Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Motorcycle Drag Racing Legend, Joe Smith.

Here is a great collection of true stories, great drag racers and some fun times in the history of motorcycle drag racing as told by Motorcycle Drag Racing Legend, Joe Smith.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Granddaddy Joe 2ft X 3ft Poster

For all you old timers that go back away, there is something new on the Home Page of my Web Site. If you had one on your shop wall, you could give it a good luck pat, you could throw knives at it, you could put some PO on it and put a match to it, you could write dirty remarks on it, you could use it for toilet paper, any one of those things and many more that you could think of could make you a happy person.
Detail in the future.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

NHRA Bands Hydrazine


Yes, Hydrazine is bad stuff. NHRA in the old days put the Yellow dye or what ever it was in Nitro to detect Hydrazine; they didn't want anybody to run it after some bad "Bangs". I remember Leo Payne had one gallon buried in the back of the shop at S&S Cycle, don’t know what ever happened to it.

The first contact I had with PO was from the guy that introduced the stuff to the Drag Racing Motorcycle World, Richie Richards. He had a pint can of it when we were in my garage/shop and he took the lid and filled it with PO and poured it on the garage floor, stepped about five foot away and dropped a lit match on the floor and it lit that PO. I right away started learning about mixing the stuff with Nitro. I found I didn’t need a lot to help the Alkie become a good igniter.

Here’s something of interest. I was at Union Grove on a Match Race with the local big shot fuel bike guy and I needed some Nitro. I went down the Top Fuel Car line asking to buy some and came to Big Daddy Don’s pit area, and he said he would give me what ever I need for the race. Then he asks me what color do you want? He had pure Nitro in Red, Blue, Green and the original yellow. This was during the Hydrazine band time. I took the yellow and never ask about the colors and still don’t know.

Is Nitro good forever

Two Faced,

I never had nitro that lasted very long, I got a 55 gallon drum every year from one of my Sponsors and by the end of the year I was ready for another drum... I do know that in the 60’s the nitro that some of us was buying came from an old Air Force Base some place in Southern California that was stored in underground tanks that went back to P-38 Fighter days in World War ll.

I use to keep a pretty good record of all mixes, how much Alkie and Propylene Oxide was in each one. I wasn’t ever worried too much about the Alkie content but PO evaporated fast and I was always able to use up older mix pretty quick. I used the older mixes on testing and weekend fun runs. If it was a race weekend and I was running a mix the next day that I mixed the day before I always figured the PO was gone and added what the new mix required, always seemed to work. Maybe someone that has Nitro around for a long time can answer your question, if it was Pure Nitro I probably wouldn’t worry about it, if it was a mix because of evaporation I wouldn’t know what it was unless you could analyze it.

400 X 18 Drag Slick across the Pond


A few pages back, Terry, Trigger996 and Paso were working on getting some 400 X 18 Tires, never heard how it went. And after I learned how to do it I made quicker and faster no smoking the tire runs with a 273 to 1 High gear only ratio.

Burt Monroe and Sonny Angel

Here's another great picture from the past, from the picture files of BAZ.

Sonny Angel has a Motorcycle shop in National City, California and has been there since 1953 and sells Motto Guzzi and works on British Motorcycle. His favorite Motorcycle is the Vincent and in 1951 he worked at the Vincent Factory. He’s been going to Bonneville for over 50 years racing his Vincent and Manx Norton's and other British built Motorcycles.

His brother Don is the man who pilots the twin engine S/C Vincent Streamliner at Bonneville last year at 222 MPH using one gear after the gearbox broke. They have an Italian built gearbox for the Vincent when they run Bonneville this year, looking for better luck.
When Burt Monroe came to the USA for Bonneville week he stayed with Sonny, they were good friends.

Bonneville Week

When Baz and I had our Visit a few weeks ago he brought along his Friend John Noonan and this is John's Turbo Suzuki street bike; note the lead weights on the swing arm, when it reaches speeds of 225 MPH or more the nose of Standard Fairing pushes down so hard the rear wheel lose traction so he has over 100 lbs of lead on board.

This bike has turned 259 MPH at Bonneville on street tires.The bike makes 550 plus Horse Power at the rear wheel, but depending on the conditions he may take 150 Horse Power out to get traction.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Best Oil for Nitro


I got some bad answers for you on the oil issue. I also was sponsored by Valvoline in the same years; I had a garage full of the stuff, everything they produced. But to use it with Nitro, I didn't like it at all, it separated too much, you know, the oil was bright yellow after a run. I know about the Castro oil but I couldn't get them for a Sponsor. The best Oil I ever used with Nitro was Torco Racing Oil. I tried most Oil there was including Pennzoil, had a Sponsor from them for one year but was glad to get back to Torco. The answer you want about Valvoline, maybe someone else will read your posting and have an answer for you. By the way, Two Faced, Cool looking bike.

Was he really the character everybody said

When I first met Mr. Monroe at Bonneville in the 60’s I felt he was a little on the weird side. He was almost to the point of being obnoxious. He loved the women and in the evening when we were in town and crossed over into Nevada where there was a Casino he was very forward with the younger women. It didn’t seem to hurt his popularity because every one including me really loved the guy. I’m glad I got to meet the man that owned “The Worlds Fastest Indian”. That movie has been playing on our local cable TV for some time now and I have watched at least four times. As I remember some of his tales, if they were to be believed then the movie is pretty accurate.

Worlds Fastest Indian

Here's a picture someone sent me in my email, the old racers will probably know who this is, I met him the first time in the late 1960's at Bonneville.

Mr. Bert Monroe, what an experience of a life time it was to meet that man. I must say that on the first meeting and looking at his race machine that I had never seen a more crudely put together thing in my life. But it did work.

Here he is taking a break from machining some of those home made pistons.

How many Race Frames did you build


I built five singles and one double that I altered four times during it's career, I also built another Double Engine frame that I believe Marion Owens now has. They were all built to fit me and I rode them all. Jim Cook rode "Rat Too" one year at Indy and got Runner up, he was my size and weight at the time. Ron Fringer rode the Double the last year I was in Drag Racing and I had to move the rear pegs to the rear a little for him.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Weight or Stronger

I don't think anyone that built chassis's spend more time trying to make them light than I did in the early days. If I built a chassis that weight more that 26 lbs I tossed in the trash. But over the years of fancy wobbler's and welding cracks, etc. I started making them stronger and that added weight, so the weight thing was never thought about again and the chassis's got better after every one I built.

The stronger they are with the components in the right place is the way to go, if you find that secret, you've got it done.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Hey Puppet,

Here's one for you to ponder. This was my Knucklehead when it was running pretty good on fuel, it use to break and crack the frame on the bottom tube between the motor sprocket and the clutch. After checking around I found the same problem was happening to the flattrackers. It you look close there is a tube added from the left front down tube under the carburetors and back to the left rear down tube, solving the problem. I seen it one night when I went to the Fraltrack races.

The people in the picture, the good looking one in the red jacket with his back to you is me of course, then there is Bob Ebling and Bill Chambers, the girls on the left the one you can't see all of is Janie Chambers and then my Wife Pat.

Denco Triple Triple retired


That's pretty much how I heard it, there was some other things that floated around but the were a little bias and not worth mentioning. I think it was known as a little ill handling but then what really fast bike wasn't back then. But still answered like a true AMDRA Director.

Entertainment and Drag Racing

Just a note, Quote from Chris Estrada,

NASCAR knows that the sport is about entertainment — you can't rely solely on a great racing product to fill the seats and make the Nielsens tick up. Check the TV ratings — even though many fans gripe about how boring these Sprint Cup races may be, there are still many more that happily give up four hours of their Sunday afternoon to watch these guys.

But while they've been masters of publicity, NASCAR has never had their own Danica Patrick to trumpet. And since Patrick's finally put one in the win column, she and the IRL are already getting major buzz from across the media spectrum on a day where the Sprint Cup stars are having one of their rare off-weekends.

Running Two Bikes, and Spokesman for loosers

1972, Indy. I got permission from Steve Gibbs to try and qualify both of my bikes and got hurt when a rod broke right off the starting line and ended up in the hospital and Sonny Raz was in a different Hospital, the year he lost part of his hand. NHRA rules were you could not ride two bikes in the same class, I could choose one I wanted to ride and get another rider for the other but I would have put it in the trailer.

There was a bad issue at Bowling Green one year (which was a NHRA Sanction track) when TC rode two bikes in the same class and collected the money for both and left the track. Everybody came to me to be spokesman for them and we all went to the tower, about 25 or 30 crowded in the lower of that little thing and I got in a loud debate with one of the official, we were really going at it and I mention all these people would like something done. He said what people and I looked around and every body had left and I was the one that looked like a fool.

Nothing was done and I never got over that disloyalty.

Monday, April 21, 2008

MPH verses ET

Speed, ET and why did it happen.

My Double Harley ran a pretty consistent 176 MPH, give or take, at every track I raced on. Those times were with ET’s between 8.12 and 8.40 on any track, night or day.

Talking about unusual Speed’s, I did turn 181, 182 and right at 183 MPH at the Ontario Super Nationals with ET’s between 8.02 and 8.12 and at Indy I had a run of 188 MPH with an ET of 8.77. Ron Fringer ran a 187 MPH on the same bike with Injectors at Orange County Raceway with a mid eight second run.

The thing is those ET’s from the 176 MPH to the 180’s is quite a span. But, I notice on all the faster runs there was something different, it was a feel they had that I tried to duplicate many times but could not seem to do it consistently. The bike seems to have a floating feeling through the traps and was harder to get stopped so I never doubted the MPH plus they were done at an NHRA National Events.

In those days the only instruments we had was the Air Density Gage and I kept a record of all runs that included spark plug range, jetting and nozzle size, rear tire air pressure, shoe size, sh*t everything and on those runs the air density in the record book was right at 104 which was in those days was perfect air.

So, on those runs some place on the track there was a different acceleration rate that I can’t explain, I just knew there was a different feel on that run.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Early Harley Carburetors


Here is another pretty good picture of it, not bad for 1967 or 68. This was the frame I built for the Shovel and I started building that motor about this time.

That's my Ranchero.

The Knucklehead, 1968

Is this thread still active??


Here's one shows the old three wheeler and very early Sportster Carburetors a little better. I was successful with these in the beginning on fuel. They were the Carburetor S&S use to design there first Fuel Carburetor with.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Visit with Baz and Friend

John Noonan supplied this photo, & John has one of the fastest street bikes on the planet with a turbo Suzuki busa that has run 259 plus MPH on street tires at Bonneville in fact John holds about 17-20 different records in either the DLRA, ECTA, SCTA, AMA, or BNI and is a lifetime member of four different 200 mph clubs. He currently is the fastest record holder on two different continents with them being the USA and Australia.

He also holds the fastest open air record at 229 plus MPH and this was done in the dirt at El Mirage.

John was with Baz when we had our get together at Laidlaw's Harley Davidson. I'm told this is an original picture of Twin Triumph Double Trouble and Pat Presitti rider and owner.

Strawn and AMDRA days.

Roy Stress. That's what I used to call you, the job you had put such a stress on you that it sometimes showed but you stuck it out to the very end. Good man!!

Here is another you might like.;topicsee

I was wondering how long before you showed up. Guys like you and me are full of all kinds of Drag Race sh*t from the old days. I can remember in the early days of the AMDRA when a few of us sit around the Knights of the Motorcycle Drag Race Round Table at the NHRA Office in Hollywood California thinking we had all the answers and some are still trying to be solved today. No matter it was the best days of my life.

This is me and you in those days both trying to be the boss, man were those the times.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

This is the first frame I ever built, 1967. It was all one inch, 049 wall 4130 tubing. I built it around the front fork assembly, complete empty motor, empty transmission and rear wheel assembly with the slick on it. Cut the tubes with a hacksaw, bent the tubes with bending pressure after getting it red hot with a torch and tacked it together with a gas welding torch. Put the whole thing in the back of my truck and drove to a heli-arc welder and he welded it as I took it a part. It was real ugly when it was a bare frame.I ran a 102 inch Knucklehead in it with steel cylinders that came from S&S Cycle. It ran a best 158.98 with a 9.44 ET. One weekend I put screen door closers on the front forks to hold the front end up longer to put more weight on the rear tire, I could adjust them to go down slower or faster, it was at the time a good ideal. It did work because I was on a really good run but I had them to tight and the front end stayed extend and I went into a wobble and the bike went through the lights on the left side of the track and my body tumbled through the right side of the track and clocked 142 MPH loosing to the bike.After fixing it this is the guy that bought it, I had put a 102 inch shovel in it and he ran gas with it. He has his new Red Leathers on and ready to go,

M&H tires today

Yes, but also some one futher back on this thread mentioned that M&H would make some if that had a order for 50 or more. When I was testing tires for M&H they made different compounds you could get, I tested many for them so I know they make them. All the racers should put there heads together and figure what will be the best all around tire and order 50 or so.

Tires coming from M&H

I don’t know if you already do this or not but the first time I did it by accident I went quicker and faster that before.

It was during the time of four inch wide slicks and I was testing tires for M&H and those numbers you mention were some of the compounds they sent me. At the time I was smoking an Avon off the line, High Gear only. I had mounted two different compounds for Saturday night at Irwindale Raceway. One soft and one hard which was softer that the Avon at the time. I had the hard one on and got ready for a run, pulled down the fire up road, came around and staged. Got the light and was a little late with the clutch and the bike bogged off the line and I just left the throttle on and finished the run, sitting on the bike discussed waiting for my wife for toll back and here she comes down the return road with the head lights flashing and the horn blaring.. A normal Avon Tire smoking run was in the neighborhood of 9.25 to 9.40, on that run I ran a 9.04.I spent the next two weeks learning to let the clutch out first and then turn the throttle on afterwards, I killed the motor a few times on the line and I went up in smoke a few times. But I finally got where I could do it every run. It called for great timing and I had to kind of roll the throttle on after I found out how much to give it at first to keep from stalling the motor.

It was a lot of fun learning how to do that and in the end I ran the in between hard/soft, I be darn if I can remember but numbers I remember the most were 325, 250 and it seems there was 280, but I really can’t remember. I also running 26 lbs of air was right for me.

Picture from Trade Show

Hey Mike,
Was that a picture I signed for him in the old days?

Laidlaw and Baz

I got that visit from Baz, we met at Laidlaw's Harley Davidson for lunch and a afternoon of Bench Racing.
That's Laidlaw in the middle, this is not a very good picture, that's my excuse because it looks old or something does.
All this month is Bob's Birthday Bash on Saturday and 50 Anniversary with Harley Davidson.

Visit from my Aussie Friend, Baz

When Baz came to visit me he brought his friend John Noonan who supplied this photo to me. Does anyone know who it is?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Is that Joe or Gordon

1976, Ron Fringer


Two Speed vs Three Speed


I believe Dennis was right, but speaking from a Harley guy, glad he didn't have the three speed in it. Boris could have done the ride too. He's a good rider.

Did they ever run fuel, that might have taken care of that bog. Personally, I thing the bog was due to the fact that those motors are all RPM, it might have still had the bog with another gear.

They sure ran some good numbers on "parts wash" though.