|SPEEDWEEK 2007 DAILY DIARY|
Aug 10 The day before departure for Bonneville was extremely busy as we had to collect our NOS
bottles from Fast and Furious Performance out by the Las Vegas Speedway, and then head a few buildings down to Dynotech where a really great guy,
Steve, helped us set up and dynometer test the ZX14.
We ran the bike with and without NOS, and we found the bike had to have some lean spots taken out and richened up to allow more Nitrous Oxide to flow.
The bike shut down the dyno when it reached 204mph in top gear, and about half way through the range, as the bike was faster than the dyno limits, so
all looks promising, providing we can get up to these speeds at Bonneville.
Steve was a great guy who spent quite a bit of time with Neil and myself while testing the bike and setting it up.
As we were departing his shop I spied a small project bike in the shop, which could be a good run around bike for us at Bonneville. And after Neil and
I checked it out, and some quick negotiation, we packed the bike up with the ZX14 and headed away.
After some very quick repair work on the mini bike and a few decals it was appropriately named "Lil Black Thunder".
That afternoon we went out to the airport and collected Andy Goodridge, from Te Awamutu, who decided to join us at the last minute. We picked up Andy, and
that evening we went off to watch Violet's nephew, Joe DeGuevara, racing at the Las Vegas Speedway “Bull Ring”. We had a few surprises, as the
announcer welcomed myself and the Black Thunder Racing Team from NZ, and wished us luck for Bonneville. Soon after that one of the local sports TV crews
did a quick interview with me about coming from NZ and racing at Bonneville. They then went on to interview well known US Drag racer John Force, who
attended the meeting. Later that evening a notice went up on the big digital display board, with the message "Welcome Black Thunder Racing from NZ, and
Good Luck at Bonneville!!". The message cycled over several times during the night.
Early the next day we finished the shopping we needed to do for basic supplies, and then loaded up the trailer for our Bonneville departure. With
the motorhome packed and the Kawasaki ZX14 in tow behind in the U-haul trailer we set heading on Thursday for Bonneville. It was amazing to see the
scenery and the long straight roads which went for miles and miles. We pulled in to Wendover around 6pm, getting a glimpse of the Salt Flats as we
approached the town.
The view of the Salt Flats at Bonneville brought about an eerie feeling, with the Salt Flats radiating so much history from the world of speed, and
the thoughts of the motorcycle speed heroes such as Bert Munro, and what they must have though on first sight of the large expanse of the Salt Flats.
After getting settled at the KO Camp Ground, we were greeted by a number of American racers going to Bonneville, all who were very interested in our
team from NZ, and many knew Burt Munro from his visits to Bonneville.
Friday morning and the alarm went off at 4am to make sure we got an early start to the Salt for technical inspection. A wave of concern came over us as
we drove on to the entry tack to the Salt Flats with several inches of water lying on the surface, which we had to take our motor home and trailer through
for some miles. Fortunately the water had subsided further in to the Salt Flats, and the organisers had elected to make two racetracks to replace the
previous three which had been affected by the flooding.
As we approached the "gathering area" we joined a longish queue for technical inspection. A couple of really friendly officials basically took us by the
hand to show us the procedures, and get all of our paperwork completed, and we then took the bike to technical inspection. There was a lot of interest in
the Kawasaki ZX14 Black Thunder, and ourselves with lots of people taking pictures of us.
We ran into a couple of issues in technical inspection, the first being we were re-categorised to run under MPS-F Category, which has a current record
of 214mph, so our sights of a lower record speed were washed away. Secondly, we were told that we had to put metal straps around the battery, as they
felt the factory retention strap was inadequate, so after a lot of asking around, Neil got a couple of hose clamps he put together to meet the
Bonneville Inspector's requirements. The final issue was we needed some engine class capacity decals made, so we had to modify some existing letter
decals into numbers, which Violet painstakingly carried out.
All was successful as we passed our re-examination of our ZX14 Black Thunder at Bonneville Tech Inspection. Thank you to Russ and Doug, our
technical inspectors, for being so helpful to our team. The final part was for the team and myself to get armbands, to give us admittance and
authorisation to race.
We decided to have the bike fuelled up and joined a queue of dozens of vehicles, where it took us almost two hours before we finally got our petrol
and had our fuel tank sealed, to prevent any additives being used. We found that I am not able to ride the bike back to our pit area, after my run,
so we now have to take our motor home and trailer up some 7 odd miles to pick up the bike while I cook in the heat.
Well, tomorrow our racing starts with our race briefing then rookie orientation, and then out to the 150mph qualification run!