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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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Bruce Lauer

Died: October 6, 1996

Age: 46
Full Name: Bruce William Lauer

Drag Strip: Beech Bend Raceway Park, Kentucky

Event: American Drag Bike Association All-Harley Drag Finals
Accident Date: October 6, 1996
1996 Harley-Davidson motorcycle

Biographical: He was killed on the final day of competition. He was about 300 feet down the race track when the engine exploded under his chest and knocking him off the bike. The ignition on his bike malfunctioned and the nitrous oxide filled the cylinders. When the ignition re-ignited, the engine exploded underneath him. He died of internal injuries when he was struck by flying debris and a broken neck. He was from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

Bruce took me under his wing and kept me from a similar fate on my first experience on a fueler. He took my carb apart, rejetted it and helped me set the timing so I didn't do the same thing that killed him a year or so later.

Big John and his crew from Atlanta did it again later that year in Sturgis. We had never run at altitude. When we fired it up it banged so hard it sounded like the pistons were swapping holes. John literally shoved me off of the bike and ripped my dead man off of my leathers. As I lay on the ground, he looked at me and said you don't know shit about nitro do you boy? In stunned silence, I shook my head no.

We went on later that day to lose to the Chop Shop by less than a tenth of a second. We laughed later when Houniet told us what he had in his spare motor. Around 8 grand. We didn't have that in our whole fuel bike, the '64 Bel Air wagon we hauled it in and the '65 pan we used for a tow bike.....and he only beat us by a tenth.

I hope you all realize what a great thing Joe and Frank have brought to this forum.

These guys are fucking legends. I grew up on a modified bike, always slobbering on the fuel guys toes. When I finally got my own fueler, I was treated like one of their children. I was in the process of doing something that could have killed me at any step. These professionals, that had something you could never buy, gave it to me freely.

Markwald let it slip once, don't shit yourself kid, we're not trying to save you, we're trying to keep you from killing us too.
 

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^^^Hey hand, for your first 4 posts, your kicking ass! you oughta fit right in around here.^^^

-A.
The dude crews for one of the nicest/baddest Nostalgia rails around. Not too mention Dales driver, Radar, is probably one of the best head guys on the planet. What a team to be a part of! Tell Kurt FearNoEvo said hi. Does he still race his Buell at all?

I have a set of shovel heads going Radars way in a couple of months.

Nice to e-meet you Justin, you guys going to be at Harleys and Hot Rods this year?
 

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I'll tell ya what I would like to hear more about.

The transition from the side bowl S&S carbs to the B and then the addition of leanouts. Some of the most spectacular explosions I ever got to see were a result of a poorly timed leanout or too much timing and the addition of the leanout. By the time I built mine, we used a dump can and an enrichener to try and load it harder off of the line. You guys were shoving pencils into the jets at a 1000 feet and nearly blocking them off to pull the last 300 feet. That had to be scary as hell.
 

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Right on. My bikes a bit more modern, but not by much.

I run an old Bonnie Truett slipper clutch hat. When we started out with the thing our 60 foot times were miserable. We kept going down on the final drive ratio thinking we needed the lower gear to make it pull harder. At one point we were at about a 4.56:1 ratio. Still couldn't get out of our own way. Lauer came over and talked to us, found out what we were doing and loaned us a rear sprocket which put our final gear ratio around 3.30:1. Our 60 foot times immediately dropped from around 1.6 to 1.30's with an occasional dip into the 20's. Adding the enrichener picked up another tenth and put us solidly in the 20's with occasional dips into the teens.

But with high gear only and a carb, we could never get past 1000 feet without it going fat. Everyone kept telling us to add a leanout but I couldn't afford spare parts so we never did.

By the way Mr. Smith, helluva read on the thread you linked. Thank you for that. Have you ever read the Nitro 101 thread that used to be at stripbike? I believe it has been rebuilt more or less on at least one site. Great thread if you can sift through all the BS'in that went on there.

Thank you again to you guys for taking the time to build this archive. Its a helluva thing you've done in your lives and its damned nice of ya to take the time to share it with us.
 

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I'll throw out a quick, only tempered by 30 years of fuel answer, then let Frank give ya the correct answer.

Fuel is a fickle mistress. There are as many opinions on tuning fuel as there are guys tuning it. But, one thing everyone agrees on, is that its hard to make a fuel bike go like hell for a full quarter mile. I have alluded to this in other posts. See my posts regarding lean outs. Its almost as dangerous trying to make a fuel bike shift through the gears as it is to try and make one get through the traps in a single gear by carb and timing tuning.

So, eliminate a couple of gears, shift it once(which is still popular today, but more likely done via a combination of multi stage clutch and tranny) and hope for the best.

You have to take an aside here. Funny cars and T/F rails have an advantage over bikes. A shit ton more room to build a whopper of a clutch. Todays fuel cars run a 5 or 6 stage clutch, every increase in distance, and at timed intervals, more clutch is added or taken away to compensate for track conditions and to get the mail to the other end. This is really hard to do with bike parts, even harder in Frank's era then today. Step in B & J. They develop a 2 speed tranny that is about as big as your common sporty starter. Now your A fuel class is born, when I started there was top fuel, which was anything you were dumb enough to build and try and ride, B fuel which was carbureted, high gear only, and A fuel, carbureted and a 2 speed or injected high gear only. For the guys that could keep the 2 speed together, and tune the clutch, and the timing and the leanouts, you could out run almost everybody.

For the rest of us broke fuckers, it was a Bonnie Truett single stage clutch, a carburetor, and the occasional explosion. But we still went faster than they did. Every now and then.
 

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Its actually funny to see a B&J. They are tiny. To the point of wondering how in the hell they could hold up. But they do. Most times. The first A/fuel, and actually the first fuel bike I helped on at all, ran a B&J. He kept 2 spares just in case. Griz Huxell out of now where Iowa ran an injected shovelhead, A/fuel bike in the late 80's. He let me help change the oil and the plugs. I was never so proud of anything in my life. But when it came to that tranny, him and Bobbo were the men.

To calkins, I haven't heard from Kurt in almost a year, I used to help him out with the Buell and he has always said he wants to buy into my fueler, but you know how time is. I don't get to the places I used to, old age and kids and all. He has my number, I would love to hear from him again. I have all the big pieces bought, I just need a good back and a hungry mind to help me out at the track. The ol lady says I can't let the boy ride it until he's 18. There is only so much my tired ol ass can do and still get it down the track without dying.
 

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We used a chrysler gear reduction starter on our 96" ironhead, B/F bike. It worked fine for us but we weren't makin the huge numbers you guys were with your machines.

The only explosion we ever had was a result of a hydraulic. We had just got our new motor back together. Finished it in Humboldt at the track. Our typical starting procedure was to close the pet cock, pull the plugs and blow it out. Then we put the plugs back in, turned on the ignition, shot the venturi with gas, opened the ball valve for the fuel and rolled her over over. It always started great, but we didn't do it like Joe. Our clutch was set to stall up to about 2500 RPM. So we were always on high idle so to speak. This goes to what Joe said earlier about maybe leaving a bit distance on the table because of our limited RPM range. We were through the traps at about 6200 RPM.

Anyhoo, got lost for a minute. We're at Humboldt trying to fire our new motor, turns over a dozen times, pops a bit but won't fire, so I stopped with the starter. I was the button man, crew chief ran the throttle and spray bottle. After a bit of checking we realize we have the timing about 45 degrees retarded. Up for two days building a motor in the pits, we were less than qualified by this point. So, Mike adjusts the timing and says ok, lets try it. My brother pipes up, Hey don't you dumbasses think you ought to blow it out again? Mike says nah, how much fuel could it have pulled in 12 turns?

I agree that it should be blown out, but Mike insists everythings ok. He clicks the ignition on and I hit the starter, it rolled about 6 times, lets out a hellacious bang and ripped the front cylinder right in half. The top half of the cylinder and the head smashed the back bone flat as a pan cake, leaving a perfect imprint of the rocker box in the bottom of the backbone. Tore both down legs in half and the front piston and rod exited out the generator relief area. Mike wore a perfect circle bruise on his chest from where the carb and velocity stack hit him, all weekend. I picked steel out of my arms most of the weekend.

I don't know how many of you have ever run the starter on a nostalgia fuel bike, but your face is about 6 inches from the action. When shit lets go, its quite a surprise.
 

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Hopefully Frank and Joe won't mind me chiming in again, I don't have the history they do, but my fuel "career" spans a couple of decades, so maybe you all won't mind a tale or two from my less than stellar career. These guys are giving you the perspective of a couple of seasoned pro's. I will give you the perspective of a couple of wannabe, broke as all fuck, but lucky enough to have a fueler, amateurs. My partner in crime owned a titty bar, I was a college student

My Dad and I started in '84 campaigning an M/XL. We had some success, but working with my pops always ended up a bit of a struggle. He was the seasoned veteran with volumes of history and a knack for building wicked fast street bikes. Finally in 84 he took it to the track. Things went well off and on, but he and I always seemed to butt heads when it came to tuning and making changes. We still had a blast, but he was content in the gas classes and I was slowly becoming infatuated with Fuel.

I was given the opportunity in '89 to start helping out on an A/F bike and jumped at the chance. I was still always there for the ol man, but sometimes he had to come grab me from the fuel team to lend him a hand.

I was a gofer in either pit, but loved it in spite of that. I was all to happy to pick these guys brains whenever I could.

In '90 at our local track, one of my ol mans oldest brothers, Mike, showed up with a 96" ironhead B/F bike. He brought it up from KC with his partner at the time and pilot of same. Mike asked me if I would mind helping them out a bit and I said sure. They hadn't had this thing running in years. It was a really cool bike, nickle plated, lay down Truett tanker frame, short little wheelie bars and a car tire. The short wheelie bars make for a great story later, but I'll finish this one first.

We bought a gallon of nitro from the A/F team I was helping out on and proceeded to set about getting this ol ironhead running again. We put fresh oil in it, dumped the fuel in, checked the timing, points, and plugs and decided it was time. We stuck the little lift device they had under the frame, raised the rear wheel up and hooked the starter up. Mike hit the button, Herbie ran the squirt can and the throttle. It started rolling over, popped a couple of times and then roared to life. It sounded great, but there was a problem. It was idling at about 4,000 rpm and would not idle down. It was also starting to vibrate off of the lift device. I grabbed the wheelie bars to help steady it, and Herbie cracked the throttle to try and get it off of high idle. It was at this time that we found out the lift device was not tall enough. The rear tire hit the ground and launched the bike forward. I tried as hard as I could to hold on, but after getting both of my hands smashed under the wheelie bar wheels, I had to let go.

Herbie was a bit more valiant than I was and held onto the bars with all of his 130 pound might. To no avail. The bike took off like a shot, dragging Herbie along side, idling at 4,000 rpm. I suppose it went about 200 yds before they both got tangled up in the chain link fence by the staging area. I ran over and ripped the dead man out and asked Herbie why he hadn't done the same. He looked up at me, called me a know it all kid and asked me to help him up.

So I gave him a hand, then helped him upright the bike and push it back to our pit. Needless to say, Herbie was a bit frazzled and about half the place was laughing their asses off. Luckily no harm to the bike at all. We found a broken return spring on the throttle which didn't allow it to return to idle position. At that time we did not have a push/pull throttle on it. We also took some weight off of the clutch to get it to stall a bit higher.

Everybody had calmed down and Herbie said he was ready to give it another go. We purged it, dumped a bit more fuel in it, hit the button and it fired right up, idled down to about 2500 rpm and ran beautifully. Herbie tapped the rear brake and the wheel stopped cold and then rolled slowly after he released the brake. I grabbed the tire by hand and it stopped instantly. We let her warm up a bit, herbie burped it once and we shut the fuel off, letting her kill. Everybody was fucking stoked. I mean hootin and hollaring, the works. We were all so proud of ourselves. Next stop, the staging lanes. Fuel is a fickle mistress, terrifying and an absolute joy all at the same time.

It only gets funnier from here so if you're interested and I haven't overstepped my bounds by sullying this thread with the tales of an unranked amateur, say the word. I'll continue telling you how the other half lived!
 

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Yes it was Calkins.

Having proven we were capable of actually getting the thing running right, there was only one thing left to do. Try and get it down the track.

So, Herbie suited up, strapped on his helmet and we rolled it up to staging. We got the nod from the lineman and fired her up again. Perfect, no problems. Let Herbie down off the lift device and he rolled it into the water. Mike stepped in front of the bike to help hold her down. Herbie grabbed the front brake and cracked the throttle. The bike jumped about a foot and damn near knocked Mike down. We pushed it back into the water, Mike grabbed it again up front, and I grabbed the wheelie bar. Herbie rolled her on this time and the rear wheel started spinning. I then stepped off to the side, I wasn't in the mood for eating water and rubber. He let off the front brake and rolled her out of the water. Mike cut the fuel off and we let her die. You can't believe how excited we were. The little bit of a burnout we did was almost as exciting as getting it running.

We pushed it back off of the track, dumped the oil and took a look at it, no metal. By all indications we were ready to try and make a pass. We topped off the fuel, added another quart of GT70 and waited for the linemans cue. It was agreed by everyone that just taking the green light with a 60' hit on the throttle is all we should try. This bike hadn't been down the track in years. Repeat the above, only this time, rather than just whacking the throttle, Herbie grabbed the brake, rolled the throttle on gently till it broke the back wheel loose and did a bitchin smokie burnout, then rolled her through the staging area. Mike pushed him back, I lifted the bike by the bars to get him aimed straight and we were ready. Again the consensus was that since we had no idea what was going to happen, Herbie better take it easy and just roll her on rather than whacking it. This would prove later to be a bad idea when it came to be my turn to ride this thing, but more on that later.

Herbie pre-stages, then stages. CFR always gives us a pro-tree because we ain't no damned bracket racers and there isn't a class we can compete in out there anyway. The 3 yellows flash, the green lights up and Herbie does exactly as we told him, just rolls it on. Nothing but perfection, he clicks it off at about 100 feet and coasts her to the end. 18 second 1/4 mile the first time the bike had seen the track in years, a whopping 60 mph. Again we are all as giddy as little girls.

We send the tow bike down, a ratty ol shovel in keeping with our no budget race team mandate. This is when we found out that none of us had any experience towing a square tire bike. The return road comes about half way up the track then takes a sharp left into the pits. This is where Herbie had his second fall of the day. The tow bike slowed a bit and Herbie tried like hell to make the corner. Square tire bikes don't steer like your average street bike. He almost made the corner. Unfortunately, the tow strap went slack and ended up going under the front tire. The tow bike rider then tried to pull it tight and snatched the front tire right out from under Herbie and down he went, again. A couple of us ran down there, helped gather him up and decided fuck it, we'll push it the rest of the way.

Now we have the bike back in the pits, again no damage done and the celebration commences. Mike asked Herbie how everything felt and he could only stammer the word great. More celebration. We changed oil again, blew it out and topped everything off. Mike asked Herbie how he felt about a full pull. Herbie said he couldn't see why not. He was about to eat those words.

Back to the staging lanes, the nod from the lineman, fired it up and into the water we go. Great burnout, pre-stage, stage, yellows, green and away he goes. He is hauling the mail for sure. At about 600 feet we saw a very odd shimmer coming from the bike, at about 800 feet we watched Herbie careen out of control and then go down and then go skidding in a ball of arms legs and motorcycle for the next couple of hundred feet.

We were terrified, was Herbie OK, fuck Herbie, was the bike OK??? We jumped on a couple of bikes and hauled ass down there. The bike was a bit dinged up, carb knocked off, rear brake handle broke off, but other than that, not too bad. Herbies leather were a bit scuffed but other than that, he was ok too. He was not a very happy camper though. This was the third time he had eaten asphalt at the hands of this bike.

We get back to the pits, look at the ticket and either Herbie or the bike had skidded and tumbled their way to an 11 second 1/4 mile. Again with the elation. Thats fuckin fast, especially sliding on your ass with 400 pounds of bike sliding next to you. After Herbie had calmed down a bit, he told us what had happened. At about 600 feet the bike shook violently, a good ol fashioned tank slapper. Herbie thought he could power through it. He couldn't have been more wrong.

He then told Mike he had had enough of this suicide machine and that he needed to find a new pilot.

I have a long history in my ol mans circle of friends for riding anything better than just about anybody. I cut my teeth on 150HP jap bike hill climbers at the tender young age of 13 yrs old. Took rookie of the year in District 16 AMA hill climbing competition my first year out, '78 I think, riding a stretched out kz650. I was affectionately known as the zipper due to my propensity for WFO throttle position. I had beaten every single ol timer in the ol mans circle at our yearly grass drags. I was also desperate to get on track and the ol man wouldn't yield the seat on the M/XL. Mike looks at me and says whattya think? My wife and my mother both flipped. NO FUCKING way, that thing nearly killed Herbie and he's a pro!!

I told Mike that with some serious maintenance on the bike, I would consider it. We spent the next year working on the bike, new neck bearings, wheel bearings etc. We debuted in Humboldt '92. But thats a whole 'nother story right ther.
 

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You'd think a kid this young would be playing Army or catching frogs with his buddies.
Funny that. My pops started sending me up the side of mountains on a highly modified kz650 hill climber at the tender young age of 12 yrs old. Some 35 years later, there are still parts of me that are tender as a result.

Here is another picture I found in my e-travels

Hope its not a repost
 

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Maybe Frank, Joe, or Keith can answer this. In the early 80's, there were some guys from Australia I think, running a rear engine, blown shovel head. I saw it at Humboldt a couple of times, I may even have a picture of it somewhere. They started it on an axle stand type of affair, then literally kicked it off the stand. I don't ever remember it hooking up, but I do remember it smoking the tire forever
 

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The best advise I can give you is to take it to a dragstrip as it is now. As you get more accustomed to riding it under accelaration start removing weight to improve your times. When you have removed as much weight as possible (safely) then decide if you want to spend much, much more money to go faster.
I can't remember having ever heard it put so well.
 

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Skinner, check your pm's. When is the Eddyville event?

Also, I don't know if anyone is interested, but Red Roberts with Texas Scooter Times (WARNING: loud music with the link, turn your speakers down), has one of Marion's old bikes up for sale.

I realize, that technically, stuff for sale goes in the classifieds, but this seems to me to be a better place for it. And it's not mine, so...here it is

http://www.ahdratalkshop.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=79569#Post79569

Red Roberts at ahdra link said:
...FOR SALE - "The Spook".... One of the most infamous dragsters of it's day. First built by Carl Ahlfeldt in '72 it was Marion Owens last single engine dragster. I traded my first fuel bike a 114" Chapman Chassis dragster straight across for a new '75 Superglide and took that Superglide right to Oklahoma City and traded it to Marion for "The Spook" straight up. Ran a bunch of 9.0's with a 114 Shovelhead.
...Front halfed at Kosman's in San Francisco in '75 after a major explosion, it's a 2 piece motorplate tanker chassis with a hollow jackshaft ready for a pushrod & manual clutch. With a plate welded under the motorplates it's never done anything but go straight. 6x26x15 rear on a laced R & W hub - dragster front end off my other bike 'cause Blanton wanted the wire wheel that was on it.
...Needs fork stem work that he didn't finish.
...Comes with a clutch and early Truett hat, wheelie bars, early Truett Starter, oil tank, & lots of history. Won T & O race in '74 with Monte Averett up. $2000 firm - need the money to finance a race. [email protected]
....Vintage Fuel Harley is gonna be the "big deal" SOON!! This one will get you in on the ground floor...
 

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For those interested Glen Kerr has fired up the Dubble Tubble bike you can see the vidio on utube dubble trubble twin engine very cool to see this bike back together again Glen hopes to make a couple passes at Iowa meet on fuel.
worth the drive to see next weekend at eddyville dragway I think over 40 years since this bike ran on track. pure vintage fuel for sure.
Boy, if that don't put a smile on your face you are on the wrong thread. It is heartwarming to see a 70 something guy cranking a bike he raced 40-50 years ago.
Wow!!! That is beautiful. I can't wait to see it in person.
I haven't seen that bike in almost 40 years. Gives me a little lump in the throat.
Let me tell ya, I was at Eddyville today and it was great. All of the guys put on a helluva show and getting to sit and talk with them between laps was a real treat.

I have a bunch of pictures, and hopefully some video, that I will edit over the next day or two and get posted, but heres a sampler for you.

I have hi-res originals of everything, I think 3.5 megapixels?

A huge thank you to each and every one of them for taking the time to bring these out and let us all enjoy them.
 

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Great read hdwgfx, thank you for posting the link.

Hard to believe its been two years. Shooting the breeze with puppet on the old stripbike forum, made for some great conversation. Always entertaining and the man was gifted as all get out.
 
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