Nothing could really have
prepared me for the experience I recently had at the E.C.T.A.
Maxton Time Trials this last month. Nothing comes even
remotely close to the rush and exhilarating rides I enjoyed
all weekend while riding on the 1-mile speedway called
Maxton. How can I put this into words that the average
mortal human could possibly comprehend? What could I say
that would allow you to understand the total onslaught
of emotion that fills you when running at near 200mph
speeds down a deserted runway full open in 6th gear while
a 30' wide runway turns into 2 inches wide? How can I
paint a picture of speed and raw power of the motorcycle
that propels you to breakneck speeds of almost 293 feet
per second? I can't...I'm sorry....It's just almost impossible
to be able to tell you the feeling I got every time I
launched at the end of the runway and opened it wide open
in every single gear and hear my motor sing when I shifted
at 10,500 rpm to catch the next gear that would propel
me to the next level. To watch a vision of a tunnel form
in front of you while everything around you goes to a
blur except that small hole in front of you of sight and
sound. Your concentration level starts to work overtime
as you clear the cotton field just before the tower and
a gush of wind hits you from the side and makes you lean
to the side at about 15 degrees while driving straight
at near 200mph.
Let me first start by explaining
the "Maxton" experience to you from the beginning.
Maxton is a Land Speed Record Racing event. You start
from a dead stop and run until you have reached the 1
mile traps. The object is to go as fast as you can in
1 mile from a dead stop. No roll ons, no headstarts, just
wide open go for it racing. You are by yourself on the
track and are concerned for nothing but going faster than
you have ever ridden on a motorcycle. Reaching speeds
unheard of on the streets for a standing 1 mile.
me introduce you to John Beckett, the President of the
East Coast Timing Association (E.C.T.A.). After teching
in your bike with the various tech officials and get their
stamp of approval (literally), you are ready to attend
the riders meeting. Getting thru tech was easy since I
pre-joined the E.C.T.A. (a prerequisite for racing) and
safety wired my bike to their strict standards according
to their rulebook. These guys actually adhere to the damn
thing and there was no getting around anything with them.
This is not a race for prize money; there are no winning
pictures or handshaking at the end of every event. You
are there to beat a record in your class (of which there
are several) and nothing more, except to have a great
time doing so. Do not come to Maxton and think you are
going to pull the wool over someone's eyes as to the fitness
of your bike for this event. This is not drag racing the
1/4 mile at your local track with loosey goosey rules
that will be over looked because you are a team racer
or knows someone. These guys are very serious when it
comes to the safety of its riders. You are traveling at
some very fast speeds and there is no room for error here.
Almost every person I met had been a drag racer at one
time or another and decided to (in their words) go to
the next level of racing. You will however come here with
grand thoughts of 200mph and most of you will go home
humbled from this event. I know I did, humble pie was
dished up in great servings to me that weekend.
Once you have passed tech,
you attend a drivers meeting where a list of items are
covered regarding track conditions, rules and various
notes from the last meet. If you are new to the "Maxton"
experience, you are taken by truck to the starting line
over a mile away.and lectured on course conditions and
driving concerns. They actually drive you down the length
of the course from starting line, to finish line, to the
shut down area so that you aware of what you will be getting
into once on the track. John explains the history of the
track and where to find your best line for driving it.
The course was an abandoned
runway that was once used back in the 1940's when the
U.S. Army Air Corp trained glider pilots for the Normandy
invasion of WW2. There are only 3 places in the United
States where you can run all out for land speed records.
El Mirage Dry Lake, California (just north of Palmdale),
Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah and Maxton, N.C. at the Maxton-Laurinburg
airport. So you see, the groups of racers that go to these
events are a very close-knit group. Until recently in
the last few years, it was mainly a car event where you
could see vehicles from about type and shape run in some
class against a record previously set by someone. The
object of this game here folks is to beat the record and
push it farther, no matter the class, size motor, streamlined
or not. Motorcycles here at Maxton have been a growing
group since the advent of the Hayabusa and the ZX-12R
came into the picture where 200mph was not out of the
question. John will take you to various spots on the track
and show you where repairs have been made.
can see from the picture, the starting line is at
the beginning of an abandoned runway that goes to
the north for about 600-800 feet then doglegs to
the right at about 20-25 degrees. So you start off
at the far left of the runway and try to cut the
corner a bit that will help straighten out your
driving line. Oh yes my friends, you are already
at over 120mph by the time you reach that point
and your leaning and accelerating with a full open
throttle twisted to the max. You straighten your
line and make a mad dash for the center of the runway
because all of a sudden it has grown smaller in
width as if you just ate some of the magic mushroom
from Alice in Wonderland.
attention needs to be paid when driving this course.
Yes my friends, that is a huge black patch of fresh
asphalt that you will cross over at near 200mph.
But that's nothing compared to the gravel patches
and dirt areas you will traverse in the shutdown
part of the course. Thank goodness you have over
1/2 mile to shutdown. So there is no concern for
really clamping on the brakes to do so, just cruise
smoothly over the rough areas and pretend you're
on a dirt bike.
Volunteers of the E.C.T.A.
cleared over 200 dump truck full loads of dirt off
this runway before any driving could be done. Then
before every meet, the weeds have to be cleared
out of the cracks (of which there are many) before
each event. Entire fields are mowed and cotton fields
are cleared so that you can race here at every event.
Enough about the track, let's get on with the experience.
We brought the Dragbike.com
Trilogy Hayabusa to this event with great expectations
of going over 200mph on our first outing. But here
at Maxton, you are strictly prohibited from driving
200mph on your first pass. You must first pass the
license runs, which are a mandatory requirement
for all new racers
I go on a 125mph pass to get my 'D' license. Ran
137mph, but that was all right for my first time
and next was my 150mph for my 'C' license. Nailed
that one at 150.4505mph and so again I'm off for
my 'B' license of 175mph. Ran that one at 176.4005mph
and now I'm ready to attempt a 200mph run for my
'A' license. You can hot lap this track and get
back in line to go run after run if you wish. There
are no classes that they run at any one time. You
just get in line and they send whoever is next in
event is a continual event, there are no breaks
for lunch, and you just go out there, get in line
and run when it's your turn. There may be a car
in front of you and a 5hp Briggs & Stratton go-cart
behind you, you just never know. But there were
about 20 or so Busa's at this event and probably
8-10 Kawi's and another dozen mix and match bikes
of every kind. Buells, Harley's, Triumphs, Honda's
and all kinds of exotic creations. The fastest bikes
were the Hayabusa's and the ZX's of which a few
were faster than 200mph. They were either turbo
charged or Nitrous injected bikes because here folks,
HP is the name of the game. It requires almost 200HP
to go faster than 200mph with the proper gearing.
Let me give you an insight to gearing for a Hayabusa
of which I am most literate in. To reach speeds
of 200mph you would need the following gearing for
= Motor rpm / Pri. Reduction Ratio / Top Gear Ratio
/ Sprocket Ratio / 60 X Tire Circ. / 17.6 = Projected
||1 mile =
5,280 feet = 63,360 inches
||1 MPH =
17.6 inches per sec
does NOT take into account any WIND resistance, rolling
resistance or bearing/brake pad/chain resistance.
I was running an 18/37 sprocket combination while
riding into an 8-15mph headwind and could only manage
a 195.6955mph run
If you have followed the
Hayabusa Trilogy article on Dragbike.com, you would know
everything about this bike, but basically it is a 1397
motor, web cams, PCII, Brock/Hindle Street Smart Series
Pipe, and an airbox mod that dynoed recently at 201HP
SAE. You can rest assured that this winter, the Dragbike.com
Hayabusa will undergo another transformation for more
power.....I want 200+mph!!! Another major factor to running
high MPH speeds is drag coefficients and resistances of
any kind. Wind, chain, bearing, brake pad, rolling and
yes, your leathers. How can leathers be a factor you say,
well it's very easy. Don't wear leathers that are loose
fitting and will flap in the wind. If you are going to
go over 175mph, you will need 1-piece leathers anyway.
Quite a few drag racers only have the standard 2-piece
leathers, which zip at the waist. These leathers were
allowed if you were a first timer and they were of good
construction. If they did not zip, you CAN NOT wear them.
The E.C.T.A. Tech inspectors were very concerned about
this, but once they saw the quality of construction, they
allowed them. They WILL NOT be allowed next year if you
travel faster than 175mph, so plan on getting new ones
if you want to go really fast here at Maxton.
As you can see by the new
suit that Bates Leathers custom made, it was designed
for my very sexy over 40 body (OK, I'm 46) and I was riding
in style at Maxton. The stitch work on the back panel
was custom to my logo for Tiger Racing, over 100,000 stitches
went into the Tiger Head and boy is it beautiful. This
was a specifically designed Bonneville suit for LSR (land
Speed Record) racing with all the armor padding in all
the right places. This suit is approved for Both Bonneville
and El Mirage LSR racing. It was designed to fit very
snug when hunched over on the bike with my body in a 90-degree
riding position. The boots are custom Bates "Fast
Lane" boots and also has all the right armor padding.
Quite the ensemble if I do say so myself. The ultimate
result was a suit that was skintight so nothing was flapping
in the breeze to slow you down even the slightest bit.
The next thing was to find
someone at the track that had the know how to get my bike
to 200mph with a ton of experience and there was only
man I needed to talk to. Mr. Land Speed Record himself,
Scott Guthrie who held over 22, 200+ mph land speed records
in various categories.
not about to try and re-invent the wheel, so it
was off to Scott's trailer to introduce myself and
see if I could wrangle some speed secrets out of
him. He just smiled and told me to have a good time
until he could see what I was doing, how I could
ride, and how my bike would perform under it's current
set-up. After just 1 run, he gave a pointer or two
and immediately I had the best run of the weekend.
I tried to improve upon his knowledge and went slower
and slower each concurrent run. He says to me "looks
like we learned nothing this weekend eh?" I
was flabbergasted, he was right, what had I learned?
Actually nothing except that everything you do affects
your speed and no 2 runs are the same.
will say that if you bring your good luck charm
with you, you may go faster, here is mine.
My wife Dianna next
to my baby, the Dragbike.com Busa. She
was awesome, helpful and kept me filled with water
while sweating at the starting line standing in
the sun. Just to show you that you are actually
at a working airport, the U.S. Army Golden Knights
were practicing parachute jumping from there airplane
all weekend right above our heads and landing about
1000 feet off the runway from us.
"Maxton" experience is must in your racing
career if nothing else, just to say you actually
went 200mph as opposed to thinking you did. If you
think you have the power and cajones to drive your
bike to 200mph and your tired of the same old thing
at your local track, then you better get ready because
the last event of the season will be upon you.
Make your plans to attend the last event of the
season on the weekend of October 26 & 27.
Go to their website at www.ecta-lsr.com
for all the information you can handle.
I promise you an experience beyond anything you
have ever done before. Great people, make new friends,
ride your Arss off and do the standing 1-mile. From
a dead stop to the 1-mile marker, how fast can you
go? It's unlike anything you have ever done or seen.
I was able to get in over 12 runs that weekend and
everyone complained it was going slow. Hell, they
should be at Norwalk Raceway park on the weekends,
getting in more than 3 runs is a blessing. I truly
believe that this event and this kind of racing
will be one of the fastest growing events for motorcycles
in the United States. You're not against anyone
except a record for that class. Everyone helps you
and wants you to go fast, faster than you have ever
are some pictures of some of the riders and their bikes.
What a kick!
I have been
and always will be a drag racer, but now I'm also a Land
Speed Racer. For you guys out there that really want the
full experience while reading this at home, imagine your
standing on top of a tall building looking out over the
edge. Remember that down low feeling? That's the one.
Time Safe Racing to All.
Guy Caputo can be reached at Guy@Dragbike.com