Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The "Ohio Mile", July 7-8

In the interest of full disclosure I'll say at the outset that I can't talk too much about the details of the Badger's weekend, lest I get myself in hot water with the boys in Legal at Cafe Racer TV. Certainly can't answer the obvious question: "how fast did it go?", without spoiling the surprise previous to the show's airing in the Fall. Big no-no they tell me. So sorry, can't. But a little travelog, in the interest of a little PR? Sure, why not....

The thrust of our episode for Cafe Racer has been re-purposing the Badger once again; this time building it as a speed trial bike, racing it over a flying mile, and chasing a class speed record with the East Coast Timing Association.

So fast forward to Friday, July 6th. Friday was supposed to be a travel day, but true to form the bike was fighting us right to the end with some fuel issues that took the better part of the afternoon to sort. I know this is getting repetitive to the point of boring, but no matter how I plan, the bike always has different ideas. Can never seem to catch a break, with things running smoothly. Oh well, should probably just learn to accept it from a bike called the Badger.

We wrapped up at the shop about 6, and decided to grab a bite and get a few hours rest before hitting the road to Ohio. We planned an 11PM launch to get us there by 8, Saturday morning.

Early in our talks with CRTV it was determined that we would have to abandon our usual ride it to the race approach. Something about budgets, the episode, and risk management. Not much of an episode if you blow it up on the WAY to the track I was told. So we acquiesced and went for more conventional transport.

Badger Corse spotted somewhere on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in the wee-wee hours:

Arriving at the former home of the Clinton County Air Force Base (now home to DHL) we checked in with ECTA registration and made our way to tech. It's always a point of personal pride for me to present tech with a well prepared bike. But it's always a bit of a nail biter when it's your first time with a new club. No worries, we breezed thru.....

It was no secret that the weather that weekend was going to be beyond brutal, with temps well above a hundred degrees. So it was. Depending on who you talked to it was 106 or 108. Suffice to say: HOT! Tough conditions for both the vehicles and drivers. But at least we had shade....

Version 3.0 waiting on line for its first run...

Let's see... A pick up truck, a Royal Enfield, a 200 mph Suzuki (?), and a VW bug. Yeah, that'll make you scratch your head.

The Cafe Racer boys sniffing out yet another human interest story and interviewing Greg, the guy with the other blue bike.

Dressed for the weather; our intrepid rider: the fun loving, always smiling, Isle of Man winning.... Chris Hook; resplendent in his "Adult Channel" sponsored leathers, from back in the day. Obviously, the right man for the job.

Proof, that, as my buddy Bill says "people will race anything!"....

Apparently, this thing goes like, 300 mph...

This, less so. But cool none the less.

Super cool helicopter gas turbine powered, carbon fiber streamliner. These guys were there "shakin' it" in preparation for Bonneville in August.

I wish I'd started this earlier, cause you should have heard this thing spooling up. It doesn't leave the line hard, but at the end of the mile was doing 250+. At the end of Bonneville's 5 mile course, Lord only knows...

A supercharged, nitro burning, 160 mph BSA. Go figure.

Probably my favorite car of the weekend. All the bases covered. Looks, sound, and SPEED!

Wouldn't be a speed meet without a belly tank lakester...

By Sunday it had cooled off to a much more tolerable mid-80's. In one fell swoop, everybody's stuff was finally running half way decent. As one guy put it "yesterday there wasn't enough air to run a motor or a driver".

Besides the performance gains, Sunday's cooler conditions were also a little more conducive to paint that would actually dry, rather then just melt in the heat, so Mark was able to get a little more paint on the bike as well. Thanks Hitchcocks! Here's Chris getting all Go-Pro-ed up by CRTV....

And getting set off on another run....

As I said at the outset, as far as details of Version 3.0's success or failure... well, that will have to wait. Can't spoil it for TV land.

But that doesn't prevent extending thanks to the ECTA, and especially Race Director Keith Turk. The folks at the ECTA were hands down the nicest, most helpful, supportive, and down right funniest bunch of people I've ever had the pleasure of racing with. Keith went above and beyond and couldn't have made us feel more welcome, right down to helping us tune the bike and sharing his expertise in the art of trying to go fast. It was a HARD weekend in many respects, with the bike throwing us its share of curve balls. But through out it all I had an absolute ball playing and racing with the ECTA. I'm hooked on this LSR stuff! Thanks again, Keith.

Thanks also to our friends at Hitchcocks Motorcycles, and especially Allan Hitchcock. From their generous parts support, to technical advice and endless questions on my part, it never would have happened without them. Hitchcocks sets the benchmark in RE performance, and working with them has been nothing but a pleasure.  Thanks.

Speaking of a pleasure, the guys at Cafe Racer TV were just plain fantastic to work with. Patient, professional, unflappable. So here's to Executive Producer / Director Ed "the patience of a Saint" Coughlin, 2nd in command and cameraman extraordinaire Scott Lootens, sound man Tommy Lee, and CRTV man about town Blake Kelly. Rider Chris Hook gets special kudos just having the shear balls to get on a brand new bike, built by guys he doesn't know from Adam and then flogging it down a mile at full chat. All done with grace and humor, and in a true team spirit. Thanks fellas. Can't wait to see what you guys make out of all of this, but please be gentle on us. But seriously; though at times highly stressful, it's been a wonderful ride. Thanks for inviting us along.



  1. that's bollox mate hitchcock's doesn't set the benchmark, try Steve linsdell

  2. Hi Anonymous,
    Calm down. Steve Linsdell's accomplishments on Royal Enfields are on a completely different plane. And are the stuff of RE legend. But, in so far as Hitchcocks has made a Bullet do just under 120MPH over a flying 1/4 mile, then yes... as far as this aspect of the project (LSR) is concerned I'll consider THAT the benchmark.

    Thanks for you interest.