|If you haven’t already, Please read the’ 08 Hayabusa World Press Introduction‘ and ‘Hayabusa Chronicles Part 1‘ to get yourself up to speed with this impressive project.|
East Coast Timing Association Maxton Event
October 29, 2007
The 2008 Suzuki Hayabusa Chronic project has been a whirlwind.
Here is a brief recap:
- September 19-22, 2007: Valetti and I pick up the new 2008 Busa after the Hayabusa World Press Introduction which started in Chicago, Illinois, moved to Union Grove, Wisconsin, and ended up in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
- September 27-30, 2007: Arrive at AMA Dragbike US Nationals in Atco, New Jersey with stock bike ready to head down the strip in nearly showroom condition with some parts ready to install as the weekend progresses. Leave with the world’s quickest (to date) stock-bike pass ever thanks to Richard Gadson. Chronicles Part 1
- October 2, 2007: Leave with Chronic and my personal ZX-14 Diary bike for a pipe development project at Hindle Manufacturing in Port Perry, Ontario, Canada (@ 50 miles north of Toronto.) We have a little pipe-makin’ to do.
- October 12, 2007: After 10 days of groundbreaking exhaust development/testing and 40+ phone calls to US customs and others because I inadvertently ‘exported’ Chronic to Canada, the entire trip boiled down to making it back to the border by 4pm on Friday, Oct. 12th and meeting bubbly US Customs Officer Styers before he left for the weekend (so the night shift would not force Chronic into a holding warehouse until the issue was resolved SOMEDAY.) THANK YOU Garret Kai at American Suzuki for sending all of those documents and letters with special thanks to Flora, Nita, and Sheldon of Deringer import/export services and, of course, Officer Styers. Jason and I wanted to kiss American soil, BUT it WAS Michigan–just north of Detroit–eww! (Not many Ohio State fans in that area, eh Styers?!)
Note: Chronic had to be completely stock with all D.O.T. AND all emissions systems working and in place. Translation: We could not bring our new exhaust system back across the border!
- October 16, 2007: Our new Alien Head Exhaust System arrives via UPS, and we begin developing ‘Maxton’ maps and testing using a Power Commander for use with a 2007 GSX-R1000.
- October 17-18, 2007: We try to dyno as much as we can, but we also have to get the bike prepared for Maxton. The ECTA has a very strict set of safety guidelines, and we keep getting side tracked by previous Busa components which ALMOST fit the new Busa. THANK YOU Chris at DCP Tool in Dayton, OH for shutting down your profitable business for a while to help a struggling moto-journalist with a CRAZY (admittedly, self-imposed) deadline!
Here is a list of the added components to Chronic as we packed the trailer to leave for Maxton at 8pm on October 19, 2007:
- Brock’s Performance Alien Head Exhaust System
- Dynojet power commander IIIusb with Brock’s “Maxton” map
- Dave O prepped Innovate aux box kit ( LM1 Basic + LMA-3)
- Brock’s Performance “bare necessities” drag race kit
- World Wide Bearings ceramic wheel bearing kit with low tension seals and aerospace lubricant
- Richie’s Tires/Michelin pilot power race 120/60 front 190/55 rear (Stock tires are Bridgestone Battlax BT015 120/70 front and 190/50 rear.)
- Ohlins Hayabusa (99-07) top mount steering stabilizer kit
- Vortex sprockets (stock 18-43 ratio) for GSX-R1000 rear wheel
- Brock’s Performance by Spiegler stainless steel brake and clutch lines
- Regina ZRP Series “Brock modified” chain
- Tiger Racing “Brock modified” aluminum chain guard
- Schnitz Racing (Brock Modified) billet triple tree (top clamp plate)
- Inline resistor (TRE) to trick the bike into thinking it is in 5th gear all of the time to prevent built-in high speed limiter from functioning. (Note: The gear position indicator is stuck on 5 all of the time, the neutral light doesn’t work, the ABC mode selector doesn’t work and the bike will not run with the kickstand down, but the 186 MPH limiter doesn’t work either.)
- Chicken Hawk tire warmer
All else was COMPLETELY STOCK except oil (Alisyn less than zero weight) and VP MR9 fuel. Some stock items were removed to save weight or as instructed by tech for safety reasons.
For those of you who missed or need to refresh yourselves about my last East Coast Timing Association adventure at Maxton, please check it out now to help relay the intensity of this story. PLEASE read it NOW!
Of course, to anyone who has ever been to or read about the Maxton Monster Mile, it’s basically a (very bumpy) standing start, one mile drag strip. I was very excited to see the stock quarter mile times of the 08 Busa, so Maxton was a logical step with Chronic; I just expected to go to a drag strip to tune it up FIRST after adding a pile of aftermarket performance products! The last time I went to the mile, I had nearly an entire season of tuning and experience with my ZX-14 Diary 1 machine. I knew everything about it from the amount of fuel to add per tenth of A/F ratio to the proper amount of oil to run in the crank case. This time, we had a brand new bike, a dyno and a couple of days. The drag strip runs at Atco were a bit of a wash at this point since the bike was stock, and we have now added an additional 25 HP peak and 30 HP in the over-rev area before the rev limiter.
Chronic is now a completely different beast. I have been drag racing for over 25 years and this was the first time I had competed on a serious national level with a bike which had not at least been on a local drag strip before I attempted to test skills against the fastest guys in the country. Just so you know, most racers won’t tote their bikes hundreds or even thousands of miles to race if they think they suck. I fall into this category. That being said, as much confidence as I had in myself, my crew, and the “new” Busa, I knew I needed SERIOUS help. “Hey Dave O, are you going to Maxton this weekend?”
“I’m not sure, we are so Fuc%-ing busy here at Lee’s and I just had a fu%%ing problem with my own Fuc%%&^ Busa. My FUC&&%ing cylinder head accidentally fell of the Fuc%5ing bench, while I was FUc$$#ing working late into the FFFFUUc-ing night on my own FU%%ing stuff on my on my Fuc%%in birthday, and I am SO F%%ing depressed I just want to F…ing stay home and forget about F-ing bikes for a while.” said the displaced Bostonian. “I’m REALLY feeling your frustration and can see that it sucks to be you right now, but I might know how to take your mind off of it for a while? I have a brand new ‘08 Busa with no time to track tune, and Don Smith just reminded me that Maxton is this weekend. I could really use your help. “No problem ‘Street Punk’ (long story). You put an O2 bung into your new exhaust system? Good, I’ll take off work on Friday and meet you. Just tell me which logger you want me to bring. Ahh “F” Lee…the guy loves me, but he does want a shot at your new Busa. Might keep me from getting pissed on so bad for taking a long weekend off. Besides, he IS the fastest man to EVER run at Maxton, and he said he would love to help out in exchange for riding the new bike. I took care of it for you; all I need to do is make the call, and he will jump in his Vette and be there in no time.” Guys, that’s an offer and a friendship I simply can not put into words, and I am usually not at a loss for either.
Rider/Tuner profile of Dave ‘Dave O’ Owen
Born: October 12, 1962 in Taunton, Massachusetts
Height: 6’ 0”
Weight: 185 lbs. in his shorts
Nickname: Dave O
- ECTA 200 MPH club member April, 2004
- ECTA All-Motor Class World Record 220.312 MPH May, 2006
- 2006 Super Streetbike Top Speed Challenge Unlimited All Motor Class Winner
- 2007 Super Streetbike Top Speed Challenge Unlimited All Motor Class Winner
- 2005 AMA Dragbike 1000 SuperSport National Championship- Team Brock’s Performance with Rider, Rickey Gadson
- 2006 AMA Dragbike 1000 SuperSport National Championship- Team Brock’s Performance with Rider, Vince Woska, Jr.
- Worlds Fastest All Motor/Non-streamline bike owner and tuner at 222.123 MPH- Team Brock’s Performance with Rider, Rick Stetson
Most important lifetime accomplishment as tuner OR a rider?
“Definitely removing the bodywork from my Busa so that my son Josh could set an official naked bike record and be admitted into Maxton’s 200 MPH club. Josh did a great job. You know that holding onto a bike at 200 MPH is hard enough, especially at 19 years old, but to do it without a fairing is really tough. I literally couldn’t hold back the tears, I was so proud of him.”
Photo by Bill Warner
Photo by Bill Warner
We finally stumbled into Maxton at about 2pm on Friday–just to be reminded that Friday was tech day until around 5pm and inspections usually took a very long time. Naturally, we were not finished with the safety wiring of the bike among other things.
After we passed tech, Dave began installing his favorite Innovate data logger which ran well into the night. We finally left knowing that the bike was as perfect as we knew how to have it for Saturday’s attempt at the Mile…or so we thought.
Photo by Don Smith
Saturday morning came with the satisfying feeling that I was no longer a “rookie” so I could go straight to the starting line and prepare to make my run. Since I hadn’t attended a land speed event in over a year, I wondered what my mind would think about just taking off and trying to run 200MPH cold (with no practice). I decided to take Chronic out for a little street ride as I hadn’t even ridden it anywhere except the dyno with the new found power, weight reduction (Note: The stock exhaust weighed in at a train-like 47lbs?!), new tires, etc… I was particularly worried about traction after my last event, so I contacted Richie Brotherton at Richie’s Tires beforehand with my concerns, and he shipped us two sets of Michelin Pilot Power tires in race compound. One set for Maxton and one set for drag racing later. SWEET!! These tires have become the choice for most BIG HP D.O.T. street tire classes in AMA Dragbike, and I know they really hook up on a prepped track! He suggested a 120/70 front and 190/55 rear “I’m also going to call Dave at Chicken Hawk racing and have him send you a tire warmer, I think it will really help you.” The front is a stock replacement and the back is a bit taller to help place a larger footprint on the surface in an attempt to hook on Maxton’s notoriously slippery 65-year-old worn out concrete surface. While scuffing-in the tires on the North Carolina asphalt, I was very pleased at the traction as Chronic was lifting the front tire exiting curves on the lightly traveled NC roads around the airbase (legal speeds, of course J ). Looks like we should be good to go this time–all bases covered. I am SOOOO SMART…
“Tuck” Practice with Dave O
(Note to all: I would like to name this particular section of the story “How to ruin the hard work of Suzuki chassis engineers,” or even “Brock’s quick and easy steps to an ILL HANDLING bike!!” Please read on…)
Pass #1, Saturday Morning: Most racers like to make “shake down” runs before going all out. My typical shakedown consists of trying to go as fast as possible unless the bike tells me otherwise. There was a 3-4 MPH cross wind blowing from the left, which did not upset most riders, or me very much. It amazes me how precisely the veteran land speed racers know the forecast wind direction and speed more so than the corrected weather conditions. This is far different than drag racing as the additional head wind resistance at high speeds is critical to maximum MPH, and cross winds can be dangerous while also slowing the bike down. I have never had a drag racer tell me the intensity and from which direction the wind will blow TOMORROW like Walter Kudro announced before my first pass on Saturday morning. He also warned of increased wind intensity from the same direction later in the day, so he suggested that I just go ahead and get my 200+ out of the way early. Great advice from a guy who had just ran 238MPH on his first attempt a moment before and was unhappy?!
Because I had already traveled 170+ MPH at Road America’s front straight on Chronic with incredible stability, I was not too worried about stepping it up at Maxton. I left soft and rolled through the gears. Somewhere about midway through 4th gear, I realized that the ride was VERY bumpy, and the bike was vibrating in addition to skating around enough to make me uncomfortable. In fact, my vision was blurred so badly that I COULD NOT SEE the huge orange markers at the end of the track clearly?!
It wasn’t like anything I had ever felt before. It wasn’t a wobble or a tank slap type of feeling; it was more like being strapped to a 190 MPH rolling paint shaker with a light and twitchy front end?! Being the sane individual that I proclaim to be, I raised my head above the fairing to gain some perspective and rolled through the beams half-heartedly at ONLY 193.581 MPH.
Upon arriving back to the trailer, the first words out of my mouth were “Jason, did you screw-up the front wheel balance?! Did you see zero when you were done? I can’t see a damn thing going down the track, and the bike is jumping around all over the place.” “No,” he replied. “It was perfect. I checked it several times, and the weights didn’t fly off or anything like that.” Ok, well the suspension must be far too stiff from Road America, and the bike is catching on the expansion joints instead of gliding over them, and it’s scary as hell. Let’s soften everything up a bit, and lower the front tire pressure, and…front tire?!?! OH SHIT!! We placed the 120/60 drag tire on the front, and I completely forgot that Maxton is such a tough surface. Did we bring the stock tires,” I asked. “You said to take them out of the trailer,” Jason responded. There is a ‘brain surgeon’ move for sure. I’m on fire so far this weekend.
Pass #2 Saturday afternoon: My next pass with the new suspension settings had potential for even more terror because it was late enough in the day that the cross wind had picked up…just as Walter had predicted. The starter warned me before my launch that they were measuring 10-15 MPH gusts at the finish line. Oh well. Let’s see what happens this time. I can always abort the run if things get too hairy.
I decided to launch a bit harder on this run which immediately resulted in the same out of control wheel spin I had experience last year.
Photo by Don Smith
By midway through third gear, I could tell that the paint-shaker effect was still present after the suspension setting change, but I decided to tough it out. I tucked as tight as possible and kept shifting gears HOPING that I was still pointed in the correct direction because, yet again, I could not see properly. (FYI: The data logger confirms that I am in 6th gear at wide open throttle for 10 full seconds during a good run close to 200 MPH.) About mid way through 6th gear the bike INSTANTLY DARTS to the RIGHT about FIVE FEET off of my current line at 185 MPH or so?! The feeling was a joint combination of cross wind, twitchy steering, AND the front end getting caught in an expansion joint. OH, HELL NO…was my thought as I peeked above the fairing enough to realize that I was now heading right towards the BIG ORANGE sign which is located OFF of the racing surface! I say peeked because you really don’t want to jump up into the air above the wind screen at these speeds. I gently corrected the bike and once again basically coasted through the lights at 193.681 MPH. I’m not going to say that my life flashed before my eyes or anything overly melodramatic like that, but my fear factor was the highest it had been since my Superbike (SuperBOMB!) used to occasionally blow me off with a nitrous backfire, which typically ripped the gas tank and ME off of the bike.
Check out the video on my Super Bomb here if you haven’t already seen it on YouTube:
To say the pucker factor was high just doesn’t do it. Lets just say a greased BB had no chance of passing, and leave it at that.
Photo by Don Smith
I have been riding and racing streetbikes for 25 years, and I had no idea this problem could be so severe, so excuse me if I step up on my soapbox for a moment to convey this message:
Guys, when Japanese engineers place a 120/70 front tire on the front of their bike, it’s because it REALLY needs to be this size!
In drag racing, it is common to switch front tire sizes but this is usually in conjunction with an extension of the wheelbase by using a longer swingarm etc. I have owned longer bikes with smaller diameter front wheels and/or lower profile front tires in the past with no real handling issues at the drag strip. This was the first time I had ridden a stock wheelbase bike with a smaller than recommended front tire size myself. Hindsight is ALWAYS 20-20. Our 1000 Supersport bikes with low profile front tires have always tried to wash out the front ends at the strip to the point where we won’t even race them without an Öhlins damper with additional tension applied over stock. We just thought it was because they were so short and designed to turn quickly for road racing. It all makes sense now. We were unknowingly creating more problems ourselves. Since my riders try to ‘ride through’ such issues, I had no idea they were so bad.
Check out Rickey Gadson’s first race on our brand new GSX-R1000 at Richmond in 2006:
We thought he landed with the front end cocked, which could have been the case, but the price he paid for such a small mistake was very high. Of course, he was fine. My crew even repaired the bike, and he made it to the final round. Rickey never lost another round on that bike the rest of the season and managed to win the 2005 AMA Dragbike 1000 SuperSport National Championship. We never changed the front tire because we didn’t realize it was the culprit. We only added the damper, and Rick changed his riding style to be VERY careful when the front end touched the ground.
By reducing the front tire diameter, shortening the length of the forks (after lowering and strapping the front end), and increasing the rear tire diameter on the Busa, we were very effectively decreasing the trail compared to stock. This can be dangerous as the bike becomes twitchy and very easy to turn at low speeds and VERY unstable at high speeds.
For a more detailed explanation of trail in relation to steering head angle, please click this wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_and_motorcycle_geometry
Thank you for listening (I hope)…now, back to the story. Of course we had one of very few 2008 Hayabusas in the United States at the time and the front wheels are not interchangeable between the 99-07’s and the 08’s. We had left for the race in a big hurry, but I grabbed an Öhlins top mount stabilizer kit off of the shelf as a ‘just in case’ if we had any issues with the non-adjustable stock damper with tech. We had no idea if it would even fit. The good news is that it did fit so we installed it on Saturday night, and planned our attack on Sunday. “You need to call Lee. I’m about done riding this thing,” I told Dave O during the fright-fest activities during the day on Saturday.
Pass #3 Sunday morning: Lee and his lovely wife, Dawn, showed up early Sunday morning just in time to watch me make my first attempt with the new damper. We snuck a quick burnout (shhh-don’t tell tech!) because of the traction problem on pass two.
Even with a little heat in the tire, after a quick dry-hop it was obvious that I would still need to leave very soft. I rolled out smooth and tried to gradually apply gas only to have the rear end noticeably slide around throughout first gear with full power not applied until after the 1-2 shift. To my pleasant surprise, the jarting and inconsistent handling was noticeably reduced! Yea! Now all I had to do was drive through the vibration and finally try to get a decent pass without suffering a coronary during the trip. I was so happy that the bike was going straight and concentrating on looking through the fuzz that the pass was relatively uneventful compared to the previous two. It was also SLOW.
“That’s it. I’m at a loss. I need to get Lee on the bike ASAP” I told Dave O as I returned back to the starting line. “The vibration was still there, but it went straight, and I held the gas the entire run after it spun in first. I have more power than I did last year on my ZX-14 and didn’t go as fast, much less break 200. This sucks, and it’s embarrassing. How am I going to tell Suzuki that I can’t even go as fast on their brand new killer as I did on a two year old ZX14?! We are missing something, and we only have a few more hours to figure it out unless we want to leave as failures and try again next spring. I DO NOT want to make that phone call.”
Rider profile of Lee Shierts (pronounced Shirts-like you wear)
Born: December 12, 1962 in Minneapolis Minnesota
Height: 5’ 5”
Weight: 150 lbs. in shorts – 165 suited with helmet
Nickname(s): Leroy, Last Minute Lee
- 4th Overall 1990 AMA 250 Grand Prix road race series
- 4th Overall 1992/93/94/98 WERA Formula USA road race series
- 1st in state Minnesota MX series
(“When I was a kid…I crashed my brains out at Loretta Lynn’s”)
- ECTA 200 MPH club member in June, 1999 (First Hayabusa over 200 MPH)
- World’s fastest non-streamline motorcycle records
Yancy Racing turbo Hayabusa: First over 245/255/260 MPH
- Current “Fastest man at Maxton” 260.288 MPH record set Oct, 2005
“Dude, did you see the November Issue of Roadracing World Magazine about the 2008 Busa? Chris Ulrich says that I was the first to break 200 MPH on the generation one Busa here in 1999. That’s pretty cool, I didn’t even know. You gotta’ to let me ride this thing. I watched your last lap, and you’re never going to get a normally aspirated stock power bike to go fast enough launching like a little bitch. You don’t have any sissy power (turbo or nitrous) so you gotta’ launch the dang thing. Didn’t you say you had a tire warmer? You need to put that bitch on right now. It will help,” announced Lee upon arrival. “No problem. You are the road racer. Hell, I don’t even know how to put it on,” I told him. We also made a couple of small changes to the map since I finally made a full pass with the throttle wide open.
Wayne, Jason and Dawn watch as Lee gives the drag racers tire warmer installation lessons.
Realizing that I needed to pull out every possible stop, as I walked over to the truck to grab my lucky Maxton straw hat from last year, I remember thinking that I didn’t remember the last time I was so nervous about a pass someone else was going to make. What if Lee couldn’t even break 200? THEN WHAT would we do? He’s 40 lbs lighter; the dataloger says the bike is tuned about as close to perfect as we know how to make it. Damn, it felt like a train was sitting on my shoulders.
Pass #4 Sunday morning-Lee: Lee launched pretty hard, but the engine tone told that even he was a bit conservative getting the gas pinned in an attempt to not botch the run. The bike sounded great as he disappeared into the distance. Even as loud as our Alien Head exhaust system is, we couldn’t hear 6th gear as now a large group had gathered nervously staring at the CB radio positioned at the starting line…anxiously waiting to see if history was going to be repeated.
“ A closer look at this photo shows that Lee’s 200 MPH riding technique includes taking his left hand off of the handlebar and resting it on the steering damper?!”
“Bike 9407–Two hundred point…,” ECTA president, Joe Timney, announced. The crowd uproar was so overwhelming that we could not hear the end of the speed-it was TWO HUNDRED and SOMETHING and that’s ALL that mattered!!! I don’t think I took a breath from the time Lee left the line, and I about fell over from the response. Seriously, I had never felt such a relief.
Dawn immediately leapt at me with a big hug. “Oh my god… He’s the first over 200 again on a new Busa this time. THANK YOU!” Your man is the reason! I owe him; he just knocked a big truck off my shoulders! Jason ran over and excitedly proclaimed, “I have never experience anything like I just felt. That was AWESOME!” Dave and I have grown to the point where we don’t even need to speak to know what’s going on. A simple look, handshake, and man-hug says it all. Rhonda stopped clicking candid photos long enough to come over to me with a hug and kiss. “You look so relieved, and I’m so glad YOU are not riding that damn thing.”
After a brief photo-op with Don Smith to celebrate the first 200 MPH on a ‘new Busa’, Lee returned to say, “See told ya’ dude…that warmer is the shit. I know I can go faster. Can I try again?” “Did you notice the vibration,” I asked (secretly hoping for a much different response). “Na-dude. Maybe a little, but it didn’t really bother me.” I guess if you have gone over 260 MPH on the same track, it’s not that big a deal?!
(Personal Note: I’m convinced that Lee’s momma’ dropped him when he was a baby–A LOT! There is NO F-ING way I would EVER think about going that fast on a bike, much less at Maxton! I believe he is a serious head case for doing it. He admitted later that it was one of the stupidest things he has ever done, but that he would do it again. He’s nuts. He is also very talented, and the above comment is made with my utmost respect.)
Pass #5 Sunday afternoon-Lee: We placed the final touches on the map/chassis after Lee’s faster run was logged. The ticket below confirms his confidence.
After Lee’s 202+ run I had a serious decision to make…do I give it another shot? After the 200.69 run, I knew there was little chance I could go 200 just from the weight difference alone and quite frankly wasn’t really worried about it after the scary rides I had taken the day before. But, as with drag racing, most of the speed curious world isn’t really concerned as much with how fast a jockey can go compared to the ‘regular guy’. I told Rhonda, “The bike goes straight now, and there is very little wind. Since Lee broke 202, I think I can squeak out a 200 MPH run. I really want to get that monkey off of my back.” “I don’t like it, but do what you have to do,” she said nervously. Wayne and Jason prepped the bike right down to lubing the chain and waxing the fairing, more out of nervousness than anything else I’m sure.
I’m still amazed at how HOT the Chicken Hawk tire warmer gets. This version keeps the tire carcass at a steady 174 degrees F!
As the time neared for my pass, I would have loved to have checked my heart rate as I felt it trying jump out of my chest and dance on the gas tank. My mind was racing too. “This is it…last chance. It’s all or nothing now. I can’t fall short this time. Damn this is scary. What the hell am I thinking? I hate this high speed stuff. Shut up and ride, you puss.”
Pass #6 Sunday afternoon-Brock: After a final Dave O check, I did a dry-hop to test the traction. The bike almost LIFTED the front WHEEL! “I can do something with that,” I told him from under my visor. “Go for it,” he replied. I guess once a racer, always a racer. My mind snapped into race mode, and the fear and apprehension of a moment ago was completely gone, at least for the moment. Finally at least one familiar aspect, I don’t get scared at the drag strip—it’s fun. “The course is yours,” the starter told me. I left as hard as I thought was possible without being too aggressive. The difference the tire warmer made was nothing short of amazing. I was able to get the bike moving quickly and fully lock the throttle in the top of first gear which would never have been possible before. I nailed the 1-2 shift and settled in to my tuck, not even noticing the corner that plagued me last year. As a drag racer, the top of 4th is usually my mental cue that the race is over; at the Monster Mile, it’s my signal that things are about to get REALLY loud and fast as the sound of the bike disappears from wind noise. I have always used engine tone as my signal to look towards that tach in preparation to shift, but this must be replaced with a tach only shift in 5th and 6th here…no easy task for a guy who is having so much trouble even seeing the race surface. “Don’t short shift, it’s worse than hitting the limiter. But stay off the limiter, count your shifts, ride on the balls of your feet with your toes pointed inwards, tuck in your elbows, get as low as possible, try to set your chin on the tank and don’t forget to press your ass against the hump, remember not to leave any gap,” Dave O’s voice echoed in my mind over the deafening noise. As soon as I see the long patch of pavement at around the _ mark, I know it’s really time to crawl into the paint and hold on. Dave O doesn’t even look forward from this point on, he looks down at the gas tank while entering and exiting the speed traps completely blind?! My mind is racing a mile a minute. Shit–I can’t see anything. I know I’m in 6th…feels ok and stable…stay in it. Jesus this is fast! Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god…what am I doing?! Was that the finish line?! Is it over? I better slow down. Engine braking is my new friend. Is that the first turn off? It’s coming up fast. Wow, did I brake late, or was I just flying? I think that was pretty fast. I sure as hell hope so because I don’t EVER want to do it again. Did I just break 200 MPH screaming, “Oh my god” driving blind?!!! What in the hell am I doing here? I’m getting to old for this shit…
On the return road back to the timing area, I was given the thumbs up from several racers so I had a pretty good idea that I had done it…either that or they FELT my FEAR from the pits, and were awarding my courage?! I parked the bike and wandered over to the booth to find my ticket.
Ok that’s it and GOOD! Seriously, I’m not built for high speed stuff; my nerves can take it. I REALLY DON”T LIKE IT. I want to go home and never do this again, but I’m bright enough to never say never. “GREAT JOB! That was a one five five sixty foot!” Wayne yelled with a smile. “I called 201 as soon as you left,” Dave O says. “THAT WAS AWESOME!” Jason exclaimed. “Are you done? Can we get the hell out of here now,” Rhonda asked with a relieved but still worried look on her face. “Come stay at our place tonight and leave for home in the morning,” Dawn said with a “You look like you could use dinner and a stiff drink,” gleam in her eye. “Can I do it again?!” Lee asked. Sorry Dude…We somehow turned a nightmare into a history making event. We are all in one piece, and I’m exhausted mentally and physically. “Follow me to Lee’s place, and nice job Street Punk,” Dave O says with a grin.
The better halves. Dawn left- Rhonda right (as always!)
“The ‘new’ Busa 200 MPH club…left to right Dave O, Brock, Jason, Lee. (Not pictured Wayne Robertson). Notice the cheesecake and alcohol….my shirt says it all.
Next time, Chronic heads to the AMA Dragbike Finals for perfect weather and laps from a couple of the best jockeys in the sport.
Good Luck and GO FAST!!!