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Old 03-29-2010, 05:06 PM   #21
frank spittle
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Default Re: Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

hoofhearted,

Clem Johnson's "Barn Job" is probably the most famous Fuel Bike in existence. I was reading about it in car and bike magazines while I was still racing street bikes in the early 60s. He was one of the first guys to get me interested in dragsters. His bike is a work of art and that is evident when you spend time looking at that picture. I have never met him though. He stayed on the west coast and I didn't travel that far from the Carolinas. For those who don't know that is Clem with the leather jacket. Joe Smith rode it a few times when Clem decided to hang up his helmet and Jim Leinwebber rode it until it was retired.

That twin engine Norton is one I don't believe I have seen before. Thanks for posting both.

FearNoEvo,

Thanks for posting your bike.
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Old 04-27-2010, 05:42 PM   #22
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Default Re: Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

I know I have asked to keep it nitro but it is OK to show us how you got there. This is the first Harley I raced. It was a '62 Sportster XLCH that I rode on the street. It had stroker flywheels but was otherwise stock. It ran in the low 13s at just over 100 mph in the 1/4. This photo was taken in 1965 at the old Charlotte dragstrip. That is a '63 Super Stock Plymouth I was racing.
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Old 04-27-2010, 05:53 PM   #23
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Default Re: Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

So what has happened to Welch's son?
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Old 04-27-2010, 06:08 PM   #24
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The times I have seen Larry over the last 10 years or so I don't believe his son was with him.
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Old 04-27-2010, 06:24 PM   #25
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This is the same Sportster in 1966 after having a 75 cubic inch engine built for it. My times improved to low 12s at 113 mph in the 1/4. There was not a car or bike on the streets of Charlotte that could outrun it that year. At the '67 Daytona Bike Week I took it to try and come home the fastest. Didn't happen. I got outrun by a guy I had never met but we became best friends until he passed a few years ago. His name was Danny Johnson. I rode it for another year before being talked into trading it for a Harley dragster......by Danny Johnson.
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Old 04-27-2010, 08:57 PM   #26
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A few years ago the local track booked in a Harley Fueler show. This guy wasn't part of the circuit, he just showed up and made some passes. I don't even know who he is, but the bike is the old Show & Go (Ike Shelton & Paul Jones) twin engined shovelhead. It put on a pretty good show with the front wheel bouncing off the ground through the lights.
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Old 04-28-2010, 06:35 AM   #27
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Default Re: Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

I was just at T.C. Christenson's shop in Kenosha Wi. and this is what he has out on his floor. Here is some more info on T.C. http://www.motorcyclemuseum.org/hall...age.asp?id=374

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Old 04-28-2010, 11:14 AM   #28
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Thanks for that post. T.C. Christenson is one of the greatest motorcycle drag racers of all time. He was the most dominate Top Fuel racer at the Bowling Green Motorcycle Nationals in the '70s. From 1970 through 1978 he was in the finals 5 times, more than anyone else, and won three times...also more than any other T/F rider. He had that triple Norton at the Bowling Green Reunion back in 2006.
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Old 05-04-2010, 08:43 PM   #29
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Default Re: Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

This was my first dragster. Not much, huh. I was 6'1 and only weighed 150 lbs. It had a Triumph Cub front end with NO front brake. It used an Avon 4" slick. The fuel tank is the bullett looking piece where the headlight should be. It had an 83 inch Sportster engine. It only weighed a little over 200 lbs. This photo was taken by my mom in1968 right after I traded my street Sportster for it. I had no desire to move from street bikes to dragsters but my new friend Danny Johnson insisted on it. I towed it from my home in North Carolina to Capital Raceway in Maryland, Johnson's home track, to make my first runs on it so he could coach me and also peel me off the track if things didn't go right. It was VERY different to lay down on a race bike verses sitting up on it. It was a scary feeling. I don't know If I would have made that first run had it not been for Danny comforting me and assuring me it was no big deal. The fastest I had ever been in the quarter was 114 mph. My very first run on this gas burner was 121. I still have the trophy I won that day.

I raced it the rest of the '68 season on racing gas but was getting ready for the '69 season and switching to NITRO!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 05-05-2010, 06:54 AM   #30
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Default Re: Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

that is cool!..great story..
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Old 05-05-2010, 08:15 AM   #31
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Great thread, I can't wait to see some of the pictures that this will bring out! One of my all time favorites is Pete Hill. You'll be hard pressed to find nicer people. I have some pics of his bike I shot at his annual Christmas party here
http://www.pbase.com/daron_gray/pete_hill_tf
I also uploaded a video of Pete cranking his T/F Knuckle at the party as well. Check it out here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrvVl899Zyk
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Old 05-05-2010, 09:39 PM   #32
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scsporty,
Thanks for posting the Pete Hill photos and video. You are right Pete Hill is the nicest motorcycle drag racer I have ever known. I have known him for over 30 years and have never heard a curse word come out of his mouth. I have never heard him say anything bad about anybody. We raced each other in T/F back in the '70s-'80s. His blown Knucklehead was the loudest I raced. The sound on that video cannot capture how olud it really is.

I retired in '85 at age 41. Pete was a good ten years older and did not retire until age 60 or so. He still rides out to Bonneville every year on his Harley....by himself. I asked recently if he went last year. "No" he said. "I rode to California". Pete will be our special guest May 14-15 at the Piedmont Dragway Reunion. Jackie and the blown Knucklehead will be with him. I hope he lets me hear it again. For info www.superstockreunion.com
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Old 05-05-2010, 10:22 PM   #33
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Default Re: Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

Mr Spittle....thank you sooo much for starting this thread and adding the many cool pictures and memories...I have been a fan of Drag Bikes since I was a kid back in the 60's...I'm also a history buff, so reading or hearing anything about old vintage Drag Bikes tickles me to death!!!

Maybe someday, our paths will cross and I will be lucky enough to meet you. and thank you personally for sharing all this with us here...It made my day finding this thread, and I will be checking it everyday to see what new treasures are posted...

Again...thank you, and please feel free to post as much as you want to!!!

Larry in MD
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Old 05-06-2010, 10:11 PM   #34
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Thanks for your kind words Larry. You had some great motorcycle racers living around you in Maryland back in the Sixties. Larry Welch, Sonny Routt and Danny Johnson come to mind.
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Old 05-06-2010, 10:24 PM   #35
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The switch to nitro Part One.

This was the Spring of '69 after converting my Sportster to nitro, once again with the help of Danny. He had just purchased a new S&S nitro carb for his dragster and sold his modified Harley Linkert carb. That was the only change I made to the gas burning engine. Same pistons, cams etc. Those were the good old days. This was not a burnout. It had enough horsepower on 65% nitro to smoke the Avon slick to half track and then haul ass. I will add some more info about this bike later.
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Old 05-08-2010, 11:35 AM   #36
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I recall running at the crappy little eighth-mile strip in Oxford Maine back in the early nineties where Pete Hill was the star of the show. His slick blacktracked from the starting-line to the finish-line. What I always remember about that knucklehead, besides having its own unique sound, was the huge diameter of the pushrods.
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Old 05-08-2010, 12:21 PM   #37
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Here's a pretty good link for this kind of stuff, if you don't already know about it. It's on Joe Smith's webpage.

http://www.phpbbplanet.com/granddadd...randdaddyjoesm

And another picture of the renegade bike that showed up for the booked in Harley TF show at a local track.
The history is a little sketchy, but he said he got it from Ike Shelton at Show & Go. I believe Show & Go got it from "Custom Fab & Other Shit" in Denton and they got it from Marion Owens. Not real sure on that though.
BTW the guy is about 6'6" tall so the bike is bigger than it looks.

Don't blame me for the thumb in the picture. I ran into a friend of mine at the drags that day that had his kids (10-14 years old) and a bunch of their buddies with him. I handed out disposable cameras to all of them and told them to take pictures of whatever they liked. I gathered the camera's up later and had the pictures developed (double prints) and gave one set of pictures back to my friend to give to the kids and kept one set for myself. They actually took some pretty good picture.

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Old 05-08-2010, 02:09 PM   #38
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Thanks Larry T for the link to Granddaddy Joe Smith's web site. I have not learned too much about computers and need help doing anything but finding this site. Joe has REALLLLLLY impressed me with how he has took to computers. He will turn 80 this month and is sharp as a tack. He, Boris Murray and Leo Payne were my earliest T/F Motorcycle heros. I hope he joins in here or you can visit his site and read his stories.
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Old 05-08-2010, 02:26 PM   #39
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Switch to Nitro part two

As stated before about switching to nitro the only change to the motor was the carb. However, I was able to lose a few pounds in the transmission. On gasoline, I started off in second and shifted to third and fourth. Nitro increased the horsepower so much that I was able to take the second and third gears out of the trans and start off in fourth..or direct drive. It was a little tricky getting the slick broke loose. I had to stand on the starting line with hardly no body weight on the bike and rev the engine only slightly. When I got the last yellow (all racers got a full tree back then) I would pop the clutch and sit down at the exact same time. That allowed the slick to break loose and start smoking. That was before slipper clutches. Part three next.
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Old 05-08-2010, 03:00 PM   #40
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twistedtee,

You have a pioneer T/F Motorcycle racer up your way. Have you heard of "The Rhode Island Rocket" Dick Prime?
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