Day 2: Tuesday September 2, 2008
Tuesday dawned perfectly clear with very little breeze. The salt was perfect for racing.
The bulk of the morning was taken up by standing in a very long line for tech inspection. While long, it was fun as we got to meet a lot of other racers and spectators. One thing that I didn't expect was the level of "privateers" that are here racing for records. Almost all of the entrants are single guys or a few friends that have build some sort of amazing machine in their garages and basements. It never ceases to amaze me how beautiful and meticulous some of the craftsmanship is on these bikes. Some just defy description.
For example, there was the guy who had hand-built what amounts to a single cylinder 1100cc supercharged engine from a V-Twin, or the guy that built a three cylinder Harley.
When we got to tech, we ran into some problems. There are three to four sanctioning bodies at this event and they all have different rules. The basic safety rules are close to the same, but some of the other rules are quite different. When we got there we discovered that our rear fairing could not be any lower than the top of the wheel from the center of the axle backwards. We also discovered that we had to trim some off the rear of our front fender. We made it long to prevent salt from getting into cowling, but oh well. It was really a shame to have to cut the beautiful body work that Phil had put together, but what could we do?
Fortunately, on the semi-streamliner, that was all we had to do. Dan and the rest of the team really did a great job interpreting the rules, which meant no late night thrashing around with wrenches.
The road racer was a bit of a different story. Since it was a road racer, we did not have a chain guard on it. The officials rightly pointed out that if the chain let loose, the rider would either be singing soprano or would have a botched leg. There was an AHRMA official at the track who had a brand new Royal Enfield and offered his chain guard to us. For many reasons it turned out not to be as good an idea as it sounded. Finally, we decided to call Tim at CMW home base and have him overnight one to us.
It looks like we will get our first run in on the semi-streamliner tomorrow. The current record is 115 mph so we'll see what happens. There is a lot more to salt racing than just gunning it down a very long track. You lose about 20% of your power just due to the altitude - and then you have the temperature to contend with. The wind and salt conditions are also huge factors... but more of that tomorrow!
Photo Gallery: Day 2 at the Salt Flats