August 30, 2017 Racing against time

on

Wednesday August 30, 2017

Six a.m. and here we go again.

On the salt, the turbo was left in the trailer and down the salt we went to staging.

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We had a chance to get hooked back up with the Swiss team and Hiro Koiso.

The Swiss had put their motor back together the night before after a disassembly showed no apparent damage.  Ralph was ready to buy our spare motor, but we assured him all was well with theirs.

Hiro went first, making a 200 mph plus run.

The Swiss followed and qualified for their FIM record.  This was accompanied by much hooting, hollering and horn blowing on their part.

A modified bike made their run and then it was our turn.

Not starting the bike until it was time helped keep the various temperatures down and rolling out onto the track it felt a bit better than before.

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Finally having a chance to concentrate on the run properly, the shifting came more naturally and not having to worry about getting into high gear further reduced the myriad of little things that can clutter a feeble mind.

Staying to the left helped a lot.  This run was one that felt better and I actually hit my mark on exit, finishing just few yards from the tent. I had to be a little careful on this run as the rear brakes had locked on and had to be amended.  Locking up the front wheel and dropping the bike in front of them would not have been a graceful finale to the run.

I knew it was a decent run and asked what the miles per hour was, but their radio had just quit working and they didn’t know.  This seemed to be a trait of the announcing when I got out on the salt and only two runs were actually announced.

When the guys hove into sight I felt better as they were jumping around and waving.

“Over 190” was the call and off to impound we went.

Once in impound with the ticket we recharged the intercooler under the watchful eyes of the tech inspector once more and when we got the word, headed back downtrack to Mile 8 to make the record run attempt.

Arriving at the station, we awaited the OK to make the record runs once again.Bonneville 2017 waiting for return run

The FIM record runs would come first as they needed to be made within two hours of the time stamp on the qualifying timeslip.

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The winds were blowing as a crosswind, varying between 3 and 10 mph.  There seemed to be a cyclic pattern to them and the trick would be to catch them in a lull.

Hiro Kioso ran first and caught the lull.  He set his record at over 228 mph.

The Swiss team ran next and they too were in the quieter winds.  They were likewise successful at over 166.

The Modified bike had to go as he was two minutes from the two hours and managed a calmer ride.  I believe made the grade as well.

Bonneville 2017 record prep

Having watched the pattern and knew we were running out of time to get going on Nick’s chances to run I thought I’d made a reasonable decision to go.  Looking at the winds, they should have been subsiding by the time I got out on the track.

Bonneville 2017 heading out

The AMA National records don’t have the same time constraint the FIM records do, as they simply have to be made the same calendar day.  Technically I could have waited as long as I wanted before running as long as it was before the course closed that day.

Racing is often a series of odds-based decisions and this was one of them.  Unfortunately the winds didn’t subside and this was apparent from the windsocks approaching the measured mile.

Well before that the effect of the crosswind was apparent in the lean angle needed to keep the bike in the lane.  The faster the more correction needed.  Sticking my head up out from the fairing to the left helped, sticking the left knee out like the Moto GP bikes helped a little.  Then I got the bright idea to try tucking in to see if that would help.  Not a good idea after all, as the bike took off like a shot and started to spin up the rear wheel.  At this point it was just hang on and don’t do anything else untoward.

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Photo courtesy of Scooter Grubb.

Passing the end of the mile I simply relaxed the throttle a bit more and concentrated on gathering things together and exiting the track.

Passing mile 4 again, this time in the opposite direction, I set my sights on exiting at mile 3, where I was a bit more familiar with the terrain.

Arcing off gently I let the motor idle a bit to cool the turbo and then hit the kill switch.  Evidently I caught a few people unaware and startled them a bit.  My apologies.

I thought I had enough with the qualifier to get the record and didn’t know about the record run as it felt fast than the 165 mph speed the timeslip showed.

I can safely say that a 3 to 4 mph crosswind is all you dare try with an APS bike that is a 12 foot long barn door!

The guys came down, loaded us up and off to impound again, this time for certification!

Unloading exactly where they told us was important as we hadn’t set a record with this sanction and I didn’t want to do something innocently wrong that would disqualify us.

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Rolling out we waited for the inspector and then pulled a rear spark plug for displacement measurement and showed the sealed gas tank.

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Even though we knew we were legal, it was much like awaiting the birth of a child with the anticipation.

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Once the measurements were confirmed, with Fred using his calculations just to be sure, we were able to relax, and congratulations all around.

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Now back to the pits and it was Nick’s turn again.

Unloading the turbo and loading the nitro bike up again, it was a quick trip down the salt to get back into line.

The tuning changes made with the turbo were made to this bike.  All the external ballast was removed and tires were set at 33 psi rear and 32 front.  This was going to need all the help we could give it.

Our first run was with the combination we loaded in back home, from the first day.  A 139 mph run wasn’t impressing anyone, but Nick was able to get through the measured mile, a definite improvement.  The next run was 150 mph, better but still…..

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We ran out of time and had put the toys away.  It was a better end to the day than yesterday.

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The support vehicles continued to take a pounding.  Once again out to Smith’s for more beverages and salty snacks, we were in the parking lot and had loaded everything in the Suburban when I turned to see a shopping cart gaining speed across the parking lot.  Patty had gotten to the passenger door and no matter how loud I hollered, she didn’t hear me or see the cart.  All I could do was watch the cart bounce off the back of the truck and ricochet across the parking lot.  Ah well…….

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