Even though we have successfully accomplished performance milestones and set records that no other stock motorcycle with bolt-on aftermarket products has ever achieved, there were still some goals for Brock’s ZX-14 Diary Bike that had not been obtained. To see how fast one of the country’s finest riders can run at a premier drag strip on the AMA/Prostar circuit, check out our Dragbike.com ‘Diary 3.2 Update’.
Friday, November 3, 2006 –
AMA/Prostar National Finals in Gainesville, Florida
Chip Ellis Rides ZX-14 Diary bike at Gainesville
I couldn’t wait to get to the AMA/Prostar National Finals in Gainesville, FL to finally get my ZX-14 “Diary Bike” into some dense, horsepower-making air. After previous performance accomplishments this season in very poor conditions, there was no doubt in my mind that this basically-stock bike could run in the eight second zone in the exact same form as it was after Maxton with a good rider aboard. Unfortunately, in the mad hustle to get caught up in the office after a year which towered over any other “Brock is busy” kind of year, I completely neglected to make travel arrangements for Keith Dennis to attend. To make things worse, Keith had no plans to attend on his own. Great… What now?
Realistically, in my humble opinion, there are probably around five riders in the country (or world as far as I know) that are comprised of the correct physical size AND talent to get a stock engine, stock wheelbase, foot-shifting, no ballast added, 190+ horsepower machine into the eight second zone. My ZX-14 runs very strong, but lets face it, most ‘regular’ guys would consider themselves lucky to see an eight second pass even with an extended swingarm and air shifter on a bike with the same sort of power that this bike makes (myself included.)
During a conversation with Rob Bush of Fish’s Customs about why NO ONE at the biggest motorcycle-only national event in the country had any MR9 race fuel available, Rob mentioned that Chip Ellis was coming down to race Country’s ZX-14 in Super Street before heading to the NHRA Finals in California. Rob wasn’t even finished with his sentence before I had my cell phone out to call Chip. I promptly asked him if anyone would mind if he threw a leg over my ZX-14. Because Chip is now a serious heavy-hitter in the big time world of NHRA, I felt it was my responsibility to be sure that he wouldn’t get into any type of sponsorship trouble by riding my bike. “I’d love to ride it Brock,” was his response. “Everyone I work with is really cool. I’m sure no one will mind.” AWESOME! I have known Chip for years, and he is damn-sure one of the handful of riders I spoke about previously. After hanging up with Chip, I reluctantly purchased a five gallon can of VP MR10 from Rob to be sure we had some spiked gas in the bike for Chip’s attempts. Since I did not have access to a dyno and had never tried MR10 in the past, I felt like every other guinea pig that tries new stuff. Needless to say, I didn’t like it, but I had no other choice. Rob said he had done back-to-back testing on the dyno and that the MR10 had about the same air-fuel ratio as MR 9 with slightly less octane and more oxygen added. That’s what I was looking for, besides I have my Innovate A/F meter on the bike. I would know if the fuel caused any tuning problems.
Saturday, November 4, 2006 –
AMA/Prostar National Finals- Qualifying
Because we arrived late on Friday, there was no time to enter the tune and test session to get Chip some seat time on my 14. Chip also owns his own 14, but doesn’t get to play on it at the track much due to his pro-stock race commitments. When we hooked up on Saturday morning, he said he had only made it to the track once on his 14 and had the chassis set-up for street use. Oh well…I know the 14 takes a bit of practice to ride fast, but Chip is a pro, so it should be ok to throw him out on the track with a strange bike?
Rider profile of Chip Ellis –
Born: February 20, 1970 in New Smyrna Beach, FL.
Height: 5’ 8”
Weight: 140 lbs. in his shorts
Nickname(s): none really, but my crew chief, Ken Johnson, sometimes calls me ‘Tater Chip’
- 2002 AMA/Prostar Funnybike National Champion
- 2003 AMA/Prostar Formula Superbike National Champion
- 2004 AMA/Prostar 600 SuperSport National Champion
- Current DRAG Specialties/S&S Cycle Buell NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle
Quickest/Fastest Pass: 6.55 @ 220 MPH (ZX-11, turbo Funnybike)
Biggest threat: Ryan Schnitz
During the morning on Saturday I checked the density altitude several times; there was high barometric pressure in the morning, and Gainesville’s actual location relevant to sea level is 167 feet above. But, the wind had changed direction from what it had been on Friday. It was now a dead-on headwind and getting stronger as the day got longer. The corrected air density was right around 300 feet in the morning, but climbed steadily throughout the day as the temperature increased and a low pressure system began to creep in. I remembered that it ALWAYS rains at some point during the finals.
AMA/Prostar Event Director and veteran announcer, Lewis Bloom, agreed to let us make a couple of exhibition runs during the Pro sessions when the stands were at their fullest. I was hoping for good things on the pass because I saw Stuart Hamby run a 9.12/154.20 on Terry Jones’ blue ZX-14 in Street ET earlier in the morning session. This is particularly impressive because he has no SuperSport-style tricks done to the bike. Terry has our street megaphone exhaust, no flies, 40-tooth rear sprocket, and my Maxton map in his Power Commander and was running MR9 with no air cleaner, strapped and lowered—stock with bolt-on parts, and that’s all. Of course Stuart was the jockey in the Crate to the Eight’s article riding a Joe Marasco-prepared nitrous Busa. Joe is no dummy; Stuart can ride VERY well.
When Chip’s time arrived, we already had the bike waiting in line. He never even road it around in the pits. The track crew was preparing the track for the Pro’s and had just sprayed traction compound in both lanes. After the burn out, Chip did a couple of quick hops to check traction.
The result was white smoke flying off of the tire?! I was afraid that the VHT was not going to be dry in time for the pass. I even made the statement from the tower on the PA system that with the wind blowing as hard as it had all day, that any pass quicker than a 9.20’s would be pretty good. I fully expected him to roast the tire on the launch. I still have no idea how Chip mustered the nads to leave as hard as he did after those dry hops? I watched the progressive numbers on the screen after the initial launch: 1.53, 3.96, 5.91/126. After that I said to Lewis, “He is really on a pass.” We sat and waited for the numbers. “firstname.lastname@example.org MPH,” Lewis announced. I couldn’t believe it! I really believed that Chip would have his hands full in this wind to get close to Keith’s 9.09. To BEAT it was amazing!
|Click here to watch the video of Chips incredible 9.04 pass!
Lo-Res Version • Hi-Res VersionVideo Clips Courtesy of Dragbike.com
In the video above, please be sure to watch the flags in the background during the burn out. They give an idea of the wind speed and direction during the run.
As usual, I documented the conditions and used the handy wind speed indicator for the very first time. Yeah?
A density altitude of less than 1000 feet is definitely the best conditions the bike had seen on a race track all year. A sustained 10+ MPH dead- straight head wind offset progress. The big question is how much?
Chip returned to the trailer and handed me the time ticket while saying, “Brock, if the wind wasn’t blowing so hard, that would have been an 8.95 pass. No doubt in my mind.”
Chip tried one more time later in the day with an even stronger wind. He said he tried too hard and had to back pedal a wheelie. He ONLY ran a 9.09/155.
Sunday, November 5, 2006 –
AMA/Prostar National Finals- Final Eliminations
We were looking forward to passes on Sunday, hopefully without so much wind. Unfortunately, Mother Nature decided to prove again that it does, in fact, RAIN at the finals every year. We were done. It was all Prostar could do to get the event finished before midnight, without any unnecessary runs to slow things down.
All in all, it was a good weekend. The ZX-14 proved again that it is THE BIKE to beat on the drag strip when set up properly, and Chip did a fantastic job of showing this. A good time was had by all during the event and at the Ale House restaurant afterward. Special thanks to Brock’s employee, E.J. Markley, for watching the camp while we raced. He did an excellent job. Thanks to Dave-O for speaking to every single person at the event (at length) and still having time to make sure the bike was ready for Chip.
Of course, it would have been nice to see an eight second pass, but I’m not unhappy with a 9.04 given the circumstances. The goal we had set for this bike is quite lofty and had never been accomplished in the past. I believe a sub-nine second pass is in there, but it will take perfect circumstances with a killer rider to get it done. We still haven’t had the correct conditions, and even the best riders can only do so much when the weather won’t cooperate with them.
Good Luck and GO FAST!
To Talk about the ZX-14 Diary or ask Brock questions, please visit his forum by clicking here