Although it was a frustrating weekend for TLN Motorsports we were still able to set a few records. The team captured five records between both our Kawasaki's at the ECTA / Throttle Nation Top Speed Challenge at the Ohio Mile. Here is how we faired on both bikes:
We started on the Kawasaki ZX-6RR and made a pass of 178.459 mph which was a record pass, but not a perfect pass as a dreaded ignition problem caused a very slow launch. Our next pass on the ZX-6RR was aborted as the ignition mod wouldn't let us rev above 7,000 rpm.
We disconnected all the connections on the 600's ignition mod and cleaned them before Sunday's runs. Right out of the gate the ZX-6RR was on a great pass, geared for 184 mph, but hit the rev limiter before the traps and when it did the ignition failed. We ended up coasting through at 170 mph for that pass. The issues with the bike were starting to take its toll and we were getting frustrated. We tried again, but again aborted as the ignition module totally failed.
Greg Neal on-board his Kawasaki ZX-10R (2008) - Photo by David Whealon
On our first pass aboard the ZX-10R we were able to post a 197.917 mph pass, which was also a record and stood as the Throttle Nation 1000cc naturally aspirated leader until mid afternoon. Shortly after that Valarie Thompson posted a 198.1 to take the Throttle Nation class lead. We were struggling to maintain heat in the bike again as GPS showed us running 200 at 3/4's, but slowing from there to the mile as temperature dropped. Our second pass on the ZX-10R slowed even more to 196.831 mph. We were back in line for a 3rd run, but the huge field kept us from getting another run.
On Sunday we added more tape to the radiator on the ZX-10R and got in line. It was too much tape as we were at 245 in the traps and ran another 196. The next two passes on the ZX-10R smoked the tires on the start and were mid 197's which gave us 4 records, but not the Throttle Nation lead.
I made the decision to go opposite of conventional wisdom and drop a tooth on the rear. I wasn't pulling the gear we had on, but I was hoping to get into the bottom of the torque curve as I shifted into 6th. I knew I couldn't pull that tall of a gear, but maybe I could still go faster. We pumped the rear up to 70 psi to expand the tire to help pull the gear. I spun on the launch, spun and turned sideways on the shift to 2nd, but got is stabilized and I went through the traps at 199.329 mph. Record number 5 and the Throttle Nation 1000cc naturally aspirated class lead.
The next pass was interesting. I found a bump on the 5th-6th shift and the bike unloaded and started to the right. As I corrected the bike I was hit by a crosswind gust that shot me left and sent me into a cone that exploded the fairing, and then another cone at the 3/4 marker with the right side of the bike, my right arm and hand. I was able to keep it on two wheels, but not a pass I want to have again as the bike suffered a lot of damage. We tried taping it up and fixing it so we could make another pass. Brock was looking at us like we were crazy, but he would have done the same thing. We got back in line, but ran out of time.
We wanted 7 records which would have put us at 100 Land Speed Records set since 2008. But the bottom line is 5 new Land Speed Racing records set and Throttle Nation Top Speed Challenge 1000cc naturally aspirated class Champ for the 3rd straight year. The sad part is we are retiring the ZX-6RR, but happy it went out setting a record. I would have to look it all up to have the total number of records that bike has set, but at one time it owned every 650/750 record in the ECTA and it has dominated the LTA. It still holds 3 Worlds Fastest Standing Start speeds for a N/A 650cc motorcycle. One mile @ 184.161 mph, 1.5 mile @ 190.118 mph and 1 mile street legal at 182.095 mph. I'll miss racing it.
To give you an idea of what the weekend was like, I'd make a pass on one bike and get back in line. Then I'd run in leathers about 1/3rd of a mile to where my wife had the other bike in line. She would ride back to be with the other bike, and also do all the record certifications. We made repairs and gear changes in the staging lanes. It was a ton of work to run both bikes, but worth the effort.
We are looking forward to the 2013 Season to do it all over again!