Thursday, 26 May 2016

. . . T.T. time and losing weight.

 . . . it's been five months since I began to lose weight to trim down for Bonneville 2016.

T.T. 2016 is about to start, it's the World's most famous motorcycle road race.

Logistically as a team we are well organised and have just our bike's Environmental certification for the U.S. to be obtained and this will happen as soon as we receive our race-tickets from the S.C.T.A.
and have complete pictures of our finished bikes as they will appear on the salt.

Also the carnets have to be arranged, but that is simply a specific and accurate list of ALL transport container contents right down to numbers of screws, bolts and washers !

The work on our bikes continues and is "on track" with tuning, modifications and regular tests happening.   Flying out my bike container is not only slightly cheaper than sea-freight, but allows an extra month of preparation which will be valuable time for concluding preparations.  Flying-freight takes 9 days from the UK to the US,    sea-freight takes 37 days !

Personal preparation has seen me reduce in weight from 205lb to 179lb, a weight loss of 26 pounds, or just short of two stones ( 11.8kg) and I certainly feel lighter,    . . . I reckon I can lose another six pounds before going in August,  but the more one loses, the harder it gets to lose !    The thing to keep in mind is that the more weight I lose, the faster I will be on the bike (E = mc2)

For now I am keeping an eye on the weather forecasts for dry salt and sunny days during Speed Week 2016.     . . . fingers crossed.      More about the salt in my next blog.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Characters of Bonneville !

 . . . and there have been a lot over the years as motor vehicle sprinting and all the community that goes with it tends to attract many larger-than-life characters and motor-head eccentrics.

Here are just two . . .

Burt Munro
This focused New Zealander from a Town called Invercargill came to Bonneville and against all the odds, but with considerable experience and dedication to his trusty Indian motorcycle set an under 1000cc World land speed record.

Working in a hut at his home he worked for 20 years to repeatedly modify the 1920 Indian bike and set his first New Zealand record in 1938 and later set seven more. During his ten visits to the salt flats, he set three speed records, one of which still stands.    A film was made about his exploits which is well worth watching,  and several books have been written about him showing a more realistic perspective.

Rollie Free

 . . . Rollie was a motorcycle racer best known for breaking the American motorcycle land speed record in 1948 on the Bonneville Salt Flats.  The picture of Free, prone and wearing a bathing suit is considered one of the most iconic pictures in motorcycling history.
On September 13, 1948, Free raised the American motorcycle speed record by riding the very first Vincent HRD  to a speed of 150.313 mph (241.905 km/h). Special features included the first-ever Vincent use of a rear shock absorber, the first Mk II racing cams, and horizontally mounted racing carburetors. Free had already developed a style of removing the seat from his mount, and lying flat prone along the back spine – thereby minimising wind resistance, and placing most weight over the rear wheel. It is generally believed that this bike is The Black Lightning though, a custom order from the factory and was some 100 pounds lighter and 25 hp more powerful than the stock Black Shadow. In one of his books, Phil Irving (one of the designers) said that there were only about 16 of the model produced. The Black Lightning is the fastest Vincent ever produced.
To protect himself and allow comfort when in such a position, Free had developed special protective clothing. However, when his leathers tore from early runs at 147 mph (237 km/h), he discarded them and made a final attempt without jacket, pants, gloves, boots or helmet. Free lay flat on the motorcycle wearing only a bathing suit, a shower cap, and a pair of borrowed sneakers.    This resulted not only in the record, but also one of the most famous photographs in motorcycling history, the "bathing suit bike" shot taken from a speeding car alongside his run on the Bonneville Salt Flats.
For reasons of health and safety,  this would not be allowed today !    . . . understandably so.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

What is Bonneville actually ?

 . . . in the context of this Blog,  Bonneville is an iconic location and event relating to speed trials for all types of 'transport' machines from tiny to huge, beautiful to ugly,   . . . and nothing ever boring !

. . . out of racing season, the place is a rather striking dried salt-lake desert surrounded by arid hills and low mountains.  Most of the year sees the location waterless and hot attracting visitors for it's remoteness and striking atmosphere, especially at night when the moon is up and stars sprinkle the sky.

Around 1900 the first roads reached the salt lake and in 1907 two local men rode onto the salt in a car to create the first 'recorded' speed-trial.   By 1914 the first official, organised time-trial hailed the beginning of Bonneville salt-lake as the World centre for timed speed records and very quickly a whole range of different classes from vehicle types to engine sizes and fuel groups was established by what has remained essentially a voluntary group of enthusiasts, the Southern Californian Timing Association.  In 2014 they intended to celebrate 100 years of speed racing, however the event was cancelled due to flooding, only the second time in 100 years.

   The event remains quite unique to motorsport as unlike SuperBikes, Nascar and Formula1 it has not been commercialised and excessively branded by commercial interests.   Relatively unknown to the general public due to the lack of mainstream media coverage bonneville is well recognised within the motorcycle community as providing the name for a notable Triumph motorcycle and for being the place that Rollie Free and Burt Munro did their 'thing',     I will talk about these two chaps in my next blog.