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Click HERE for Bonneville
article from BRM magazine
September 2007

Click HERE for Bonneville
article from BRM magazine
October 2007

Click HERE for daily updates
of our trip to Speedweek 2007
at the Bonneville Salt Flats!

Click HERE for Bonneville
'07 picture gallery

Proposed Land Speed Racing is Speedweek at Bonneville Salt Flats USA, August 11-17, 2007.

Goal is to compete for a World Motorcycle Land Speed Record.

Look out for "Black Thunder from Down under".

Testing For Bonneville

Black Thunder Racing NZ Update - 3 June 2007

As you may be aware we have carried out one set of runs on the runway at Hamilton Airport on the Kawasaki ZX14, which went well despite delays waiting for the fog to clear.

Speedo went off the clock, and became erratic (needle bouncing from one side of the speedo to the other), and speed gun readings were out as the result of the angle they were taken from the runway, however it looks like with the gearing set for the drag strip, the bike was redlining in top gear, which according to our experts, should have been about 199 mph.

The bike is very stable however beyond the 280 kph mark, despite getting the head down, there is still some helmet buffeting, which has an effect on the vision at high speed (the field of vision is considerably narrowed at high speed!).

We tried a couple of maps between runs (for the Power Commander), and then tried a couple of squirts of NOS (Nitrous Oxide), which just pushed the bike towards the redline a little quicker. This was using the smallest of nozzles.

Black Thunder Racing NZ Update - 17 June 2007

Well Sunday at Hamilton Airport turned out to be a great day, both weather wise and performance wise on the Black Thunder Kawasaki ZX-14.

We started off a couple of runs with the gearing changed with on tooth larger sprocket on the front, and the 41 tooth sprocket on the rear.

With the bike pulling a little slower at the top end, we brought the bike back off the runway and adjusted the map in the Power Commander Computer system, where Neil set it up to run a little richer top end.

We also increased the NOS Nozzle size, to give a little more squirt if we needed it top end.

Another few runs and back off the runway where Neil adjusted the Power commander again on the lap top to lean out the top end fractionally.

Readings were looking good, doing runs with manual shift and also using the air shifter. The magic 200 mph was noted on the GPS (320 kph) as the bike was still accelerating, however, as previously mentioned, the helmet would be buffeted every time I looked at the GPS, while still trying to focus on the runway.

The main issue was trying to identify breaking points at the high speed and this became quite an issue when pushing the top end of the envelop, as the peripheral visibility at high speed is some what diminished.

The final series of runs, the bike was really flying, and a quick squirt of NOS at around 9000 rpm, assisted the bike accelerating a little quicker and up to 10,500 rpm in 6th gear. The last run I lost visibility of the GPS after 320 kph (9,900 rpm) as I pulled my head lower behind the screen and saw the bike running a whisker past 10,500 rpm (I believe given the room we could squeeze up beyond this).

Unfortunately, all tucked down and going for broke, I missed the breaking point, and suddenly found I was out of runway with about 160 kph still on the clock. The tyre marks on the end of the runway showed my enthusiasm to stop.

I figured if I braked hard on the grass, I would lose the bike so elected to head up a thin strip of seal (about half the width of a foot path).

The plan went well, however as I left the runway, the track dropped off, and the front wheel hit hard (enough to put a good dent in the front rim, and deflate the tyre), and then the ZX-14 bellied out hitting the header pipes and breaking a small part of the fairing belly pan).

Good news was I managed to stop with out throwing the bike away, and better news was the speed on the final run was looking at 338 kph or 211 mph, which is where we want to be for Bonneville.

Bike flies in last test run before Speed Week - Waikato Times - 7 July 2007

Alan Thoresen didn't quite have permission to take off at Hamilton International Airport yesterday, as he pushed his Kawasaki to a new top speed of 340km/h.

The Hamilton man hopes to emulate legendary motorcyclist Burt Munro, when he heads to the salt flats of Bonneville, Utah, to tackle a land speed record.

Thoresen said conditions in Hamilton were perfect yesterday as he managed to squeeze a little bit more out of the 1352cc bike, dubbed Black Thunder.

"It went very, very well," he said this morning. "The bike was still pulling at that speed, but I was riding cautiously because I was trying out some new tyres."

Thoresen, 52, heads to the US on August 4 with his wife Violet and mechanic Neil Powell from Hamilton Motorcycle Centre.

He is confident of breaking the record for the 1650cc modified gas class at Bonneville's Speed Week. The record stands at 320km/h and while he has surpassed that speed, the conditions on the salt flats mean the bike will have to be configured differently. When asked about safety issues while travelling at high speed, Thoresen replied: "You have got to be very, very careful at that speed. You tend to lose your peripheral vision, so you've got to be wary of your braking point.

"But in saying that I'm very safety conscious. I do approach these things sensibly."

The next stage is packing up the motorbike in preparation for the flight to the US and racing from August 11.

"Hopefully, it'll be waiting at the other end for me," said Thoresen.

He is the only New Zealander among the 519 entrants for Speed Week.