As we began this expedition it appeared to be the attempt at the Production Pushrod Gas record. The project soon took on a life of its own.
Jim Haraughty of Team MS ran last season at Bonneville during the SCTA event known as Speed Week. We were peripherally involved with the preparation of the bike, a 1967 Triumph TR6 he previously raced in AHRMA, a vintage roadracing organization. Due to a few issues with the bike on the salt, a full-power run wasn’t possible. This led to the comment “If you want to go next year I’ll come along to help”. Little did I realize…..
During the course of the following year work progressed on the Triumph to improve the power delivery. While working on the motor the thought occurred that this would be a possibility of sitting around out there for days with nothing to do. The next thought that went fleetingly through was “why not build a bike?” Little did I realize……
Having undertaken quite a number of ventures in the past that I had no initial experience in I suffered no delusions of ease or simplicity. Drawing upon experience in diverse fields of endeavor such as roadracing at Daytona, Top Fuel Motorcycles at Gainesville, TranAm cars, Top Fuel Dragsters at Indy, Funny Cars, and cylinder head porting, helped but there were still many unanswered and unasked questions. Anybody who thought they were going to go out there and be successful the first time combined the two unpleasant qualities of arrogance and ignorance. The best to be hoped for was attaining realistic goals, licensing to the capabilities of your equipment, and not damaging yourself and whatever you were in (or on).
Deciding on a power plant platform was narrowed to two. The Suzuki Hayabusa is a phenomenal unit with sturdy construction and good power output right out of the box. Ducati offered the 999 platform that we really didn’t have as much experience with, but after seeing the movie the possibility of a reduced frontal area and vehicle height held possibilities. It would also be the only one of its kind in the world, a feature that held appeal for its individuality but obstacles due to its being untraveled ground.
In the end the Ducati won out and its durability and package size proved to be two distinct benefits. There is also a certain snobbish cachet to the marque that helped mitigate the humble origins of the project.
Having a 200mph plus goal in mind and not a lot of time to do it required the use of a boosted motor package. Naturally aspirated required too much skill, time and knowledge to accomplish the goal.