Going to Bonneville Salt Flats in 2007
First, thanks to our sponsers: Local Union No. 1797 of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Tenzing Momo of Pikes’s Place Market, South Sound BMW, and Brian, Dean and Wes….
Well, Anthony Hopkins is a great actor. And after seeing The World’s Fastest Indian, Kevin has hatched a plan…
Originally, he planned on going this year as an observer to Bonneville Salt Flats with Barb, Bruce, Kathy, Bob and Sue, Ralph and Elaine, Dean, Brent and Richard (and maybe Darryl and June). We were going to check out the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) in action.
Well, now his goal is to skip the preliminary recognizance trip, and modify a race bike to take down this year, and possible a sidecar race rig as well. The Flying Fox racing team will support him as he builds the bike to attempt the speed record for a 500cc BMW twin pushrod production bike.
This project will take a lot of experimentation, trial and error and testing. He’ll modify the cylinder head, carburetion, crankshaft, flywheel, clutch and pistons. He already has a hot 344 racing cam for the R50 BMW. The goal is to exceed the SCTA record- maybe go 120 to 125 mph, Brent piloting.
The race bike has a name. Bonita Rapida, meaning, of course, Pretty Fast. So far, we have built the chassis. The chassis and sheet metal are all painted Dover white. The motor is coming together. Wheels are all built. The rest of the drive line is built, as well as a spare transmission in case we blow one up; and, we have 2 rear drive units of different ratios, since gearing will be critical for the record attempt. Team members Dean and Doug (a.k.a. the umbrella girls) have fabricated a roller race starter and a track stand. Now we have all the professional looking acoutrements to go and hopefully not embarass ourselves too much. Magnificent Sue has committed to a sincere attempt to be one of the Pit Tootsies, which is laudable- after all, heroic Brent is the scheduled pilot of our race vehicle. We also have a test mule vehicle with all of the mechanical features of the race bike, in a 600cc format, and that is undergoing current street testing, showing grand success and great promise.
August 11, Bonneville
|Everyone made the trip safely, Bonita Rapida included. Team members Dean and Brent, Wes and his brother, all have been working hard. Todd is hanging out down there too. They are all dripping sweat and stinky in the heat. Drove all night to get there. Arrived friday, set up camp, missed the tech inspection deadline. Haven’t had a chance to run the bike yet. A few things need adjustment- couple of hose clamps needed to be added, and the throttle return spring wasn’t set with enough vigor. Saturday is the day to pass tech and get a run in, and as soon as I get an update, so will you!!!|
Thank you, Local Union No. 1797 !!! and Thank You, Brian!
Local Union No. 1797 of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America has generously contributed to our competative race efforts. Thank you, guys and gals, we sincerely appreciate your generosity of spirit, and your recognition of and participation in such a spirited adventure!! You’ll ride along with us as we blast accross the salt flats…..
We want to thank Brian again for the generous loan of his great truck. He didn’t come along in body, but let us drive off in his shiney, spectacular truck, which was definitely a very trusting thing to do. And that wonderful gesture allowed us to get safely there and back. Thank you, Brian!
|Congratulations to Bonita Rapida, the 500cc BMW twin motorcycle, and the entire Flying Fox Racing Team!! They just completed their qualifying run and have broken the record. Brent piloted Bonita across the sand (with all his clothes on, unfortunately) at 85 miles per hour. He reports she ran great, he had another 2,000 rpm he could have stroked out of her. Kevin rushed over and stood in line admiring all the sunburnt bellies around him and registered their run.|
|They’ve eaten their congratulatory burger, and are preparing to set up for their run tommorow. Wes is the only guy answering his cell phone, so he updated the wife back home while Kevin logged in their run.|
They still need to do it again tommorow in order to solidify their breaking the record and to get the run in the books. Flying Fox racing team then has to decide about hanging around to protect their record, or gamble and head home. I’m betting that they’ll hang around and enjoy the sporting event.
|The team (Kevin, Dean, Brent, Uncle Fred, Wes) had a super time, sweating away in over 100 degree heat each day. Bonita Rapida made us proud with her warm up run of 85 mph, 2 mph above the record for her class. Kevin stood in line and registered that run, and the following day, they set out again. Next run was a blistering 95.003 mph. The BSA folks turned in 2 runs at 92 mph, which meant that Bonita had to go two more times in order to log a new record (because the 2 runs are averaged for a time).|
So they headed out again, and about a mile in, they busted something. So they headed home, excited and already planning another adventure. We had a party to celebrate at the house on Sunday, and there was much talk about Southern California El Mirage racing, and Bonneville next year…..
|Kevin has taken Bonita apart, chipped off all the salt off her little 500cc twin self and found the problems.
He has made corrections and improvements, and now Bonita is even faster.
Kevin took the bike to the Vintage Motorcycle Enthusiasts club as the featured motorcycle of the month and presented the experience.
Now several members are excited about taking bikes to El Mirage and sharing the experience.
He then took the bike over to Isle of Vashon TT for a little spin, and untold hordes and multitudes swamped Kevin with questions and enthusiastic support.
People were amazed that you can get a 1955 R50 to go over 80 mph under any circumstances, much less at 4500 feet with 100 degree temperatures.
Now with our new and improved race bike, we are headed to El Mirage in November. That means Kevin, Dean, Sue, Brent, Uncle Fred, Wes, Warren, and some VME members.
Barbara is not liking how tempermental Kevin is- he is dieting to squish into his too-tight leathers, because he wants to give Bonita a spin himself. But, she sure likes how he looks in those same leathers…