While the Big Red Ram has been performing very well for Dallas, the Texas Whale sustained engine damage at our last race in Atlanta. We’ll never know the exact sequence of failures but the engine sustained a broken push rod, three bent push rods, a broken roller lifter, a pair of damaged roller rockers, and the three bolts on the geardrive to the camshaft loose.
Despite the engine having but 11 passes on it since a cam and head change — the decision was to completely tear down for further cleaning, inspection, and bearing replacement. Dallas tore the engine down and cleaned the parts; I order a set of beefier push rods from Smith Brothers, rockers from T&D, lifters from Bullet, and timing set/gaskets/timing cover,engine bearings/cam button; and Damon has assembled the short block. However, we’re still waiting for the rockers and Cometic Head Gaskets — so the Texas Whale was not ready for this race.
So the Vitamin C was pressed into action. I bought this slower (mid 10-second) car 4 years ago, and ran it for a couple of years while the Whale was getting finished — and Dallas was getting use to maintaining a mid 9-second car. A pin hole found it’s way through a cylinder wall two years ago — and the 426 block was just too worn to spend any more time as a race engine. A 440 block was machined and new dome-top pistons were attached to the old rods, crank, cam, heads, … for the new engine – and the car is scheduled to be completely rebuilt next year when my youngest daughter will start racing it in 2014.
Since we hadn’t driven the car in two years or tested the new engine, we took it to San Antonio and I entered it in the bracket race – something I’ve never done. While I went a few rounds and made 5 passes, the car was running a very slow (but consistent) 11.3s. The day we left for the Mopars at the Motorplex — we made the call to change the distributor with one having advance. That appears to be a good call.
We left the shop at 7PM on Friday night and arrived at the track at midnight. At 7 AM we started setting up the pits. I only had one chance to Time trial the Vitamin C, and it ran a 10.9 in horrible weather that had other cars 2 to 3 tenths off. I felt like I could get it to 10.7s or 8s with more timing — but since there was only 1 time trial — I had to leave it where it was. Dallas was able to get the Big Red Ram to run a 9.45 — which is about 2/10 slow, but still good enough to declare the B/FX index.
Even with 30 pounds of weight I (7601) was too fast with a 10.98 for the first round of qualifying. Dallas (7602) spun and was a little too slow with a 9.58.
In my first round of eliminations, I ran Tony Smith, who is a tough draw. He’d beat me the first time we’ve run each other, but I have come out on the better end in the Semis last year at both the Mopars at the Plex and the NMCA race — both events I had won. I cut it way too close with a perfect light (.000) and a perfect ET (11.000) when I lifted at the MPH cone and let Tony take the stripe to breakout.
Dallas had also won his first round. In the second Round I turned the stupid light on with a .009 red against Mark Buchanan, and he had a bad light and a poor run to add insult to injury. Dallas won his second round with a hole-shot win. I’m guessing I must have staged a little too deep.
In the Semis Dallas again won with a hole shot against Frankenwagon — giving him a chance to avenge my loss against Mark Buchanan for the Finals. Dallas ran a near perfect 9.501 on his 9.50 Index — but was caught snoozing at the lights — handing the win to Mark Buchanan. We were shooting for Back(2012)-to-Back(2013) Schultz wins at the Mopars at the Plex — but Dallas still scored a $500 check for first worse. We were loaded up and passed through the track’s gate at 6:30PM, arriving home at 10:30 after driving through a bad storm.
We’d like to thank our sponsors Royal Purple, Fuelab, TTI, Texas Motorcycle Excursions, Crew Chief Software, and Mancinni Racing for their help with our racing. Their sponsorships are very much appreciated – as are their products important for our success.
As a guitarist, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper’s cemetery in the back country. As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost.
I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch.
I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late. I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I didn’t know what else to do, so I started to play.
The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I’ve never played before for this homeless man.
And as I played ‘Amazing Grace,’ the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together. When I finished I packed up my guitar and started for my car. Though my head hung low, my heart was full.
As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, “I never seen nothin’ like that before and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for twenty years.”
Apparently, I’m still lost…
The following is a recap of the most recent race that we send to our sponsors, and prospective sponsors.
The second race in the NMCA’s Championship series is the NMCA/NMRA/NHRA combined race at Atlanta International Dragway, in Commerce, GA.
Dallas and I left the shop at 9AM (Central) on Wednesday and arrived at the track’s motorhome staging area 900 miles away at 2:30AM (Eastern) on Thursday. The trip was relatively uneventful other than driving through very high winds, which caused the 11′ corner trim on the stacker to come loose — having Dallas on the roof in 40MPH winds to cut it loose for me.
We set up the pits (high winds — so there were no awnings or banners this week), established credentials, and took the cars to get teched in. While teching in we looked at the track, which was was yellow/green from a thick coating of pollen. In fact we’d use a California duster on the cars three times a day for the whole weekend — and the below photos are about 4-5 hours worth of pollen on cars. It also was all over the inside of our trailer, in the tool box, in the motorhome, on the weather station computer — all over!
A bad storm was due to hit Commerce Thursday night, and so we put everything up for the night. The storm had strong winds with driving rain during the night — rocking the coach pretty good. In the Morning we got the cars out and set up the pits again.
Friday morning was off to a late start for the track. The Atlanta track crew has to be the worse at a NHRA track. They’re slow, arrogant, and inept — and they were about as bad this year as they’ve been in years past. Frankly I hate going to this track — and have the worse luck there.
Time trials were suppose to be from noon to 3PM, but they called us to the lanes an hour late. We waited in the staging lanes for 2 hours before being able to make the first of the three passes we had hoped for. Dallas and I were able to be fast enough (for any extreme weather change during the weekend) when we made our base run.
I (7601) wanted to run the C/FX (9.75) Index, and Dallas (7602) wanted to run B/FX (9.50 seconds), so we were in good shape. It was to be the only Time Trial we were to make as 84-year-old Willard Kinsler flipped his car at the 330′ cone — and it took hours to get that all squared away.
The first Qualifying runs were to have been at 3PM — but wound up being at closer to 6PM. I always try to set my car to be 2/100 a second slower (9.77) than the index, so I can get in the show immediately — then use the next two qualifying passes to get closer to #1 Qualifying position. We do the same for Dallas’ car.
Dallas and I ran each other in the 1st qualifying pass, the photo of which is the top photo. My car felt good, and the time slip with a 9.769 showed that I had my car right to within 1/1000 a second of the planned 9.77. Dallas was 32/1000 a second off his — which we consider good for a first round. It was good enough for me to be the #3 Qualifier and Dallas #5 out of 15 NSS cars.
The saying is that your car always runs best before the engine blows — and as I was coming back from the pits the engine started to not sound right. A quick look showed a broken lifter, a broken pushrod, two bent pushrods, and a pair of hosed rollers. We carry 11 tubs of parts — but not enough to fix this — plus I was certain we’d find more damage. So I was out, but at least I got qualifying points.
After three qualifying passes — my single pass held up for a #5 Qualifier and I believe Dallas was #6. Dallas won his first round — but had a minor mechanical problem while moving into the burnout box — and so he lost his second round.
The rain came after the second round — and so the Semis and Final will take place in Joliet this July.
We left the track and 3PM Sunday and arrived home at 4AM Monday. My engine has since been torn down (other issues found), parts ordered and it will be ready for the Hot Rod Reunion in June. We have a pair of non-points races in Ennis and Memphis before then — that I will run in the back up car – Vitamin C.
I ordered a custom painted trailer for my Geezerglide so I do some longer camping road trips with a tent, sleeping bag, cooler, my CPAP, and a portable generator/inverter to run it. When it came the shades were off just a hair from the bike. Further investigation find that I have a fairly rare Limited edition (the exact bike as below) and the 2012 up is a little different shades of the same color.
Below is a story on the scooter my son sent me.
2011 Electra Glide Ultra Limited Motorcycle Review
A while back a gal pal and I were sitting around having a grand old time getting fully loaded. Before that night ended, my friend pointed out that she personally associated me with the term, especially in regards to my drinking and gun collection. That was a good night, but that’s another story.
The funny thing is that a short time later it was just that phrase that caught my attention while I was trying to choose what model Harley I wanted to ride home from the 70th anniversary Sturgis Rally.
One of the main reasons I picked the 2011 Cherry Red Sunglo/Merlot Sunglo Electra Glide Ultra Limited (MSRP $24,699) you see here was because I heard the bike comes fully loaded. My many stalkers know that I’ve never been a fan of full-blown, luxury touring bikes that feature batwing fairings and windshields, but it was time to take one for the team.
In all seriousness, the way I see the Ultra Limited fitting into the H-D Touring family tree is as a newer, more evolved limb of the Electra Glide branch. What I mean is, all the extras you get with this bike are mostly things that can be found in the P&A catalog. However, on this model it’s all stock. For example, the heated handgrips and the Tour-Pak’s 12-volt power supply and luggage rack are standard on the Limited, but can be purchased separately and then installed on any lower-rung Electra Glide with relative ease. Other Limited treatments include custom versions of the stock 28-spoke cast aluminum wheels, upgraded instrument displays, and a special paint scheme.
In 2011, the Motor Company started offering would-be-buyers a new Power Pak factory option on several Touring models. Basically, for just shy of $2,000, you can now get a larger Twin Cam 103″ engine, antilock braking system (ABS), and Harley-Davidson Smart Security System with hands-free fob. This is all standard on the Ultra Limited, and it’s worth noting that when the model was first introduced in 2010, it was the only way to get a factory-installed 103 in your ride.
Personally, I have always been a fan of these motors, although they can run a bit on the hot side, especially when installed on touring bikes that limit the airflow to the rider in the first place. To address the heat issue, an integrated oil cooler is a standard addition on this sled. Regardless of the specific numbers the 103 engine puts out, I found that it had plenty of usable power and torque.
On the ride home, I mostly used the bike on highways and fast secondary roads, and I found that I averaged about 40 mpg. Not bad, considering I have a heavy throttle hand, and my bike was fully loaded in more ways than one. This beast was so reliable on that ride that it almost became routine to fully load the 6-gallon tank with fuel, hit the highway, set the electronic cruise control, find something to listen to on the Harman/Kardon 80-watt, four-speaker stereo, and watch the country fly by until I had to do it all over again in about 250 miles. It is probably worth noting that during these stints I would cruise in sixth gear at 75 mph at 2700 rpm, but I found the sweet spot to be at 3000 rpm going roughly 85 mph.
Overall, I really have no complaints about this bike, besides the fact that I’m personally not a fan of any combination of a fork-mounted batwing fairing and clear windshield. I was hoping that the newly-sculpted-for-2011 seat might make a difference, but no. I was still in that full upright sitting position looking through the windshield.
The smoked Lexan adjustable air deflectors mounted below the batwing fairing did a decent job of circulating some air as did the midframe air deflectors and removable vented lowers. However, I found that in order to really cool off I needed to ride on the back of the seat where I could get some fresh air and see over the tall Lexan windshield without stretching my neck like a giraffe. By the end of my journey, it was the norm for me to ride that way, unless I had a passenger onboard, all of whom seemed to be in heaven riding on the back of this bike, with the Tour-Pak-mounted backrest, wraparound armrests, rear speakers, and height-adjustable footboards. Talk about fully loaded.
Like all of its family members, the Limited comes with rembo four-piston calipers — dual up front and single in the rear — and air-adjustable rear shocks. The brakes do a great job of stopping the whole load, and I especially appreciated the ABS connected to them. Like the other Electra Glides, the whole package rolls on a 17″ front wheel and a 16″ rear wrapped with Dunlop rubber, 130 front, 180 rear.
The things I liked the best about the Limited are the heated handgrips that allowed me to wear thinner gloves on cool days. (Thinner gloves sound so soft. Don’t take that the wrong way.) Then there’s the 103″ motor. Also, I was surprised to find out that the simple addition of a Tour-Pak rack made my life easier when packing since I could easily strap a bag to it for things I might need quick access to, like my foul weather gear. Since this bike comes with bag liners, it would have been cool if it came with a soft rack bag made specifically for the Limited. Again, I’m sounding soft.
Over the years, I have made the ride from Sturgis back home to the Northeast almost a dozen times, but never has it been as plush as it was this past year when I rode the Ultra Limited. If you are in the market for an Electra Glide, it’s my opinion that you’d be better off getting fully loaded with the Limited model. Heck, it’s not even $3,000 more than the next bike down, the Ultra Classic Electra Glide. And that’s a bargain considering all the additional stuff you get.
Now, excuse me. My gal pal just came over, and we’re heading to the liquor store and gun shop so we can make sure we’ll be fully loaded. Soft no more. AIM
NEW BIKE REVIEW by Joe Knezevic
Story as published in the August Issue of American Iron Magazine