World Finals 2009
Back on the Salt in October when the weather turns downright cold. The October event is always a bit iffy and is more often than not rained out. This year there was a one day delay as the original course was wet and consequently only one 5 mile course was set up. You turn out after the three mile on short course and after the five mile on long course.
SCTA-BNI Tech Inspection
Tech Inspection. The Bullett passed with flying colors but Bryan's $1,000.00 leathers had some cloth breather panels that the SCTA wanted 100% leather. Leather and special needles and thread were driven in from Salt Lake City by Brother Speed. A second set of leathers were driven down 340 miles from Boise on a motorcycle in snow and freezing weather. That delayed things a day while Bryan and Bugsy turned a hotel room into a leather repair shop. The sewn up leathers passed tech the next morning and the bike was put into line with the other competitors. Whatever it takes. Without Blaine from Salt Lake or "Crash" from Boise it would have been impossible to run on Friday.
The head Motorcycle Technical Inspector is reviewing the Bullett's log book from the 2008 Speed Week.
When you see black rubber streaks you have a pretty good indication that the conditions are good, that is, good for the slippery surface of Bonneville. Apply too much power to soon and you'll just spin your tire, or loop your car. No wind, blue skies, no rain. Unusual for the October World Finals event.
Waiting in line
When you get close you have to unload the bike and then push it along as the line advances.
Our first day, Friday, took eight hours to make it through the line. Saturday and Sunday went a lot quicker as the entires thinned out and the SCTA Officials started cracking down on people who were not ready.
You get to meet all kinds of people from all sorts of places, both competitors and spectators. Here Bryan is talking with a father and his family. The dad is having a blast and his girls probably would rather be doing something else. This year we visited with French and German tourists.
The SCTA wants you ready to go before you get to the line to avoid delays. If you aren't ready you don't go. They want people in the cars and the bikes suited up 7 or eight vehicles in advance.
Are we ready to rumble
Just you and the big white dyno. In qualfying you need three licenses to go 200+: 150/175/200. You must make three passes and get close to but not go faster than these three speeds and do it between the 2 and the 2 1/4 mile timing lights. You must turn off the course after the three mile marker. Violate these rules, i.e. go faster than or longer than specified, and you're done. They will send you home.
Unlike the AMA Bub Meet the SCTA-BNI requires all vehicles be towed back from the end of their run. You must turn off the course and be fully clear of the track which means right to the access path for the tow vehicles, which is way, way, off the race course. No crashes or blown motors, just a drive in an adrenaline-filled park.
All loaded up and getting Bryan out of his race leathers. It takes a lot of support to bring an effort to Bonneville.
Get Your Timing Slip
They drop down your timing slip on a string to you after you complete your run. You then need to go to the officials at the starting line to get the slip signed at each licensing stage. Maybe the tower is for vision or maybe it's so you can't climb up and get them. Sharks below, fishermen above.
At the end of one run we found Bryan held captive by a SUV full of Paparazzi. They were laying in a semi-circle around the bike photographing Bryan and the Bullett with a gaggle of expensive cameras and later had him posing for pictures. You go with the flow. Bonneville is a strange place. A herd of Freelancers hunting for content.
Give Me $200.00 and All the Beer I can Drink
Along comes film director to our pits and offers Bryan $100.00 to drive the Bullett through a video shoot. Bryan told him $100.00 doesn't buy shit for his crew. When the offer goes up to $200.00, all the imported beer the crew could drink, and a bunch of dancing girls, Bryan reconsiders. What the hell, we were done for the day.
Compromise is a Bitch
If you are a hard-core, patch holding biker, you have to reflect on your image, your actions, and what you believe in. Do you want your bike, a bike without any logos, except for a club patch on your leathers in a video that you know nothing about? Well, it takes a moment to reflect, and to argue about the consequences. Bonneville is a strange place with strange goings-on and going with the strange seemed to be the thing to do at the moment. It wasn't the $200.00, the beer, or the girls...it was about being a free spirit.
Bryan had to make three U-Turns with the Bullett in wet salt. 1000 lbs of bike with about a 10 degrees of triple tree movement... Kinda doubt many people could have done it. Collect the $200.00 and take the crew to a big Chinese dinner in Wendover. No one took notes so we have no idea about who or what that was all about.
Cleared for Long Course and 200 mph
Bryan got all three licenses i.e 150/175/200 with passes at 145, 163 and 191 mph. Next stop is Speed Week in 2010. The Bullett will have it's transmission torn down for a new replacement mainshaft and will be thoroughly inspected. The 139" Orca engine ran fine all week and did not have a drop of blow-by. Power is not the issue and the Bullett would spin the tire at will. At this point it's just cruising. It has never been in 5th gear yet.
The engine is being torn down for a complete internal inspection. Every component front to rear is being inspected. In August 2010 we'll lean on her and find out what she'll do.
Cars at World Finals
Gentleman to the left is wearing a 200 MPH Life Member Hat
Nice Pit Car
2000 Hp Ferrari...No Joke
Typical low-buck effort
You have to Love Bonneville
Teardown...Post World Finals
139" ORCA: Nine trips down the course in 2008/2009 to get bike sorted out and qualified for long course, then it was time to tear the engine and transmission down to ground zero in preparation for 2010. You don't let it stay buttoned up until next August/September/October. The engine was in fine shape and we only elected to put in new rings. The Xtreme Performance ceramic coated piston tops showed we had no detonation, deformation or burned heat patterns under the dome. Piston pit fit was as installed. There were no marks on the bore or the skirts. A very slight brush of the bores and new rings was all that was required. Carl Pelletier of Competition Motorcycles in Boise handled the initial engine build and the teardown in his race engine shop.
No leaks in either oil or the water system were found. Upper end oil scavenging had been directed to the flywheel area. This will be changed to the cam cavity. New parts for the Jim's Fat5 Transmission were ordered and installed to replace parts that had grinding marks as result of the Bub Meet repairs.
Complete disassembly and rustproofing and refinishing is required of any machine that goes to Bonneville. If you don't, you will drive a two thousand miles to find out that you should have.
Know What You're Getting Into...
In the early 1980's Mike Geokan built the famous #226 "Blue Bike"...Blue because he had met Donald Campbell in the early 1960's when he crashed his Bluebird streamliner at Bonneville. Bonneville is all about tradition. Big iron, big dreams, big speed. First it was with Nitrous Oxide, wide-open bellowing pipes and holed pistons and runs in the 180's. One time Carl Pelletier even welded a holed piston shut with a mig welder at the Salt Flats to get Mike his record.
Next for the "Blue Bike" was a custom intercooled, fuel-injected, water-injected RB Racing Turbo and some custom water jackets fabricated by Carl Pelletier and an upgraded 104" engine. Battling wet salt, electronic gremlins, high winds and taking house payments to pay entry fees, Mike put the turbo bike into the record books. Bonneville wasn't always friendly to motorcyclists and patch holding bikers were definitely not part of the tradition. Mike got respect by having innovative equipment and running well. Essentially a low compression chopper with a fairing that ran high 190's time after time on wet salt...Then the Carrillo Rods snapped and destroyed the 104 inch engine. Time to reevaluate.
Mike started work on the Bullett in 1992 and finally retired the #226 bike in 1998. The Bullett was designed to be a pure Bonneville bike and not based a modified street frame. He designed the frame and he and fellow Brother Speed member Bryan Stock built the frame in Mike's shop. Carl Pelletier machined the custom triple clamps and the jackshaft assembly. Carl left the project to go drag racing. In 2003 decisions were made on the engine and the frame was raised to accept a 1" taller engine. The final decision was to build a 4 3/8" Bore x 4 5/8" stroke motor...and after two years of wrangling with S&S and tens of thousands of dollars later the RB Racing spec'ed 139" ORCA engine parts were delivered to Carl Pelletier of Competition Motorcycles for final assembly. Carl supplied the 8" Nitro rods and the special wet primary /dry clutch assembly.
Many firms were involved: S&S Cycles (Steve Rominski), CP Pistons, John O'Keefe of Branch O'Keefe (porting), Ferrea Valves, Jims USA (transmission), Compufire (3 phase charging system) and specialized components from RB Racing. Everything was paid for. The bike carries no stickers. Mike worked practically non-stop for 5 years working out the final details.
In 2008 the Bullett made it to Speed Week where Mike got the bike sideways and ended up shattering his collar bone...16 years after he started the project. Another rider took the bike down the course for two test runs under 100 mph and the bike was returned to Boise. An attempt was made to return to the October 2008 World Finals but the event was rained out.
In 2009 the Bullet returned for testing at the Bub Meet. Bryan Stock succesfully took the bike down the 2 mile course twice in third gear with a test speed of 183 mph. Returning to the 2009 SCTA-BNI World Finals Bryan got his licenses for 125,150 and 175+ mph. The Bike and Bryan are now qualified for long course and 200+ mph in 2010.
Some numbers for all the people involved: 17 years of Mike's labor. Many tens of thousands of dollars (don't ask, we don't want to know), 55,500 miles of vehicle operation by crew, suppliers and support personnel from Brother Speed. Unknown quantities beer, Gatorade, Casino food, and controlled substances. After all of this you are allowed to go to the long course.
In early 2009 Mike was hit by a driver that ran a red light while riding his street FXR "Evil Twin" bike and nearly died. He is recovering and will be with the Bullet in 2010. Dreams never die. Those who dare to carry out their dreams allow us to go along with them. Know what you're getting into. This is serious business. Consequences for all involved.
When you ask Bryan what it's like to drive the Bullet he says it isn't like anything he's driven before. You sort of hang on, enjoy the view and try not make mistakes.
425 HP Bonneville Bullett Lower End
2010 is the time to completely disassemble Mike Geokan's Bonneville Bullett. Engine, transmission and all components have to be inspected after the runs at Bonneville in 2008 and 2009.
Here Carl is assembling the Bullett's 139" ORCA crankshaft with his unique full complement bearing structure and high pressure assembly lube. No issues were found after all the runs at Bonneville. We weren't going to return in 2010 without inspecting the engine. We are providing a chronology of what it takes to get ready for the 2010 season.