Wednesday august 31st 2011.
New day – and new hope. Like almost every day, we drove off again today at 06.15 clock. And so Mark was one of the first in the starting line. The weather in the early morning left hoping for good salt and wind conditions.
The conditions were absolutely ideal. The race steward was standing next to me and gave me a sign “three minutes” – “two minutes” – “one minute” – well we did the bike run and tied the Kill Switch on my wrist. My adrenaline began to rise and I was fully focused on my start and ready to run, until my racing steward gave the signal to abort. What had happened?
The launching of me driver crashed into the measured mile mph with about 140/225 km / hr. Until the track was finally ready for the driver again, I waited about an hour at the start, because the track had akkribisch be searched and relieved of any lost parts. The driver is fortunately not much happens – he came with a broken wrist and a broken rib from it. And finally, it could go off for me. I quickened my racing bike and realized immediately that the engine was stuttering at a certain number into the tour, which I promptly dropped my run at 212 km/h.
Bernd fount the mistakes very quickly. The battery and the regulator were faulty. The parts were replaced and I tested the machine briefly out of the course line. The power was there and the engine ran flawlessly. We went to the Pre Staige, carried us up for a starting point and within an hour we drove to Mile 0, to prepare us for the start. I was third in the boot sequence. After about 20 minutes every start was canceled due to extreme wind conditions. In the afternoon, the race organizers decided to stop the racing at about 14.30 clock, due to heavy gust of wind.
The advantage is that tomorrow we can go directly at 7 to Mile since the start order is valid from the day before. We now have only one shot available and we will adjuste and rebuild the grids according to FIM rules. So if it happens, a world record would be valid. Otherwise I would just have an American record.
And so we put everything on one card, because tomorrow is the final day of racing. While I write the blog now, our team is working again on the bike, to have it fixed and ready for tomorrow.
Tuesday august 30 2011.
New day – new hope. At 06.15, the team went to the Salt Flats. We were already at 07.00 clock in the pre staging series for the new run. Everyone was curious how the bike will probably go today. At 10.22 it was time. Markus went to the start and drove off. From the perspective of the audience it looked good, even the sound of the engine left hoping for a fast time. But it was different again …
The shift light was set at 5200 tours. Accordingly, I went and had a pretty good grip. Only in the second Course, there was little escapee on the rear wheel. After about 1.5 miles I was already in the 5th gear and at 5200 tours. The bike was clearly less fast than the first run on Monday. Occurred within the measured mile in the last third of the same as the first run – drop of the engine power and thus also on the rear wheel from skidding. Despite everything, I reached again 155 mph (251 km/h) average speed. Subsequent analysis showed that this time the front racing pistons jammed.
The mechanics team is currently working on high pression on the installation of our last race piston. We believe that achieved with the currently prevailing heat on the Salt Flats (45 degrees) and an altitude of 1200 m, the performance limit of an air-cooled V2 engine is reached, while he runs two minutes or more at top speed and only one or two components not match! But we were lucky, as one of the top aces for motor of the USA is in our hotel. Tonight Ron Dickey came back from Bonneville and saw the mechanics working on the bike. He looked at the two broken racing pistons and he could read them like a book – wow! We have clearly an overheating problem, says Ron, and we must using special spark plugs, which he will give us. The present flitted us before wrong temperatures and so the picture distorted. We will also remove the air filter, so that the engine will not be lean again. If everything is working fine, we would a) solve our engine problem, and b) we would have much more power.
To avoid the intense heat, Markus is already tomorrow in his racingsuit and will be brought from the hotel to the racetrack directly, so we are at the pole positions at 07.00 h. In this way we hope to start before 08.00 h. Markus should fix a record run (178 mph / 286 km), in order that he can do his retourn run immediately. Theory and practice are still often far apart. But still the whole team is motivated – we see what happens tomorrow.
Stay with us…
Monday august 29th 2011.
Several hours of repair. Since we are thousands of miles away from home, improvisation is asked. Our two aces tinkered from the U-Haul ramp and two chairs, a bench, which was right outside the hotel entrance. In addition, Uschi had bought an additional tent to create more shade. But today there were 60.9 Celsius degree temperature asphalt !!!!! The bike was fixed, and the working tools were spread out and then it went on. After 24 hours of intensive work, the bike is now ready to race again.
At 16.30 we drove again toward Bonneville, to complete a first, real Run (hopefully without motor bangers). But it turned the different way ….
We were asked by the race director, to present us at the front desk with the bike. There we learned from FIM racing inspector Curtis and Technical Steward Drew, that a race team at the headquarters of the International Association of FIM (Federation International Motocyclistique) in Geneva, filed a protest against our race bike, because the foot rests are located behind rather than in front of the rear axle. From well-informed source, we know who is behind this action. Because of the FIM was forced to take action (although the FIM has approved the racing bike). For us, this means that without appropriate changes to the bike, we can compete for American Records, but not for world records, as these would not be recognized. Tomorrow we will now pass without a change in one or two test runs to bring in the new engine parts. Then we put the pedal to indicate to what this bike is capable of.
A technical modification of the foot rests is easily possible, only then the seating position of Markus does not fit any more. Above all, the switching operations are dangerous, because the dimensions are no longer correct. A decision of what we do is still open. It is sad that a protest is lodged by a team that is not even drive in our class. This story quickly made the rounds in the paddock, and all the teams and riders could not believe that this happens here. This motivates us more than ever! Turn it on – faster than hell!
The super light conditions by 18 h took advantage of our team photographer Horst Roesler for a great photo shoot and at the same time Markus was able to move his racing bike a few miles.
More stories tomorrow..
Sunday august 28th 2011.
The first ride. Today at 07.30 h the naked bullet bike will definitely allowed to ride, after the technical inspection of the adjustments made yesterday were approved. Almost at the same time the ‘Riders meeting’ took place. The information from the organizers are important, as the sequence of the race will be told. At the same time it is important to note the difference for the american and international track and the measurement for the world records. Meanwhile, Bernd and I ended up to fill the pillowcase, which is used on planes, with thick blankets (!) (Yes we know to help ourself) to have a better position for the rides as it will be put on the bike, where Markus is laying with his chest and therefore his arms will be fixed as they are not hunging around without being stable. Otherwise it costs not only power but it is also an uncertain driving. With some of couple of tapes it has been fixed, and Markus could for the first time trying it out. Except this theory it should be an optimal position. The U-Haul wit the bike and Markus took off on the way to the tank-truck. This is the only car where all bikes who needs special fuel in in certain classes can fill it up. Because after the race on the inpound area the tank will be sealed. And then finaly we could go off after several hours of waiting on the Runcours.
The first run should bring the following information:
1st Optimum seating position by the new column.
2nd Measured top speed at 4500 tours (this gives us important information
concerning translation, jetting, etc.
The to the naked bullet attached shift light has the following additional functions, either to show the Km or display of speed. At the start it switched unfortunately to the Km-display instead to the tour.
I realized that the seating position is excellent, the grip was there and the bike hanged up super on the gas. And since I did not know what number I have for a tour, I decided to run on a full throttle. Despite two interconnecting, I had at the beginning of the measured mile 288 km/h on the screen, after about 2/3 thirds of the measurement zone, I had a dramatic drop in performance at about 220 km/h. Nevertheless, I realized an average of around 250 km/h. The subsequent analysis of the engine revealed a piston jamming. I know now that the bike is adjusted optimally and should also have the appropriate power to surpass the existing world record of 286 km/h. Fortunately we have two extra pistons racing here, and are confident that we are ready to race again tomorrow afternoon.
And so it was called for today to leave the paddock. We drove back to the hotel early afternoon. While I write this blog, Coni, Michi and Bernd are working under high pressure on the bike, to get the engine again running. We are looking forward what will be tomorrow.
Saturday august 27th 2011.
The day of decision. Today the technical inspection is on the agenda. But before that happens, we still had to pick up the U-haul (small truck for the race bike). And there we were ready by 9 clock and it worked after all. In a convoy we drove to the place where they put the box to be stored and were curious to find it ina and were curious to see what was supplied in the box condition. People all clear, everything has arrived safely and as we drove by 12 clock finally to Bonneville Salt Flats to the. One thing I can say before, would anyone complain in Switzerland over 33 degrees, then I do not know what was out here today. There were around 45 degrees! After the campers, the vehicles and the U-Haul were parked and placed it, our team worked like bees in the house. Everyone grabbed some stuff and in an instant all the material was unpacked. Together with Markus, I stood after in line at the pre-entry to be done, to place the forms for the technical inspection and to confirm the registration. After an hour it was done and now we had to take only the last hurdle. Here also was announced to be patience for a good two hours we were at the row. Drew, chief engineer FIM inspected the bike and found just three little things that need to be done by tomorrow, so it is allowed for the race. Meanwhile, Markus has took on the race suit so few photo sessions with the great light on the Salt Flats of Horst Roesler could be made yet. And then it started with the first ride – what a feeling, after driving up and down it could feel the power of it! Incidentally, it is not easy and it will not be a cakewalk for Markus. But that’s Bonneville, you have to earn it.
Then we organized at various neighbors drills, etc., so Coni and Michi could start with the changes. The weather has now turned and a storm was coming. This meant that the tent of the neighbors (because it was not covered) flew us around the ears, respectively, to the camper and caused a corresponding loss to the outside wall. Super, and five minutes before the driver left the camp of the tent.The bike was finished up in the evening. Super job. And so we went at 18.30 clock back to the hotel and we are confident, that tomorrow the weather is friendly again and we can start the first few rides on.