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Yeah, Mr. Spittle I'm aware of Mr. Prime, but I've never met him. A mechanic I used to work with, who was a little older than me, claimed to have helped him syncronize the two engines on his "double". My late buddy (the mechanic) was a pretty heavy alcoholic by this point, so I didn't put a lot of stock in most things said, although I'm not saying he didn't work on it. Rhode Island is such a small state that it's normal to know just about everyone who has the same interests, it's just that I was a little younger than those guys. This leads me to a question I've been wanting to ask for a while: what was the usual method of indexing the two motors together? They didn't fire simultaneously did they; I always figured they were as evenly spaced as possible. Oh yeah, the Motorcycle Warehouse (Framingham MA.) had a nitro shovel in the eighties and I think Dick Prime may have been the pilot, but I'm not sure. This is a great thread btw.
Jerry
 

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This is a fascinating thread.
I dig old drag bikes.....alot!

(this may be a bit too new for this thread)...but I had a friend that was killed drag racing a Nitro Sportster named Bruce Lauer, from FonDuLac, Wi. (early 90's) Bruce owned a couple of grocery stores, and also had a small bike shop he had just started. He also was a long time member of the Masters M/C. He was a super super nice man. He was a goldmine to helping me learn to make my knuckle run better.
Anyone know of him??

Also, I had a friend I met out here, named Stan Deshong.
Stan was originally from Vallejo, Ca. and had been a long time drag & Bonneville racer.
He was a fascinating man, who, sadly has passed this last year.


You can read his story here... http://www.my68flh.com/2010/01/28/iron-man-stan-dishong/
 

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Both of those Dishong drag machines were pretty sweet. How wild is that overhead-cam Pan motor? Does anyone remember the Panhead dragbike that Dick O'brien built; I think it was in an old issue of Hot Bike. The interesting thing about it was that it didn't have an oil-pump mounted on the engine, but instead used the transmission as a pump.
Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 · (Edited)
This is a fascinating thread.
I dig old drag bikes.....alot!

(this may be a bit too new for this thread)...but I had a friend that was killed drag racing a Nitro Sportster named Bruce Lauer, from FonDuLac, Wi. (early 90's) Bruce owned a couple of grocery stores, and also had a small bike shop he had just started. He also was a long time member of the Masters M/C. He was a super super nice man. He was a goldmine to helping me learn to make my knuckle run better.
Anyone know of him??

Also, I had a friend I met out here, named Stan Deshong.
Stan was originally from Vallejo, Ca. and had been a long time drag & Bonneville racer.
He was a fascinating man, who, sadly has passed this last year.


You can read his story here... http://www.my68flh.com/2010/01/28/iron-man-stan-dishong/
Thank you VERY much for this post. It is not often I get the pleasure of reading about a motorcycle racer I have not read about. I had heard his name before but did not know how enormous an impact he had in the motorcycle community.

I did not know Bruce Lauer and am very sorry to hear about your friend's death.
 

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I Love This Thread, Frank Do You Remember A Good Friend Of Mine , Marlow Billings? He Raced Out Of Detroit Harley Davidson In The Late 60s On Gas Ironheads , Then Nitro, Then Went To Nitro Blown Kaws For A Few Years In The Mid To Late 70s. He Has A Ton Of Pix From The Good Ole Days With A Lot Of The Same People Mentioned Here, Im Gonna See If I Can Figure Out How To Get Some And Scan Em To Help This Thread Go..
 

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Frank, great pics & story! I wonder about your 60's dragbike, did it get a yellow pearl paint later on? That nacalle cover looks familiar...

The XLCH looks really nice too! I love the 59-65 CH's, however your old bike is a 60 not a 62. Unless it's a 62 with a 60 tank.
 

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This brought back some memories. When I worked at AEE Choppers we sponsored Leo Payne and his Turnip Eater for a year or so. I had the pleasure of seeing him and Mel Disharoon run that thing up and down the street in front of our shop. Even better I got to stand beside that fire breathing nitro burning monster when it was chained down to our dyno running full throttle. Jesus was that hairy! Leo was sitting on it and looked like he was having a lot of fun. I thought it was pretty much a grenade with the pin pulled. Great stuff. Saw his bike a few years ago in the traveling exhibit of the (I think) American Motorcycle Museum. bike looked the same as it was when he was with us except he was missing the AEE Choppers name on the fairing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 · (Edited)
twistedtee,
That was a good question about the timing of the two Sportster engines in "The Freight Train". When I bought it from Elmer he included his 10 years experience in racing twin engine Harleys. He had tried everything. He said it ran a little better times if the front engine was timed 2 degree ahead of the rear engine. That's the way I ran it the 2 years I raced it.


choptop37,
I knew of Marlow Billings but did not know him.


epinut,
I do not know what happened to the dragster or the XLCH after selling them but sure wish I did. The XLCH must have had a '60 tank on it because it was titled a '62.


takehikes,
Leo Payne was probably the best early Harley nitro racer. He developed the S&S fuel carb. I have a good story to tell later about the first time I saw him run. It was the first time I had seen a motorcycle on nitro. Mel Disharoon was at the Bowling Green Reunion a few years ago. I will post some info about that reunion later. Many of the names mentioned in this thread were there. Man, I got a lot of stuff to post!
 

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Discussion Starter · #55 · (Edited)
The switch to nitro part three.

One thing I have not talked about is how dangerous it was cranking a bike on nitro. You could not crank it with a kick starter of course and remote starters were years away. You had two choices. Pull it down track to crank or use rollers. Rollers were less dangerous. You have seen how it is done with rollers on the video I posted. Danny told me over and over that cranking it was more dangerous, as far as an explosion, than racing it. "The compression chamber MUST be clean of ANY nitro when you let the clutch out to start it or it will blow up". He had learned the hard way and was trying to save me some grief. I took his advise seriously and never had any problems starting. Oh, by the way, have I told I had met this pretty little girl. Before that, all I had been interested in was hot cars and hot bikes. Now there was a girl thrown in the mix! But she loved all the things I loved doing. It wasn't long before I was thinkin' I want to marry her. I am not going to get mushy on you but want to prepare you a change in my life and a temporary change in my Fuel Bike career.
 

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Discussion Starter · #56 ·
This is the only other picture of my first dragster. I can not remember who took those photos but sure am thankful 40 plus years later. That is me on the left side of the picture. The other guy was a really close friend who turned me on to Sportsters. His name was Tommy Abernathy. We were the same age. We lost him to cancer a few years ago. We had the only two Fuel Bikes in North Carolina in 1969 and were considered insane by some. By this time I was preparing for an August wedding.
 

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my pal marlow cant kick or push bike without his knee going out ,due to a clinder head explosion while staring a bike on the rollers, he always tells me: "i told them it was too much, but i did it it any way!", thats what really made me want to learn more about nitro! i asked him today about some old pictures to which he replied"why, nobody wants to see them old things, they werent good looking,we just ripped every thing off found some real wore out motors and loaded em up till they blew, we were all learning as we went, sometimes you went fast, sometimes you went home blown up and broke" hopefully i can get some pics up here soon.
 

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what amazed me about Leo Payne was he used the same basic bike at Bonneville and the drag strip and it was a Sportster! Insanity. There was no doubt when he lit that thing off over in the prototype area, ungodly. Mel would tow him down the street with the AEE van and he'd get it running and he'd blast up and down the street in Placentia.....no helmet, leaters, gloves....just Leo lighting that bitch up!
 

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twistedtee,

epinut,
I do not know what happened to the dragster or the XLCH after selling them but sure wish I did. The XLCH must have had a '60 tank on it because it was titled a '62.
Here's a pic of the bike that yours made me think of. The CH looks like it had a little mixed parts, 63 & up headlight, 64 & up lower tree cover... Most of these bikes didn't stay unaltered for very long...

 

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Discussion Starter · #60 ·
Here is a last minute update for the Fuel Bike Reunion at Piedmont Dragway, Greensboro, North Carolina.. I will be traveling there for the rest of the week. As I stated earlier Pete Hill is our Special Guest. Also I will get to see my old friend Johnny Sands, who I was racing in the video I posted. Ronnie Johnson, who was still in school when his dad Danny built my T/F Kawasaki in '78 and later rode his Fuelers when he retired, is coming. And Ray Price, father of the Funny Bike, has picked up his last Harley Funny Bike from the Sturgis Museum and fired it for the first time in about 20 years to have it in running display condition. I bet we will have some last minute stragglers show up too. I will post some coverage in a week or two. The Reunion is Friday and Saturday May 14-15 2010 if you are interested in coming.
 
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