Supercharged Harley Davidson Blues
By Dan Wright
What follows is NOT Utah Salt Flats Racing Association
policy. It isn’t anybody’s policy.
It is just my opinion, an Editorial.
-- An article expressing opinion.
As you can see from visiting the editorial section of your local newspaper,
an editorial writer doesn’t need to be concerned with reality,
or need to be very knowledgeable about much of anything. Any blowhard
can write one up and flop it out there for the world to consider.
Please, feel free to ignore my opinion, just like my wife
I suppose that some will take offense at what follows, but that’s
not my intent. I am also aware that I will be discussing some Bonneville
Motorcycle class records that were set by hardworking individuals
chasing their dream. Some of them are friends and Bonneville acquaintances
of mine. I even feel a bit guilty about drawing attention of other
competitors to the records they hold. It is not my intent to belittle
their achievements. Quite the opposite, the names in the record books
(and scores more that never quite made the records) already did --
IT. They lived the dream, and walked the walk. They went beyond beer
fueled bench racing, beyond street racing, further than a pass or
two at the local drag strip. They gave it their shot on the Salt and
their lives are richer today day because of it.
My intent is to invite and encourage new competitors to participate
in an honest, gritty, American tradition ----Amateur Racing --- Bonneville
is the last refuge of Real Racing for the greasy knuckled individual.
Not just some motorized entertainment to display sponsors logos in
front of a mesmerized audience.
Not some artificial extravaganza calculated to captivate and dazzle
Not a packaged product to fill Joe six pack’s Sunday afternoon.
No marketing, not even much PR, it’s just racing. Simple unvarnished
Elemental racing run by racers, for racers.
No dial in, no brackets, no breakouts, no red-light, no hole shot
wins, no one lap penalties, no stop and goes, no yellow flags to bunch
up the field, no intimidator bashing your fenders, no Lucky Dog provisional.
Just you and your machine on the vast expanse of hard white salt.
When the starter waves you off the line, the track belongs to you
and your machine--- alone. Run her thru and give it your best shot.
Clean, pure, simple. Even a bit primitive. A flat-out, top end contest,
a long run up to the Flying Mile, man and machine against the salt,
judged only by the unbiased, unflinching, electric eyes of the Certified
So, New Topic:
Why are the Supercharged Harley (Pushrod Class) Bonneville
Records so SLOW?
Now I know that statement sounds like “Harley
Bashing” but please, hear me out.
Under the Bonneville Class rules, Pushrod Engines run in their own
classes, and only against other pushrod engines. So as we take a look
at this issue, keep in mind that I’m NOT talking about New Age,
Dual Overhead Cammed, Titanium Valved, 15,000 RPM High Tech Screamers.
They have their own separate classes. I am talking Old School pushrod
For the technically inclined, the official rulebook “Pushrod
Class Engine” definition reads:
Pushrod: “must have pushrod operated valves with camshaft located
at least one crankshaft (stroke) length below the OEM cylinder deck
or utilize OEM pushrod length at least twice the crankshaft stroke.”
We’re talking classic iron here. Triumphs, Nortons, BSAs, Enfields,
Vincents, and Harley Davidsons. Now in the classes 750cc and Smaller,
one would rightly expect to see that British hardware dominates, it
always has. But in the classes 750cc and larger, one would expect
to see Harley and perhaps Vincent rule the roost.
Before we examine the current records and I start picking on the Harleys
let’s get the class breakdowns straight so we’re all talking
about the same Motorcycles.
I’m writing about four bike classes, each with multiple engine
displacement breaks. We will look at these four displacement breaks
1000cc (751cc to 1000cc), 1350cc (1001cc to 1350 cc) 1650cc (1351cc
to 1650cc), and 2000cc (1651cc to 2000cc) in the following four chassis
M-PBG Modified, Pushrod, Blown, Gasoline
M-PBF Modified, Pushrod, Blown, Fuel
MPS-PBG Modified Partial Streamliner, Pushrod, Blown,
MPS-PBF Modified Partial Streamliner, Pushrod, Blown,
Modified: Any bike that has been changed so it isn’t
absolutely stock in external appearance. No faring, no streamlining
this is the Naked Bike class. These are Blown (supercharged) classes
and since Harley doesn’t sell blown pushrod bikes, blown pushrod
stuff is all automatically in the Modified Class.
Modified Partial Streamliner: Any faring, even a
tiny “Bikini Faring” moves you from “M” into
“MPS”. There are strict limits on how much streamlining
is allowed in MPS. Bikes like Burt Monroe’s “Fastest Indian”
aren’t allowed any longer due to safety problems.
Pushrod :“Must have pushrod operated valves
with camshaft located at least one crankshaft (stroke) length below
the OEM cylinder deck or utilize OEM pushrod length at least twice
the crankshaft stroke.”
Blown: Supercharger or turbocharger is required
and may be mechanically or exhaust gas driven and must pressurize
the intake system above atmospheric pressure.
Gasoline Class: Must use gasoline from the “Event
Gas Provider” at Bonneville. ERC racing fuels is the “Event
Gas Supplier”. ERC offers several grades of high octane racing
gasoline, both leaded and unleaded. All their grades are allowed in
the gas classes. By using gasoline from this vendor at the race, technical
difficulties inspecting gasoline (measuring specific gravity and/or
dielectric tests) are avoided. You can check out the technical specifications
for ERC gasoline at www.ercracingfuels.com
Fuel Class: ANY liquid fuel is allowed, including:
Nitrous Oxide, Methanol, Ethanol, Nitromethane, Hydrazine, Propylene
Oxide, Toluene, Acetone and what ever else you mad scientists think
is a good idea , even Gasoline blends other than the “Event
Gas”. Tech inspectors don’t fuss about what liquid is
in your tank in the Fuel Classes. Run whatever your little heart desires.