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Old 03-24-2010, 06:37 PM   #1
frank spittle
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Default Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

This is a new thread I am starting dedicated to Nitro Fuel Drag Bikes. If you were involved with a Top Fuel or Junior Fuel Motorcycle team in the 50s, 60s, 70s and up to 1988 (25 years ago) we invite you to join in and share some of your memories. Or, if you didn't belong to a team but share our passion please join in too. There are other threads here on drag racing so let's keep this about "Nitro". My first fuel bike was an A/F Harley back in 1969. My last was the twin-engine Harley "Freight Train" that I retired in 1985. I will be sharing many fond and a few not so fond memories. This video was filmed in '83 and '84. The opening burnout was me and "The Freight Train" at the 1983 IHRA Spring Nationals in Bristol Tennesee. That was back when Top Fuel Motorcycles were occasionally invited to join in with the cars in a special T/F Motorcycle class. The rest of the video was filmed by my wife and is a little shakey at times but a treasure to me since it is the only film I have of my 21 year motorcycle drag racing career. For some of you it will be the first time you have seen a T/F Motorcycle started on rollers. I hope you enjoy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRLqonmIjV4

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Old 03-24-2010, 07:28 PM   #2
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Default Re: Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

Thank you for sharing your video. Excellent! I remember seeing Elmer Trent on a twin engine H-D, Russ Collins, Sonny Routt, Boris Murray, T. C. Christensen and others. There was another guy named Chantland who raced Triumphs and also made 750cc cylinders for Triumphs. Also Joe Smith back when he had the single engine H-D. Once again thanks for the memories.
Do you still own the bike? It would be nice to know that it still exists.
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Old 03-24-2010, 07:50 PM   #3
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Default Re: Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

Wow! This is going to be a great thread.
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Old 03-24-2010, 08:28 PM   #4
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Default Re: Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

Old Codger, "The Freight Train" IS Elmer Trett's old twin engine Harley. I renamed it when I bought it from him in '83. I sold it to my crew chief in '85 when I quit and he still has it.

I still keep in touch with many of the "old farts" you mentioned including Sonny Routt, Larry Welch, Boris Murray, T C, and Joe Smith, who is about to turn 80!!!!!!!!!

Thanks hawgleydangerson, I believe you are right.
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Old 03-24-2010, 09:37 PM   #5
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Default Re: Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

very cool.. thanks for posting..
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Old 03-25-2010, 03:53 AM   #6
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Default Re: Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

So where is the "Rocket Man" keeping himself in todays world? North Carolina?
Rocky
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Old 03-25-2010, 09:08 AM   #7
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Default Re: Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

ironwigwam,

You might be surprised to learn Larry "Rocketman" Welch, at age 67, has a new wife of 4 years and a 3 year old daughter. They live in Virginia. The other "Rocketeer", John Dixon, lives in North Carolina.
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Old 03-27-2010, 02:24 PM   #8
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Default Re: Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

One of Da' Judge's earlier asphalt machines.
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Old 03-27-2010, 09:02 PM   #9
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Default Re: Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

Thanks twistedtee,

Jim McClure was a good friend. He was one of the first T/F Harley racers to make a GIANT cubic inch single engine bike outperform a twin engine bike. When I quit racing I quit going to races. But I kept in touch with him and a few others. He and Elmer Trett were both brilliant racers.
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Old 03-27-2010, 09:28 PM   #10
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Default Re: Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

I have to dig up some old pics and scan them. pics would be from 1994-1996
Is that too new..?
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Old 03-27-2010, 09:47 PM   #11
frank spittle
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Default Re: Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

You probably need to hold on to those pictures a few years. I would like to keep it 1986 or older. I hope you can dig up some older stuff and post it.

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Old 03-27-2010, 10:13 PM   #12
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Default Re: Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

very cool. any more info you would like to share about the engines? cubic inch? specific things that needed to be done to run them on fuel?
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Old 03-27-2010, 10:16 PM   #13
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Default Re: Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

I might go back a bit too far. This is one of my all time bike heroes.

[/IMG]
__________________
El Mirage record 500 APS/PG 129.817 mph
El Mirage record 500 SC/PG 122.240 mph
El Mirage record 500 SC/PF 120.157 mph
Bonneville record 500 SC/PG 119.667 mph
Bonneville record 500 SC/PF 117.186 mph
Bonneville record 500 SC/PBG 111.494 mph
Bonneville record 500 SC/PBF 112.717 mph
Bonneville record 650 SC/PF 128.703 mph
Bonneville record 650 SC/PG 121.553 mph
El Mirage record 650 SC/PG 130.224 mph
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Old 03-27-2010, 10:29 PM   #14
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Default Re: Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

Quote:
Originally Posted by pat lehmann View Post
very cool. any more info you would like to share about the engines? cubic inch? specific things that needed to be done to run them on fuel?
It had 2-96 cubic inch iron head sportster engines that ran 88-90% nitro, a B&J 2 speed trans shifted by a button on the left handlebar, a 14 inch wide Goodyear slick and a frame built by John Dixon.
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Old 03-27-2010, 10:45 PM   #15
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Default Re: Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoofhearted View Post
I might go back a bit too far. This is one of my all time bike heroes.

[/IMG]
You can't go back too far. That photo is considered by most racers I know to be the most awesome ever taken. I WAS THERE. It was at the AMDRA Motorcycle Nationals at Bowling Green Kentucky in 1971 or 72 and it is Boris Murray, one of the greatest rider/tuners ever, on his Twin Engine Triumph. Boris had won there the year before and this was a qualifying run that set the new record and of course qualified him #1. He broke a chain in the final and lost to Larry Welch on Sonny Routt's Twin Engine Triumph.
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Old 03-27-2010, 11:18 PM   #16
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Default Re: Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

When I was in my teens I had a crappy BSA that I rode miles to see Clem Johnson and his Vincent. That bike always amazed me.

[/IMG]

This is in a friends shop. He has never tod me about it as I don't think he knows its history. Stretched featherbed with two 750 Commandos. AMC trans with a Sportster clutch adapted to it. He's thinking of turning it into an LSR bike. Sure hope he does as he wants me to ride it.
[/IMG]
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El Mirage record 500 APS/PG 129.817 mph
El Mirage record 500 SC/PG 122.240 mph
El Mirage record 500 SC/PF 120.157 mph
Bonneville record 500 SC/PG 119.667 mph
Bonneville record 500 SC/PF 117.186 mph
Bonneville record 500 SC/PBG 111.494 mph
Bonneville record 500 SC/PBF 112.717 mph
Bonneville record 650 SC/PF 128.703 mph
Bonneville record 650 SC/PG 121.553 mph
El Mirage record 650 SC/PG 130.224 mph

Last edited by Hoofhearted; 03-27-2010 at 11:40 PM.
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Old 03-28-2010, 12:23 AM   #17
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Default Re: Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

Ok, here is my old fueler. 96" ironhead, Truett lay down tanker, nickle plated no less. This bike was built in the mid 70's not sure by who. I took it over in 86 and finally got it on track in 90. I have talked to Bonnie a couple of times about it, can't remember who built it. A black dude named Herbie is who I got it from.

Sorry the pic isn't period correct but the bike is.

It spent most of its life in KC, I know very little about it other than what I have said. I ran it exactly like it was built, antique ceriani front end, jap bike front wheel and brake, Cragar super trick car wheel, 3 foot long wheelie bars, Truett single stage slipper, welded sporty mainshaft, high gear only, Truett prepped cases, and an S&S B fuel carb

By the time this pic was taken we had shit canned the 3 foot wheelie bars. Those things were terrifying once we finally got it to hook

Best time of 5.26 around 130 mph in the 1/8 mile

I am currently rebuilding it in a more modern 3 rail sit down frame with the intentions of running it in the Nostalgia class Arlie is trying to orchestrate
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Old 03-28-2010, 10:37 AM   #18
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Default Re: Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

No problem there Mr. Spittle, the MClure's were two of the nicest people a person could meet.
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Old 03-28-2010, 10:53 AM   #19
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Default Re: Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

I remember Rocket filming JAWS arrival in Prince Georges County for his first time around with Sonny's video camera, not too long after the episode at Atco with rocket bike. I wonder if James Allen followed dad

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Old 03-29-2010, 10:29 AM   #20
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Default Re: Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

Pics are great.

Thanks for postin em.
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