Moto Guzzi Pushrod Engined Land
Speed Record Assault
Reports from Bonneville 2001
Day 1, August 10, 2001
Well, after Continental Airlines' serious attempt to lose me, I finally made it at 1:30 AM. I just got a call from Russell and he's stuck in Dallas....same saga, different guy.
In any case, it is seriously hot here......99 degrees and 43% humidity on the Salt today. It took an age, 'cause there's really a lot of competitors here but we finally got the Lemans through tech inspection. It was like a proctological exam.....they examined everything with a microscope, bike, logs, riding gear, me...arggghhh
Tomorrow, we'll put the Sport through the same ringer.....it looks like Russell did a spectacular job on it!
BTW, they won't accept my ECTA riding credentials so I have to do the Rookie runs to qualify. That's OK because we want to ring out the bike with my mods and then with Todd's carbs....it will look like we're foolin' around without tipping off the competition.
My brain is cooked so we're going to go out for some food (NOT Tex-Mex....Russell isn't here yet!) and then crash early.
Please pass this slightly addled report on to the Team because I'm not subscribed with this little mail machine.
You can get me at this address until Herself gets here with the laptop. OK?
Your Salt buddy,
Day 2, August 11, 2001
I was told by an official that there are 300 competitors entered this year. That's a lot of the most incredible machinery that's ever been assembled anywhere. Bonneville is spectacular because it's the height of pure good old fashioned American ingenuity. Of course there's lots of electronic wizardry but most of the vehicles were built in garages by skilled backyard mechanics. One of the nice things is that the Salt does not recognize age and gender. Some of the vehicles have been built and run for 25 years by the same teams of addicts. A man ahead of me in the tech inspection line is in his late 70's and he's riding a late model GXR with twin Garrette turbochargers! There's a fair sampling of women competitors too. It's nice to see that although, at the risk of being called names, I really don't like pink leathers....there's a Flamingo element somewhere!
Anyway, my body is rehydrating from being out in the sun all day. It was 102 degrees with 22% humidity. The density altitude was 6200 feet while the actual geographic altitude is 4200 feet MSL. This means that because of the thin, superheated air, the bike thinks it's running at 6200 feet while you think it's at 4200. With a power loss of 3% per 1000 feet above sea level, there's some serious power deterioration. Anyway, we got the second bike, the 1100 Sport, through tech with the usual traumas. Right after that, there was a drivers' meeting and we went to fuel the bikes nad have gthe tanks sealed. We went out to the track and waited in the line for about 2 hours. As we were getting close to our turn, the winds started to howl and they shut down the course. Arrrrggghhhh. However, we'll be back at 7:00 AM. We're hoping for a bit of cool weather with higher humidity.
After tomorrow, the crowd will thin out somewhat and we'll be able to run in earnest. We want to do some baseline runs and try some jetting and other fine tuning tricks.
Please edit this epistle and post what remains.
ps. please ask the list of anyone has a set of stock mufflers for an LM V. We need to have a set sent so we can convert the LeMans back to the production class. We hold that record now but can raise the bar a lot in that category.
Day 3, August 12, 2001
We arrived at the start line at the crack of dawn this morning. The other 298 competitors did the same! Just to explain a bit, they're running two tracks simultaneously, the short one for vehicles which don't generally go over 200 mph and a long one for vehicles like Don Vesco's Turbinator which made 470 mph today.
Both Mitch and I finally got in our initial runs as the temperture was beginning to rise. Mitch on the Sport made a 137 mph run which was disappointing to him 'cause the bike is much faster than that. I was required to make a 'Rookie' run of under 125 mph to qualify my Bonneville License and I did a 115. The Lemans was running very poorly because of the rich jets......The Density Altitude was at 5620 feet....the jets are correct for Maxton which is at 84 feet MSL.
After a few tweaks, we got back into the very, very, very long line to run again. The temperature was right at 104 degrees. The skies darkened and Mitch and I got in almost the last two runs before they closed the track because of high winds, turbulence and rain. The Agostini fairing hides the wind conditions and I only noticed that I was drifting to the left at over 120 mph. When we pulled over to await the tow vehicle (you have to shut down and can't return under our own power), Mitch told me that he had experienced the same thing. By that time it was raining and reeeeeeeaaalllly windy! My run was at only 122 but Mitch is knocking at the door of the 151 mph record with a 146!!
There will be more tweaks tomorrow and a lot of the local competitors will have left so we expect to get in many more runs and to turn in much higher speeds.
My eyes are closing.......
ps. the address of the Day's Inn in Wendover Utah is 685E Wendover Blvd, 84083. If you have a set of Lemans 5 mufflers and would be willing to lend them to some little old ladies who only want use them to go to church on Sunday, please e-mail me at this address or phone 435-665-2215. We will need them to be sent out by UPS overnight and we'll pay both ways. OK?
Day 4, August 13, 2001
As I write this, the 1100 Sport, ably piloted by Mitch Freshour (a.k.a. Superfly) is sitting in the impound area on the Salt. This is a necessary requirement if you've broken a record!!!!!! Mitch turned in a time of 150.6 mph, breaking the current record by 0.5 seconds. Tomorrow morning at 7:00 AM he has to do the backup run. The two speeds will be averaged and if we're still over 150.1, we take home the tin cup in the 1350 Production Pushrod category! If 150 mph doesn't sound great today, remember that we're running on an abrasive and crunchy surface (actually leaving a rooster tail of salt), the outside temperature was about 95, the Density Altitude was 6200 feet and the humidity was 22%. He also had 4 mph headwind! We're hoping that his next run will be done in the cool of the morning. if so, we're expecting to raise the bar considerably.
I ran the LM three hours later when the temperature was 103 degrees. Russell had done some carburetor work and the bike sound considerably better. I shifted at 9000, 9000, 9000, 8000 in 1st through 4th and 5th yielded a steady 7550 for the timing mile. I was doing the second step up of my racing license and was allowed to go up to 150. My speed was 143.4 mph. We've re-tweaked the jetting for tomorrow run and I'm hoping to run in the same cool temperatures as Mitch.
So........what we desperately need now is a set of mufflers for an LM V. We want to convert back to 1000 cc Production category. In '99 we made 134 mph but with the bike running this way we think that we can raise the bar to the 145 mph region and set a record that will stand for a long time. A Harley XR 1000 was running today and made a 118 mph run.
If anyone knows if a set from an LMIV will physically fit and look like the V's we can use them. Please e-mail me at this address of phone 1-250-317-4486. They will have to overnight UPS'd to us. They will be returned at the end of the week. Please help if you can....we'v e got too much invested in this poject to leave any chips on the table.
Sidney, dehydrating in Wendover Utah
Day 5, August 14, 2001
OK.....it's the middle of the afternoon. this morning Mitch did his backup run and made a 152!! We ow the record in 1350cc P-PP if nothing comes up. We're doing some carb switching right now and he's going to try to raise the bar as high as we can get it. No use leaving money on the table!
I made a first run of 147.8 this morning on the LeMans. Engine speeds were 10,000 in 1st, 9000 in second and third, 8500 in 4th and 8000 in 5th. The bike was running like a freight train and I could feel my arms being pulled out of their sockets! It had rained hard here last night and the Salt was a bit slick. I was Ok in first but when I shifted into second the wheels slipped for about 600 feet and the bike fishtailed. I was afraid to do anything abruptly with the throttle so I just rode it out until it hooked up again.....I wish that I had had some dirtbike experience!
It was already 88 degrees when I ran and the density altitude was 5212 feet. We made some mods to the carbs and I went out to see if I could up the speed but we were disappointed when I only turned in a 140. When we inspected the bike, we found that one of the trottle cables was slack and the throat had only half opened.
Right now, it's 105 degrees here. We're working (sluggishly) on the Sport for a run in the morning. Alex DiBagno from MGNA found me a set of mufflers and they should be here by Thursday morning. This is goig to be reallllllly tight but I'm hoping to get the LM converted back to production and do one run and a backup. I'm sure that we can take the record!
Everyone please cross fingers for us, burn incense and chant your mantras!!
Sidney in beautiful (ugh) Wendover Utah
Day 6, August 15, 2001
Today it was comfortable on the Salt Flats. It cooled down to 97 degrees and the humidity soared to 34%! How refreshing!
On the motorcycle front, we had a bit of a glitch with Mitch's previous record-setting runs. After turning in a 150 and then doing a backup run of 152 the next day (the requirement) the officials broadsided us by invalidating his results! Why? When he was filling out the entry forms, he asked the registration guy to tell him the 6 number computer code which distinguished the Sport from all of the other vehicles. The official read the number upside down and transposed one of them. That made Mitch's speeds invalid for the class in which he was running. There was no recourse because Mitch was personally responsible for verifying the numbers. Anyway, he's one of those special people with an indomitable spirit and rather than whine and moan, he got back on he bike and went out to re-set the records. His first run was 150 and his second, this morning was 152!! Russell tore down as much of the engine as was necessary to verify the displacement and WE (that's
all Guzzisti) now own the 1350cc Production Pushrod record! Not bad considering that we're giving up 250 cc to the competitors!
I did two R&D runs on the LeMans to sort out the difficult carb jetting. The runs were at 137 and 138 mph so we think that we hve i dialed in! We spent the rest of the day converting the bike from Partial Streamlined class back to Production class. Funny, we had forgotten what a smashing looking bike is the stock LeMans. I'll run it in this class tomorrow if the mufflers arrive from MGNA in time. Many of the competitors have left and the officials have gthe option of ending the event at any time so we're anxiously waiting. We'd like to take home two records this time.
Sidney at Lake Woebegone Utah
August 19, 2001
So, at the risk of giving the Sportster guys the info on how to take home the tin cups from Bonneville, I'm going to let you know a few of our secrets. This is only from my perspective with the LMV, I'll let Mitch tell you about the 1100 Carb Sport. BTW, I hope that someone videotaped and photographed Mitch on the starting line and as he pulled off. His riding was pure focussed grace, no wheel slippage, no fishtailing, no drama.........absolutely seamless as the speed spooled up. This is a real trick because the salt, besides being rough and abrasive, is wet even in the 100 plus temperatures!
When we went to B'ville, we had the LM in the partial streamlined configuration with the Agostini fairings, a tailpiece and front wheel cover. The class record of 161 mph is owned by a very special Buell. It's reputed to be the most aerodynamic bike ever built. I've done 150 on the LM and we did several mods which we hoped would make it competitive. The first runs were abysmal. We changed over to the flat slide racing carbs which we had borrowed from Todd Ross and I made a 147 mph run. Realizing that we weren't going to be able to take the APS record, we reverted to plan B, which was to go back to Production Class and re-take the record which had been taken away from us earlier in the week at 137.112 mph . It was a huge chore to convert but we had all of the pieces except for the stock mufflers which I had somehow lost in the two years since we first ran the bike.
That's why I sent out the SOS on the list to find a pair. I stupidly flailed around on this treasure hunt before realizing that the best place to go was to MGNA!! Alex DiBagnio, a true Italian gentleman, found me a pair in stock and sent them out by overnight air express. The clock was ticking down fast now...we had the bike inspected for the stock class and re-registered it. The first run was good but not near the record which we needed to exceed in order to qualify. With the help of a piece of rebar and a Ford truck lug wrench, we removed the little plug baffles (legal). You know the rest of the story except for the footnotes.
Footnote 1. We were desperately fighting, not for miles per hour but for 100ths of a mile per hour! My first run on the last day was only 136.814, 3/10 of one mph slower than the record. I was discouraged because the bike just wouldn't go faster but Mitch pointed out that since the engine, gearbox and rear drive oils had been 'cold' I might just be able to squeeze "blood out of the stone" (obligatory biblical reference.........go look it up!). I ran again almost immediately and my qualifying speed of 137.156 was only 44/100ths of one mph faster than the record! That was in the early morning with a 'low' temperature of 88 degrees. We couldn't make another run until 12:01 PM when the temperatures would be significantly higher.
Footnote 2. It was so hot most of the time that you couldn't pick up a tool that had been lying out in the sunlight or touch some of the metalwork on trailers, bikes etc. Hot fuel is less dense and has less BTU output per pound ie, less horsepower produced. As the air was heating up to 'inferno mode' before our last run, we drained every ice cube in the cooler (sorry about the warm beer Tip!) and packed it in a plastic bag. We draped the bag on the fuel tank to cool down the racing fuel.
Footnote 3. Please do not try this at home! I mentioned that the salt was in a state of constant 'wet'. On the last day, we were required to use the same course as had been used by the enormously powerful streamliners, turbocharged diesel truck racers, push vehicles etc. on many hundreds of runs. It was in bad shape, with lots of mush holes, ridges and loose little berms of salt. I noticed that about 10 feet along the very left side, the track was still intact. There's a black reference line painted there and it runs the entire length. I had also noticed from my previous run that if I lifted my head off the tank, to the point where I could juuuust see through the LM windscreen, the airflow hitting my helmet caused the engine speed to drop by 100 RPM. If my head was completely down, chin bar on the tank, it was OK. After being waved off, I took the bike up to 9000 RPM in first, shifted, shifted , shifted, shifted and then got into my tuck. I made myself as small as I could with eyes on the tach only. I could just make out the reference line peripherally on my left side and I kept the bike at a constant distance from it. I saw flashes of red as I passed by the mile and then the second mile marker. After I saw the third flash I was through the measured mile and I started the cautious shut down by sitting up as an air brake...this almost rips your head off but .......you don't want to climb on the brakes because of the slick surface!
I don't know if any or all of these little strategies helped but the timing slip showed that at the entry into the 2 1/4 mile mark I was going 139.039 and crossing the trap at the 3 mile mark, 138.684. Two way average for qualifying and backup runs was137.920, 8/10s mile per hour faster than the previous record.
We were all ecstatic because we hadn't let another team take Todd Ross's record away from Team Cooked Goose.
Now you know all...........
Sidney in NC
ps. Muriel wants every one of you to buy a new T-shirt with the records printed on it! They'll be available in about a week or so.
They've posted the results on the SCTI-BNI website http://www.scta-bni.org (link on the front page of their site to "Speedweek Info", and then from there to "Event Records") and Team Cooked Goose has two records going in the books:
1000CC P-PP Sidney Conn 137.920
1350CC P-PP Mitch Freshour 151.588
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