<[2004 Bonneville video]> (9 Mbyts - high speed connection recommended)
Installment No. 1 of the ongoing adventures of the Fort Worth Salt Flat Racers...
Some quick background:
Jerry Hawkins is riding No. 601 this year since Jon Minonno is riding his own new racer, "Boarzilla". No. 601 is Mabry's dual engine Triumph, fuel burning, turbocharged partial streamliner that holds a 3,000CC record at 238+ with a fastest one way run over 260MPH. It has the "small" engines this year, running in the 2000CC Class. These engines are unproven and Ed is a little nervous about them.
Jerry is also taking his own racer, "The Cowtown Shaker", a single engine Suzuki (at least the engine cases were made by Suzuki!), fueler, turbo partial streamliner. I *think* the engine is 1200CC but not for sure.
I had 3 messages from Ed on the machine at work today, so here goes:
Arrived in Wendover Friday, no probs getting there except Jerry's trailer had a tire go down & needed 2 new ones. All OK.
Great weather at the Flats and Ed said the salt is "great" this year!
Tech Inspection and Rookie Orientation and Rider/Driver's meeting on Sat.
Planning to run Jerry's bike first and practice on 601 on Sat.
Jerry qualified for a record run at 198 on his bike on Sat. He was *supposed* to run only 175 for his license but the tach fell off and he had to guess at how fast he was going! He lucked out when they let him count the run for both licensing and qualification. This was a really great run! He is in line for a Record Run on Sunday. The average of the two runs must exceed the existing record for it to count as a new record.
Jerry practiced on 601 to get used to the controls & instruments. This was his first time on the 900 lb. monster. Ed said the engines sounded a little "off" but Jerry did fine.
Jerry didn't get the record on his bike. The bike spit off 2 air lines and leaned out, burning one exhaust valve. They pulled the head a lapped the valve in, all seems to be OK.
No. 601 is pre-staged to run today, Monday. It depends on how it does as to whether Jerry runs his bike today. Which ever bike has the best shot at a record on a given day gets the priority. But Jerry can handle running both bikes if they are doing OK and don't need a teardown that day.
No. 601 is lined up behind George Field, also of Fort Worth. He is running a blown fuel altered coupe that holds several records, one over 300MPH. He has the distinction of being the slowest member of the 300MPH Club. He was on a record run at 340+ when air got under the car and it stood up, turned over and slid through the timing trap on it's top, backwards! This dropped the average of his two runs to 300.0013MPH or something like that!
More tomorrow, boys & girls!
Things are looking up for Team Triumph Texas and other Fort Worth Land Speed Racers!
Ed's Monday night report:
Jerry is having fuel delivery problems with the Cowtown Shaker Suzuki. After an earlier 198MPH run which qualified him to make a record run, the bike suddenly won't make power...or speed. They suspect the fuel injection pump is failing, he didn't say if they have a spare or can get one in time. But it could be something else. This bike does not have a data acquisition system and that's a real problem in diagnosing a fuel problem that is not obvious.
No. 601 has better news! On Jerry's first ever ride on this bike (except a few minutes at very low speed in the practice area), he ran a 216 to qualify to attempt a record run in the 2000CC class. To run in the 2000CC class doesn't mean the bike has 2000CC, it just has over 1000CC but less than 2001CC. Beeg difference! Anyway, when they downloaded the run data they discovered Jerry had run 216 in 3rd gear! He thought he was in 4th but it was 3rd. This morning, Tuesday, he will make a record run and try to set a new record. This bike has a 4-speed HD racing box.
"Thinking" he was in 4th is not as hard a mistake to make as it sounds. This bike is VERY complicated to ride. 8 instruments plus throttle position to monitor, cross-winds, potholes & ruts left by blown roadsters, constant wheelspin, the tendency to get sideways and having to "flat track" the bike when it does, the turbo sometimes "hitting" too hard, making sure you don't get blown off, etc. all give you a lot to think about. Plus trying hard to qualify and doing your best to not get killed in the process can be a bit distracting. And while Jerry is not a rookie (this is his 2nd season) he is new to this bike which makes ~350 BHP (my guess, based on the big engines making a known 450 BHP).
Mr. Mabry, ever the master of understatement said this run was "not too shabby"! No. 601 is running the same gearing as the big engines...2.12 : 1. Think about that...your car probably has ~3.55 : 1 overall gearing! Ed was concerned the little engines might not pull such a tall gear so when it makes the record attempt this morning, Jerry will shift to 4th and see what happens. If it goes...Hang On Jerry! If it doesn't, shift back to 3rd and redline it. Ride it like you stole it Jerry!
If they get the record, they will park 601 and concentrate on Jerry's bike. Keep your fingers crossed.
Jon Minonno's new turbo, fuel, single engine Harley partial streamliner (Boarzilla) is doing great! Saturday it ran 227MPH on it's first run at Bonneville which qualified it to attempt a record on Sunday. On that run he got a new record at ~223/224MPH. I don't know what the old record was. Yesterday he went back and ran against his new record and ran a bit faster, again qualifying it to attempt a new record. He will make that run this morning. I know Jon and he will keep this up all week, or until it breaks too bad to fix out there.
One of those days that makes you want to give up Land Speed Racing and take up golf... Well, it wasn't THAT bad I guess!
On No. 601's record attempt run, after qualifying on Monday at 216 MPH, the engines wouldn't clear out and make any power, so no record. Possibly due to a minor jet change after qualifying and/or drastically changing weather conditions. After that run the wind kicked up and the meet was stopped. Then it started sprinkling with the wind, and the meet was called for the day.
Jerry's problem with his big Suzuki was the Hillborn fuel pump in the home-grown fuel injection system. Ed's spare pump wouldn't fit so the bike is "on the trailer". Jerry was disappointed of course, but he did achieve one of the goals for this meet...when he got 198MPH average speed on Sunday to qualify for a record run, that included a peak speed of 201.9MPH. His goal was to break the 200MPH "barrier", record or not.
Way to go Jerry...pretty damn good for a budget special!
Had an early update from Ed...this morning it had started sprinkling again so it may or may not get started again today.
Looks like Jon Minonno's new Harley is running consistently around 227...I'm sure they're working hard looking for more speed, they want to get to the 240's. It's damn impressive that it's working this well on it's "maiden voyage."
I was in error in Update 1 in describing this bike as a "partial streamliner". Apparently they didn't get the nose fairing finished in time and are running non-streamlned. This makes the performance of this bike even more impressive! Too bad about that fuel pump.
More news as it happens...
Good news, well...sorta.
Remember Tuesday was blown and rained out. Wednesday the weather was dry but windy & gusty but marginally OK.
Well Ol' Jerry got on No. 601 and pinned it. Later the telemetry showed he was running 228MPH in 3rd gear when a high cross wind gust blew him off the course! That's not quite as bad as it sounds...unless you hit a timing light or a mile marker but nothing like that happened and there was no more drama. But no qualification run either.
The meet was called for the day and 601 is at the head of the line and ready to go Thursday, weather permitting.
After the wind kicked up they had nothing to do so they got after the Cowtown Shaker again. Somehow they either fixed or found a replacement fuel pump, replaced a bad turbo center section and installed a hot battery (total loss ignition). The Shaker is good and is also ready to run today.
In Ed's words: "The Ringling Bros., Barnham and Mabry Circus" is up to it's usual tricks...waiting until this last minute to "git 'er done". Most of their records and best runs have actually been made the last day of the meet...after most everyone else has either blown up and gone home or set a record and gone home. Two of their records were actually set on the last run of the last day, in marginal weather using the last useable parts and/or tires.
Hell, if it was easy everybody would do it!
If you want to see a LOT more pictures, see: http://www.scta-bni.org/
OK everybody cross your fingers and rub your rabbit's foot!
They got BOTH bikes qualified yesterday to make record attempt runs this morning. Both are at the head of the line and ready to run at 7:00AM, 9:00AM our time.
No. 601 is running great..."too great" maybe as it was having big wheelspin problems. But it ran 224 in the 2nd timed mile to qualify. I don't know what the record is but if the average of yesterday's qualifying run and today's record run exceeds it, the boys are in the record book...again. Whether they get it or not, this is pretty damn impressive for two little 35 year old, air cooled 650's with pushrods and two - valve heads. We don' need no sissy overhead cams and 4-valves!
Jerry's Cowtown Shaker also got qualified! He ran 195 against a 156 record and with a little luck should get a new record. I like what Paul Newman once said about that: "Luck is an art!" Never more true than in Land Speed Racing.
Ed will call later today with final results and I'll let you know.
In the immortal words of the Land Speed Racer..."Murphy lives in Wendover, Utah!"
No. 601, after yesterday's great qualifying run, was attempting the record run and was running good. Except...the transmission locked up and wouldn't shift to 2nd gear.
Jerry's bike did get it's record but, in Ed's words "It was kind of a low one." My guess is that means something under the 195MPH qualifying run.
Any year with a record is a good year and the crew of the Cowtown Shaker is to be congratulated. Any year with speeds consistently above the class record is also a good one, even with no record and the crew of No. 601 is also to be congratulated.
Good designs, good construction, good tuning, good riding. And Jerry - Huevos Grande, Mi Amigo!!
And in the other immortal words of the Land Speed Racer..."Just wait 'til next year!"