Monday, August 23, 2010

Bonneville - This Years Attack!

Day 1 - minutes after driving onto the salt. Inspection went smooth, then we set up our pit area and relaxed for the night at the annual Hop-Up magazine party.

Day 2 - Early in the morning prior to our first run. Greg was handling crew chief duties at this point which allowed me to concentrate on the run itself. Only about 80 degress.

Day 2 - just after the first run - 124mph. We were very optimistic at this point. The rear portion of the fender had broken loose just like last year even though we had beefed it all up. Fine, we will go without it. We decided to run a little richer jet and do some other minor tweeks. MotoGuru and Greg dial her in while I bask in the thought of things to come. The bike ran like a freight train - I was stoked since I had only babied her along to shake her down a little.

Day 2 - 96 degrees. About to roll on my second run. After pulling like a raped ape up through 3rd gear and the 2 mile mark, I jammed it into 4th gear and buried the throttle to the stop, tucked in and hung on for life. At about 125mph I felt a slight fault in the acceleration and looked down at the motor which was now spraying oil all over my right boot and leg. I pushed the kill switch a glided to the return road safety area. Once static it did not look good. Oil was everywhere so it was impossible to see what happened - time to get back to the pit.

Day 2 (a little later) - Greg and I cleaned up the motor and found a fractured oil return line which explained the mess - no big deal there. We still had no idea why we lost so much power - until I pulled the plugs and found the rear one without a head! In the pic above I'm handing the headless plug to Greg seconds after I found it. It had been completely burned away. Not good. Further inspection revealed a hole about the size of a pencil erasure in the rear piston at it's center. Game over. 5 Minutes later we were packing up the truck for the ride home. We had been on the salt less than 24 hours at this point. It took the rest of the day to pack everything back up, get the truck, trailer and bike to the car wash for a major spray down, deal with the hotel people, have a huge dinner with the entire crew and celebrate into the wee hours of the morning. What we were celebrating I have no idea but we did all have a hell of a good night with special guest star Camilo Pardo which made the night even more surreal.

Yesterday in Detroit - We tore the motor down at Lurch's place and found this. During the original engine build (before Lurch was involved) a lot of material had been removed from the inside (top) of the piston to reduce reciprocating weight on the crank shaft. You'll notice from the pic above there was less than 1/8 inch of material at the top of the dome! Note to self - Don't do this again.

So how did we do out there? It's a long story but here is the gist. We made two passes at 124MPH each time. The fastest (stock) vintage Harley went a 121 prior to our runs. So we are able to claim that the Bonnepan is tops in that department which is pretty cool. Unfortunately we did not get the record due to a strange decision by the SCTA crew that allowed a Vincent that was "re-manufactured" from the ground up (including re-engineering of the entire bike that made "Improvements in the original design to iron out it's faults" including recasting the engine cases and cylinder heads (!) according to their website) to compete in the Vintage class along with us? Oh well that's racing. We still had a BLAST out there!


Motorcycho said...

they sound like Figure Skating judges!!!!

Michael said...

Damn gremlins! Glad you went fast and made it home safe.

Nice helmet :D

Wayne@kustomink said...

Hope you get back next year stronger and faster...
That Vincent wasn't the Australian entry by any chance was it? There was one crew from here that smashed the old record.

Diesel said...

Yes, it was the Australian entry. The more I read about this bike the madder I get at the SCTA for letting them run in our vintage class.

Tyler said...

Stinks about your holed piston, I bent a valve after my 8th run last week, on my backup run for a record, so I know how it goes!

I saw the Vincent and talked with their crew quite a bit they were real good guys. In vintage class you just have to be pre-'56 cases and head. My 1955 Triumph has T110 cases, and an 8 bolt pre unit cylinder and head (also dated to '55 and earlier). Nothing else about my internals on my motor is 'vintage' that is later, heavier crank, drilled and beveled timing gears, aluminum mag gear, super light valve train, high compression pistons, new valves, connecting rods, high tension springs, etc etc.

As long as the Vincent had Vincent cases and head it was good to run in the vintage class. I don't know that this is the case or not, just figured I would give my two cents.


Diesel said...


If they really have origianl cases and heads form pre '56 then I'm ok with everything that went down. However, I was told, from a crew in Texas that was running a Knuck in my class who talked to the Australians, that the cases were actually re-created from scratch, or "re-engineered" as it is told online. Also the heads were re-cast just like the cases with intake and exhaust ports "re-designed" with super shallow angles and contours that the original Vincent heads could not achieve (again according to a story about the bike online)That's the part that has my undies in a bunch. I'd love to be able to reform the internals in my '50 heads! Shit they make two 90 degree turns before they get to the combustion chambers! All the porting in the world won't fix that. I think a Vincent pretty much has a straight shot from the mouth of the carb to the valves. I guess that's the differnce between a touring motorcycle like my pan as it was originally designed and a Vincent which was a hotrod from day one. OK, I'm now going out back to burn my soapbox.

Anonymous said...

I think your umbrella girl is HOT!!!! Glad you all made it back Safe. I hope to be released from St. Anthony Hospital in Denver today. Hope to see you in Davenport & I'll tell you of our adventures or check out our blog.
Your umbrella girl is taking good care of me. Tim

Dusty said...

Did you maybe have a little detonation going on as well? The thinned out piston obviously is bad but that could have been the straw that broke the pans back?

Tyler said...

Diesel, gotcha, I don't know any details about the bike.

We are headed back out for World Finals at Bonneville October 6th - 9th. I have to pull my top end this weekend to fix my bent valve and check everything out. A few other things in the works, an aluminum tail section and an aluminum front fender. Can't wait to get back! Too bad the drive is so damn long


Anonymous said...

Oh, B. Yet another adventure. Glad to hear you're going back next year to get 'em.