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Old 06-11-2010, 02:22 PM   #121
Joe Smith
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Me and Boris Murray, taken after a all Bike Event in Louisiana...I think it was in 71...Hottest and the most Humid Conditions I ever raced in...This was the race that cause me to get a second set of leathers, they were so wet from this race that I wore damp Leathers at the next two races...

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Old 06-11-2010, 06:14 PM   #122
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You are so right FearNoEvo.

I know Joe will agree with me on this. You DO NOT give a newcomer bad info about Nitro. It is like giving a novice exterminator bad info about Black Widows. It can REALLY hurt him. In all the years I was involved with Nitro I NEVER got bad info from a pro nor did I give any bad info. You did not have to give up all your tuning knowledge but you just did not give anyone bad info. It was too dangerous to that person and YOU.


Joe,

That is an awesome picture of two of my favorites.
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Old 06-11-2010, 06:55 PM   #123
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Yes on that Frank...I know a lot of guys would come to me in the Pits and ask me to read their plug, after looking at Plugs and asking a few questions I could tell them if they were to lean, rich or right on...some just needed to adjust their timing...others just needed to load motor more...Fuel was tricky stuff even back then...

My Wife had many a racer ask her to mix a batch for them afterword's and add the correct amount of PO, she was really good with the Hydrometer and we had our own conversion chart...which she kept out of sight...

Ah those were the days...
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Old 06-11-2010, 07:37 PM   #124
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Tommy Auger is one of the first motorcycle drag racers and truly a pioneer in the sport going back to it's birth in the early '50s. I never met him but I believe Joe Smith raced him back in the day. As of a year or two ago Auger was alive and very healthy.
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Old 06-11-2010, 09:13 PM   #125
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Yea, it was Auger & Marts, I don't think the Marts is spelled right...I raced Tommy a few times, but my Knucklehead had no chance against that Vincent...that team was the King of Loins in the early to mid fifties, they were unbeatable...and it was just a stock Vincent with a few things remove to make it lighter...that was when the Top Car and Top Bike of the day raced for Top Eliminator of the day and Tommy won a lot of them...most racing at Loins in those days was held on Saturday and would go till Curfew which was Midnight, there was nothing like night racing at Lions...The ones that got to race at Lions were the lucky ones...

There was another team with a Vincent back then that were pretty good, the Baker Brothers, Ron and Bob but they weren't a every weekend racer like the rest of us but I knew them pretty good, that was about the time I met Clem Johnson, when the Baker Brothers went along to the drags...there was a bunch of us that use to go to breakfast after Saturday night at Lions...
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Old 06-11-2010, 09:37 PM   #126
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It is spelled Martz in the article. The article is long and my scanning skills are not too good. I'll see if I can scan and post it in the next couple of days. By chance do either of you guys remember a guy named Bill Wood? He was somehow associated with Harley for years and drag raced in the 60's.
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Old 06-12-2010, 09:04 AM   #127
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joe do you reme4mber who was in the other lane at cincinatti when you blew the back head off? ... he says thanks for the bye run. thank you guys for this thread ive been obsessed with old dragsters for a long time, especially the old fuelers, this is some good stuff
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Old 06-12-2010, 11:04 AM   #128
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joe do you reme4mber who was in the other lane at cincinatti when you blew the back head off? ... he says thanks for the bye run. thank you guys for this thread ive been obsessed with old dragsters for a long time, especially the old fuelers, this is some good stuff
Hmmm, that was ask of me another time and I was told but forget...It's someone I know...TELL ME....I actually don't remember anybody in the other lane...all I remember was being in the air looking down at a ball of nitro and oil flames...I remember when I came down I rolled off to the side and then Spectators were coming out and picking up suvineers, one guy had the Cylinder and head wrapped in his jacket/shirt and was carrying it off and I reached out and tripped him...

As it was the only thing missing was one D&D pushrod...

It actually blew the rear cylinder off which caught the rear head and broke both set of cases...bent the frame at seat area and took some rake out of forks...I used everything again except Pistons, rear motor front rod, and both cases...
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Old 06-12-2010, 11:20 AM   #129
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i was mentioning the pix of a couple nitro explosions seen here to my friend marlow this morning while working on a project for him ,and happened to show him the picture. his only replie was who do you think was in the other lane? and he recounted a story of being at cinnci around 74 and lining up next to joe when a nasty ball of flames lit up the air,"he lost the motor right on the line, head was layin there and all, giving me a bye run". i almost shit my pants , i dont anyone could even make that up.
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Old 06-15-2010, 09:13 AM   #130
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I could write a short book on the Speed Secrets found in that machine shop...
That's a great idea.
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:36 PM   #131
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Folks, that is why Joe Smith was a dominate Fuel Bike racer. He was constantly trying new stuff. Sometimes it worked. Thanks Joe.

BOWLING GREEN 1972

I could hardly wait the year it took to get to the next Bowling Green. As mentioned in the B/G '71 post I took some vacation time and took my wife. We left our 2 year old son with my parents. I can still remember the emotions I felt when we arrived. Danny Johnson had two Fuel Bikes there and I had been considered as the rider of the second bike. As if that was not enough for Johnson he had been working feverishly on "Goliath 1" trying to debut it there but time had evidently run out for him. As I stated I had not seen Danny since B/G '71 and did not know about the "monster" in the works. Street Rodding was occupying my time now. I had a '33 Essex Terraplane Convertible with a GMC supercharged small block Chevy in it. It was awesome to drive ....but no Fuel Bike. My wife was very pleased I was occupied with it rather than a drag bike. She could enjoy riding in it and did not worry to much except when I was burning rubber.

There were all the "usual suspects" trying to make the field in T/F. All the best the USA had to offer. One interesting character was a bike magazine writer. Cook Nielson was an editor for Cycle Magazine (I believe that's the one) and is probably the only magazine writer to ever actively campaign a Fuel Bike, a Fuel Harley. He is definitely the most respected writer I know of. He had a very competitive bike and was, for a while, part of the AMDRA Fuel Bike circuit. I talked to him just a few years ago and he was doing well.

When the dust settled it was Larry Welch facing an up-and-coming Fuel Bike racer in the final. His name was T.C. Christenson. Welch had run an unofficial 8.70 on Sonny Routt's twin engine Triumph just weeks earlier. Welch took the win over Christenson but it would be Welch's last final round appearance at Bowling Green and the beginning of a dominating Fuel Bike team for T.C. and crew.

As I drove home Sunday night I relived the weekend over and over in my mind. It was the best time I had experenced since the last B/G. I thought it could not get better in '73. BOY WAS I WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:57 PM   #132
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That could be the year Joe. I believe T.C. raced a C/F Bike and his T/F bike one year but did not know about your ordeal in the tower. That sucks!
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Old 06-17-2010, 03:58 PM   #133
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This is Bowling Green in the '70s with Ray Price getting ready to make a pass on his Funny Bike. It is great that almost 40 years later he still has the same passion for Fuel Bikes. His crewman could have carried it to the starting line. His arms look like most guys legs.
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Old 06-17-2010, 09:15 PM   #134
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Default Re: Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

I'm a Triumph lover, and am always looking for neat Trumpet photos. Here are a few drag bikes I've found...


















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Old 06-17-2010, 09:28 PM   #135
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Thanks for joining us. Those are some great pictures. i am an old Trumpet fan too, My first bike was a '57 Bonney way back in '63. It was the bike I made my first pass down a drag strip on.
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Old 06-17-2010, 09:47 PM   #136
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I'm trying to put Terrier and Tiger Cub engines together for Bonneville. It's a bit hard to find parts when I limit myself to just two model years, in the '50's!

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Old 06-17-2010, 10:06 PM   #137
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More of the same...



















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Old 06-17-2010, 10:42 PM   #138
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And the rest...












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Old 06-17-2010, 10:44 PM   #139
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^^^Hey hand, for your first 4 posts, your kicking ass! you oughta fit right in around here.^^^

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Old 06-18-2010, 08:51 PM   #140
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DANNY JOHNSON AND "GOLIATH 1" part one.

It's life was very short, only 11 months, from October 1972 to September '73, but no Fuel Bike in the Seventies had a bigger impact on the sport than "Goliath 1". You see it hadn't been done before...that is for someone to build a twin engine Harley Fuel Bike that was competetive. Many had tried to build them, at least one with the engines mounted side by side, but when they brought them out they just didn't work. A friend here in the Carolinas built one (a twin engine Harley gasser) in 1966. He only made a few passes with it. On the last pass it got into such a violent top end wobble that he dismantled it after bringing it to a safe stop. This was during a period of time I had been on military active duty so I never saw the bike but I received periodic updates right down to the dismantaling. This was even before I met Danny. In the last post about Danny I mentioned he asked if I was interested in riding a second bike he was going to build and I said no. I didn't know it but he had a twin engine Harley Fuel Bike lurking in his mind then. I got heavily involved with Street Rodding and did not see Danny for at least a year except at Bowling Green. It was during this time it was built. I had no clue!

Johnson had hoped to have it ready for Bowling Green '72 but didn't. To this day I don't know why he thought he could do what so many others had failed...some getting hurt very badly trying. But he was one of those special people who has to try. He has to find out the hard way. He did go about it the right way. He got a master twin engine bike builder to help. Boris Murray and Johnson got their minds together and the results are history. It was a short wheelbase bike by slanting the front engine slightly. It was a high gear bike too. This was years before wheelie bars.

Finally, it was ready to debut at Atco in October '72. I believe he went there with it untested. I was not there but can imagine the concern Danny's friends had for him....not to mention the guy who was going to straddle it. When the final round of qualifying was completed Johnson was qualified number 1. It was one of the most magnificent accomplishments in motorcycle drag racing history. All the other Harley racers knew they would have to build a double over the winter...and a lot did.

"GOLIATH 1" part two next.

Danny Johnson & "GOLIATH 1" part two

This is from a 1974 article in Dragbike! magazine written by Tom Loughlin Jr. I have shortened it.


"Goliath 1" was an innovation comprised of many innovations and it had a competitive edge over the rest of the Fuel Dragster bikes. It was originally built to overcome the advantages held by the double-engine "Limeys" Triumph, BSA, Norton beasties of Routt-Welch and Boris Murray who held the NHRA T/F bike speed record on a tire smoking 174.75 mph set in 1971 at Bowling Green, Kentucky. Concerning the motivation for building the first Double Harley fueler Johnson, the 1971 AMDRA T/F Champion, said "I was just plain getting sick of being beaten by Boris Murray". Knowing Danny though (again this was written by Tom Loughlin in 1974) the final straw which egged "Goliath 1" from the concept stage into full-scale construction was most probably the light dismissal his ideas were given by fellow racers and officials, skeptical of the feasibility of a double motor concept for the V-twin configuration.

The critics, those who "pooh-pooed" Johnson's ideas, had to eat crow. "Goliath 1", on it's first outing at a major event in 1972, qualified in #1 position with a near record 9.03 second ET. From that day forward to the instant it ended it's racing career a year later G-1 never failed to qualify #1.

While "Goliath 1" was a success in that it went very fast and proved the feasibility and practicality of the double V-Twin concept, there were inherent problems discovered throughout the campaign which had to be corrected. "I'd qualify #1 with it" Johnson said "then someting would always break in eliminations, usually a chain". G-1 was a high-gear-only machine using a slipper clutch. Laden with a tremendous weight handicap from it's extra engine and incumbant extra equipment the problems were severe. G-1 would leave the starting line like a steam locomotive lugging a 200-car Freight Train but would cross the finish line like a Bullit Train coming alive with the 214 cubic inches of nitro fired V-Twin power.

Next: The end of "Goliath 1" and how it almost got "up close and personal" for me.

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