Angelica Hrach, Brandon Timberman, Matt Laughbaum, Tom Lucas, John Fabrizio, Carl Lehman. Not pictured: Samuel Doyle, Nat John, Lucas Berkes, Wade Haller and Thomas McDaniel
PSI's Campus Director, Bernie Thompson reflected: "I enjoyed the enthusiasm and the passion the students demonstrated during the build, they knew it was for a special event and took a lot of pride in the workmanship. I enjoyed the entire event to see the industries creative minds with their unique craftsmanship skill was incredible. PSI was the only technical school entered into the event with some of the best bike builders in the world. A special thanks to S&S for your support."
This bike was built with industry partners support.
- S&S supplied engine components
- Baker Driveline supplied a complete transmission
- Gardner Westcott supplied all the fastners
- Super Trap built a one off exhaust for our students
- Jim’s supplied all tools that the students used for this build
- Tricky Air supplied the rear and front Springer air suspension
- Avon supplied the tires for this build
- Corbin supplied the rear bag and fender assembly
- Diamond Heads supplied PSI with a great job on cutting the heads and cylinders
- Daytona Sensors supplied the Ignition
- Accel supplied other ign parts
- Cosmetics supplied all the gaskets and seals
- Frame Lock supplied a frame loc system for the bike to be transported with... and worked GREAT
- Sherwin Auto Paint supplied the paint and supplies for this build
This is PSI's first entry into the AMD World Championship and their efforts were well recieved. The PSI bike placed 8th in the Production Manufacturer class and walked away with a very nice 9th place, out of 87 bikes, for the people's choice internet contest. Well done! We look forward to seeing what the students at the PowerSport Institute comes up with next year for the AMD build.
But, that's not all... PSI is gearing up for SEMA in November. At this show, a couple of lucky students have been invited to attend and build a bike during the show. This bike started out as a 2002 Stock CVO bike and will be air brushed by the Ohio Technical College during the show and as the students from PSI are building.
Related: S&S takes a road trip to the PowerSport Institute facility for S&S Dealer training classes.
Last week at the BUB International Motorcycle Speed Trials at the Bonneville salt flats, there was much to see.
Customers of S&S hit the salt and came away from it with new land speed records! First up was Jay Allen of the Broken Spoke Race Team. You may know him as the bandana wielding owner of the original Broken Spoke Saloon in Sturgis. Jay came to BUBs with his FXR, powered by an S&S® V124 engine built by Jeff Lange of Different Strokes. The heads were B2 heads ported by Rob Schopf of Rob Schopf Performance. Jay broke not 1, not 2, but 3 land speed records within the two weeks of BUBs. (actual numbers coming shortly when released).
Next up is veteran land speed racer, Wink Eller. Wink broke the old record of 167.335 mph in the A-PF 3000 class with a run of 169.558 mph. He also worked with Jay Allen of Broken Spoke Racing to help him set his three records. Some time during the meet Wink sustained a pretty bad cut on his leg, and proceeded to stitch it up by himself so he could race the next day. There's a video of the stitchery on YouTube, but be warned, it may be hard to watch if you have a weak stomach! Wink took Jay's bike for a run and qualified at over 192 mph, but due to bad weather did not have the opportunity to back it up. He vows he will be back in October for the world finals.
Last but not least is Chris Rivas. The quest to find the 2011 World's Fastest Bagger is officially completed, and the award goes once again to Chris Rivas of Chris Rivas V-Twin in Fresno CA. Chris, riding the newly upgraded “Aero Glide” designed by Carl Brouhard Designs, completed the timed mile with an average speed of 195.036 mph to turn in the fastest measured mile ever on a Bagger. Thanks to a special appearance by S&S Cycle's Executive Chairman & CEO George B. Smith, after a 20 year hiatus, some very smart tuning decisions were made in order to accomplish what some thought to be impossible. Even though exit speeds are not a part of the official times, it is now clear that a 200 mph lap on a Bagger is very attainable. Not only is the body design unique, The Aero Glide motorcycle also has several very unique features such as a naturally aspirated 240 HP S&S Powered 167 cubic inch Twin Cam that button starts, thanks to the S&S Easy Start Camshafts designed by the engineers at S&S Cycle.
*More from George below
2011 Return and Recollections
By: George B. Smith
Driving across Utah, headed for Wendover and the Bonneville Salt Flats, with my wife Connie, a wave of emotions and thoughts flooded through my mind.
Twenty years ago, at the 1991 BNI Meet, I had been here with Dan Kinsey, Floyd Baker, Uncle Sid (Smith), and the rest of the S&S team with Tramp III running nitro in the APS 2000cc fuel class. We set a 226MPH record but were not satisfied. Dan and the Tramp had been clocked at over 239MPH and we knew it could run faster but it drove through the clutch on our last attempt. We packed up and took the long drive back to Viola, Wisconsin and proceeded to make modifications so we could return to the late fall USFRA meet and go 250MPH or better. We reloaded the trailer and got as far as Wyoming when the snows came and the meet was called. The dejected crew returned to Wisconsin and unfortunately, Tramp III ended up in the S&S Museum never to return to the Salt.
I thought back to my first trip to the Salt with my Dad just after joining S&S. We were running three Harley street bikes testing S&S parts with Warner Riley doing the riding. It was my first opportunity work with Warner that began our motorcycle work relationship which has lasted all these years. I developed a passion and respect for “the great white dyno” as the ultimate test bed for horse power, longevity, and handling. Painfully, that was the only trip I enjoyed with my Dad because he unexpectedly passed away.
The heavy responsibility fell on those who remained at S&S Cycle after Dad’s passing. With me and Floyd Baker assuming the lion’s share of R&D and product designing, enter Denis Manning into my life. He called and asked if S&S wanted to collaborate on a Bonneville project. What better way for me to get my feet wet and learn about go-fast-parts then to work with Denis! The collaboration between Denis and S&S Cycle was not new. In 1970 Denis, Warner, and my Dad worked with Harley to set the motorcycle world land speed record at over 265MPH. After talking it over, I called back Denis and said yes under one condition—that Denis collaborate with S&S to design a conventional motorcycle Bonneville racer. He agreed. And work began on what we called Tramp III.
Thinking of all the time I had been away from the Salt brought pangs of guilt as I rationalized reasons to explain my absence. In 1992, Ma died and the family was dealing with her loss. The following year, I began to get involved in designing the first Harley drag bike to go 200MPH in the quarter mile. I quit S&S daily operations in order to work on this and other R&D projects. The thought of a blown nitro S&S powered V-twin “Harley” drag bike to be the first in the 6’s and over 200MPH became my passion. Andy Gotsis and Steve Rominski would develop the chassis working with Sandy Kosman and I and S&S would do the engine. Our relationship with the late Elmer Trett proved invaluable as Elmer coached us on the fuel system among other things. We missed being the first bike to run in the 6’s by a month or two but in May of 1995, at Richmond, Virginia, Andy Gotsis on the S&S blower bike was the first Harley to crack 200 in a quarter mile. The bike was a hit and coined “the loudest bike on the planet.” I still have people come up and ask about that bike.
The blower bike project was replaced by helping Dave Feazell run S&S engines to win the number one plate in the AHDRA Pro-stock class. We did that in 1997 and again in 1998. The AHDRA project gave way to interest in the NHRA Pro stock motorcycle class where there was growing effort to develop competitive V-twins to liven up the competition. But at that time S&S was gearing up to build complete engines for the growing custom bike chopper craze in the U.S., so I was not able to get the funding necessary to develop a special purpose NHRA pro stock motorcycle v-twin engine. When Harley entered the fray in 2001, the Board approved the project. Work began in earnest using what I and S&S had learned over the years including experimenting on projects with Dave’s invaluable help. The first production prototype was completed by August of 2003 and was enclosed in a chassis that George Bryce and I had developed with Sandy Kosman’s expertise doing the fabricating and body work. The engine was 60º V-twin, in line cylinders (forked rod), 4 cam pushrod, two valve head motor patterned after the Sportster engine. Always being Harley guys, it was logical from an S&S stand point to use Buell bodywork. The bike debuted at Columbus, Ohio NHRA national event in the spring of 2004, qualified number two, and received the NHRA Best Engineered Vehicle award. The S&S Buell enjoyed great success winning the first national event in Las Vegas 2004. Since then, over 30 S&S Buells have been produced, winning championships on three continents including the NHRA in 2007 and 2009. Today, about half the NHRA qualifying field is comprised of S&S powered Buells.
So what do me and S&S do for an encore? Back to the Salt! As Connie and I drove into the pits at the 2011 BUB all motorcycle world land speed trials I wondered who would be there besides Denis, Warner, and Chris Rivas—who I had been helping with his S&S powered world’s fastest bagger project. I must admit I was a little nervous but that feeling disappeared in a hurry when I talked to Denis, Warner, Chris, John Yeates, Jay Allen, Wink Eller, Sam Wills and many many others. I helped Chris set a new bagger record of 193.9— thrilling! Attending the awards banquet on Thursday night was a humbling experience as S&S’s contribution to Bonneville land speed racing was warmly recognized with John Yeates and his wife Dexter presenting me with a copy of a new book recognizing the 1970 Harley record achievement which was autographed for me by three of the crew in attendance in 1970— Dennis Manning, Warner Riley, and John Yeates. My return to Bonneville was a very intense and satisfying experience for me and I’m thankful to all for making me feel so welcome. I’ll be back next year!