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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

My 2012 Bonneville Adventure - by Jeff Bailey

  
  
  
  
  
  
2012 Bonneville Jeff BaileyWritten 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.

bike modWe 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.

team baileyTo 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.

You can't win 'em all! Lessons learned at Motorcycle Speed Trials

  
  
  
  
  
  

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.

Bonneville Knuckle
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

The Gray Ghost Project: Victory on the salt.

  
  
  
  
  
  

Gray Ghost on the saltOne 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.

GreyGhostTeam

Bonneville Racer Profile #4: Flathead Power® Goes To The Salt!

  
  
  
  
  
  

john endrizziKnucklehead enthusiast, John Endrizzi tells us about the trials and tribulations, and hopefully a happy ending to a project to run a 61” knucklehead EL at Bonneville. In his own words…

"Land Speed Racing is an experience that can be compared to no other type of internal combustion engine performance testing. Preparation is the real key to success. As a boy, the names Craig Breedlove, Mickey Thompson, and Art Arfons were watchwords in my imagination. I devoured coverage of Speed Week in Hot Rod and other magazines. To me, the Salt was a very mystical place.

In 2009 I attended the BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials at the Bonneville Salt Flats. I met and became friends with the Buell® Bros Racing Team that year. Pilot Joe Taylor bettered the 1350APS-PG AMA record to 176.29 mph (over 23 mph increase on the previous record). Between runs that week, Joe and I made a great friendship. We found that among other things, we share a passion for Harley-Davidson® Knuckleheads. Soon we found ourselves planning to build a 1939 EL to run at BUB.

Being amateur historians, it was appropriate that we picked the Vintage Partially Streamlined class to run in. Joe Petrali ran a dual carb El at Daytona to a speed of 136.183 mph on March 13, 1937. Our goal is to better that speed. The current record in our class (1000 MPS-VG) is 109.079 mph held by a Vincent.

bonneville knuckleJoe had much of what we needed for a start on the build. Stock cases are a major requirement. Joe had cases, cylinders and heads along with a chassis. The road to making them raceable was a long twisted path! We found a willing engine builder and proceeded. Unfortunately he passed away unexpectedly shortly before BUB last year. During probate, it became apparent that most of the internal engine components had been misplaced. That set us back to the point where racing at BUB 2011 was impossible.

During the winter we acquired virtually all the needed engine parts from S&S®/Flathead Power®. Lee Wickstrom of Leeʼs Speed shop in Savage, Minnesota had helped us with special valve gear early on. After finding out that we had lost Tim Riste as our motor builder, Lee immediately volunteered to do the build. Lee, a long time drag racer, built a very cool alcohol burning 1950ʼs style drag bike called the Knuckledragger that flat screams. Knowing this, assurance that we had a winning combination was locked in. As this is written, we are in the final thrash of preparation for BUB. Late night wrenching and covert highway testing is still before us. With inspiration coming from Joe Petrali, George Smith and Bud Schmidt (all pioneers of Knucklehead racing) we look forward to adding the Buell Brothers name as record holders in this elite group."

Thank you John and good luck in Bonneville!

Salt & Speed! Bonneville Racer Profile #3: Jimbo Fischer & The Gray Ghost

  
  
  
  
  
  

One of the many racers who will be attending the BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials this August is Jimbo Fischer. This is a pretty cool story so we’ll let Jimbo tell it in his own words.

The Gray Ghost Story

Jimbo"It was an early Sunday morning, spring 2001. Just finished making my first cup of morning coffee, and I hear my wife Barbara call me over to the table. “Hey Jimbo” she says, “ there is an old 1974 Sportster in the paper here, and it says it needs some work, you used to be pretty good at that. – (I worked in a machine shop in early 70’s, and made custom parts, and built my first Sportster from scratch in 71) – Why don’t we go and check it out, you need a hobby besides work”. I am to say the least, a bit surprised, pinching my cheek to make sure I am not dreaming. Not one to argue with this woman much, I just had to say, “yah, that sounds like a good idea sweetheart”. A call was made, a meeting set. We got there and first look made it well said,” needs some work”. Leaning on the side of the garage with a raggedy old tarp on it. Rolling it into the drive I first noticed the S&S carb, then the dual plugged cylinder heads. The young man tells me it was his dad’s bike and was given to him, but he couldn’t keep it running right. Said it was an old S&S stroker. Hhmm hadn’t been plated in over a year.

After about a ½ hr. of tinkering, we got him started, made a deal we could both live with, and began the journey home. Got only half way to the expressway, coughin’, spittin’, sputterin’, and here comes a good spring rain storm to finish the ride to his new home. I kind’a laughed while riding in the rain in that condition thinking, “oh well it’s our Baptism, here we go”. We spent the next year or so doing a frame off restoration. Giving him a retro look with FL struts and rear fender with a Beehive tail light, an old Mustang Bobber tank, keeping the old style pull back handlebars, & head light.

Taking the engine apart. The lower end checked out ok, but he needed a fresh valve job, & rings. Sure enough, it is a 4 5/8 S&S Stroker, complete w/ rods and pistons, with a set of Andrews X series cams, big XLR valves and some nicely done head work.

Riding him to some HOG meetings one of the guys said, why don’t you enter him into the dealers’ choice for the 100th H-D Anniversary in Milwaukee. I figure it’s a long shot, there are a lot of very cool newer bikes out there. So entry was filled out, pictures sent. Couple of months go by, I have just about forgotten about it when Barb comes into the garage holding an envelope. “You looking for this Jimbo”? I see the 100th logo in the corner and start to freak out. Sure enough, the Old Gray Ghost was invited to partake in the Harley 100th as part of the personal collection exhibit. That was stage one.

Stage two came about a year or so later when Barb, once again she started it, brought up the idea of going to the AMA-BUB International Speed Trials at Bonneville and do the “Run whatcha brung”. That’s all it took. After being there, you realize why they call it, “Salt Fever”. That year, we came within 14mph of the existing record for his class. Too tempting to pass up, we spent the next year getting him set up for some real action on the salt. Making a 4in. extended swing arm, making our own oil tank and battery box to narrow his frontal exposure, getting properly speed rated tires, and a whole punch list of requirements. With some parts help and good advise from old friend Steve Manthey, and some tires from Ozzie at WildFire we were headed back to the Salt Lake.

First pass in 07 found a slipping clutch at about 110mph. Back to the pits, make the adjustments, get ready for the next day. Second day of racing (tach quit working) but brought us a qualifying pass of 121.982 – we had to beat 120.444 – the qualifying pass made us eligible for the return record run (in the opposite direction), which we turned a 125.598mph, establishing a new AMA Land Speed Record for his class with a two way average speed of 123.79.

So this old Sporty, 34 years old, almost parted out, gets brought back to life, comes back a few years later and establishes a new land speed record for his class. M/PP 1350

That’s why we call him – “The Gray Ghost”

gray ghostThis year the Ghost will be returning to the salt, with a completely rebuilt engine, thanks to Jimmy “Smiley” Smith, crew chief for Edge Racing, to try and increase that mph number, and also compete for an FIM International title.

I guess that’s why they call it, “salt fever”.

I gotta say thanks to most of all, my wife Barbara, she found the bike and got me started again. And many thanks to Steve Manthey, to my brothers and family for their support and encouragement in chasing a dream. Last but not least, with all due respect, my many thanks to a world class gentleman named Warner Riley for your tutoring of a junior class Land Speed Enthusiast.

Respectfully
Jim Fischer
Project Gray Ghost
M/PP – 1350
2007 AMA Land Speed Record"

Check back later for “the rest of the story” and we’ll see how the Grey Ghost has been prepared for the 2012 season with a new S&S engine!

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