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Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 08:48:44 AM PST

Dragbike.com

Maxton Experience


Maximus Fastus Speedius
Written by: Guy Caputo

 

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.

Let 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.

As you 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.

And 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

 

So off 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 line.
This 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 your Busa.

 
Motor RPM
Primary Reduction
Ratio
Top Gear Ratio
Sprocket Ratio
Tire Circumference
In inches
Projected MPH
5th Gear
10500
1.596
1.136
2.111111111
78
202.6271676
6th Gear
10000
1.596
1.043
2.111111111
78
210.1853284
 
    Front Sprocket
18
Rear Sprocket
38
 
 
Formula = Motor rpm / Pri. Reduction Ratio / Top Gear Ratio / Sprocket Ratio / 60 X Tire Circ. / 17.6 = Projected MPH
  1 mile = 5,280 feet = 63,360 inches  
  1 MPH = 17.6 inches per sec  
This Formula 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.

I was 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.

I 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.



 


 


 

The "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 gone before
.

 


Here 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.

Until Next Time Safe Racing to All.

Guy Caputo can be reached at Guy@Dragbike.com


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