THF Shines in the Sun at AMRA Finals
September 27-30, 2012 – Another bittersweet weekend…sure, we love to go to Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky, but the September event means the end to the AMRA season. Sigh.
It rained off and on Thursday, but we were okay with that because it meant that the weather had a better chance of moving out of the area for the race weekend.
As many of you know, we’ve been struggling with our carburetor since we rebuilt our motor after that fateful blowup back in 2010. We were over-carbureted and we knew it. We were finally able to switch our S&S Super G to a Super B during our off-time in August and September. We tested it out numerous times at our local track, Milan Dragway in Milan, Michigan, but something was amiss with that carburetor, so our super good friend and mentor, Super Nate of Super V Cycle, joined us in Bowling Green and hooked us up with a super Super B. We had to start back at Square One, so we truly needed the Friday Test session to work on our combination and dial the carb "in".
Nature, of course, had completely different plans.
By the time the rain stopped Friday afternoon, there would not have been enough time before dark to both dry the track AND get a couple of hours of testing in, so they called it. Needless to say, we were disappointed when weather cancelled the test and tune session originally scheduled for the late afternoon. We needed that session. We took solace in the fact that Super Nate was there to help us get the Super B dialed in during qualifying (not an easy thing, as many of you know), and enjoyed our evening of catching up and visiting with our track family.
It was a huge turnout, too. Not only were there a lot more bikes than usual, but spectator turnout was bigger, too.
We were also sharing the track with the NDRL – Nostalgia Drag Racing League – this weekend. They were fun to watch blast down the quarter mile!
A thunderstorm passed through during the night, and Saturday morning greeted us with some blue sky and sunshine. There would be time for only two test passes before qualifying, and we knew it was going to take more passes to get the carb dialed in. We were able to run an 11.447 on our first run. We turned the launch down a bit on the second pass and was only able to clock an 11.696.
We weren’t ready, obviously, for our first qualifying pass – for SE (11.50) – but we modified the jetting and gave it our best shot. We ran too fast, breaking out with an 11.453.
We made another jet change, launched harder, and ran an 11.377 at 116.89 (remember this number, you will see it again…) for our first qualifying round of PE (10.90). We knew the bike had more, and we knew Super Nate would find it. We changed nearly all the jets for our next qualifying round – this time for “E” class – and ran an 11.123, and we had our best 60 foot of the day: 1.564. And, still, we knew it had more. We made more changes to the bike, then turned down the launch and lowered the shift points for the second qualifying round of SE (11.50) with Heather Van Fleet in the next lane. Unfortunately, there was a malfunction in the tree, so they both had to quickly come back for the rerun (even though AMRA was ready to run the PE bikes). So we had to wait for one more run to see what our latest changes would yield.
In that re-run, Chip got the hole shot and cut a .002 light against Heather. Chip knew he was on a great pass, too, so he sat up and made himself wide at the traps and, even though we expected to slow down enough to qualify for the 11.50 field, he went faster yet and ran an 11.423.
We turned everything back up for the 2nd round of 10.90 qualifying. We had a great 60-foot – 1.574 (we’ve been struggling at 1.7-1.8 sixty foots all season long), and clocked an 11.096 at 116.89 (remember that number?) miles per hour. Awesome.
Knowing we could do better, we kept experimenting with jetting and our next three passes – two back-to-back runs for “E” class and then one SE run – were “misses.” On the last qualifying pass for SE (11.50), we only managed an 11.94 – at least it wasn’t another break-out, but we knew with the number of racers here at this event (there were 30 or more in the SE class alone), that it would NOT be good enough to qualify for the 16-bike field. Time to turn everything up and go balls out for the last run of the night – the final qualifying pass for PE (10.90).
Chip got the hole shot on Donnie Huffman in the last round of qualifying (Chip’s .105 to Donnie’s .225). We ran an 11.058 at 116.89 (sound familiar? This is the exact same mph as we had twice already today.), with another great 60-foot (1.564). We were hopeful this would be good enough to get us into the 16-bike PE field.
We did make the show for the PE (10.90) class at #12. We did not, as expected, qualify for SE (11.50), but we did manage #2 alternate. Sometimes the alternates DO run, we’ve done that route before, so we planned to be ready to go should the opportunity arise.
For the rest of Saturday evening we enjoyed the Nostalgia cars, visited with our friends, and rested up for the big day.
Sunday morning met us with an overcast sky and some blanketing fog, which dissipated rather quickly. We had time for two test passes and we made one jet to accommodate the changes in weather conditions, then went out and ran an 11.053 at (are you ready for this?) 116.89 mph. Yes, that’s right, 116.89 miles per hour for the fourth time this weekend. No kidding!
Our second test pass was… well... let’s just say uneventful. We may have even gone 116.89 again. Unfortunately, Chip left before the tree was activated, so we had no time. Better here in testing than later during eliminations J.
Our first round of eliminations was in “E” class, and we once again faced the formidable Roberta Seaman. Roberta dialed a 10.90, and Chip dialed an 11.03. We dropped off a little and ran an 11.108. Roberta had cut a good light (.061) and got the hole shot on Chip, but Chip got the win against Roberta’s 11.071 (he was closer on his dial).
Between the first round of “E” eliminations and the first round of PE (10.90) eliminations, we decided to bite the bullet and change sprockets. We had hopes it would help, even if for just a little, to get us closer to the elusive 10.90.
The sprocket change took us a little bit backward, and Chip was only able to run an 11.178 to B. Burris’s 11.166. Oh well, better luck next time. It was a great race to watch, though, and it was pretty close all the way down the quarter mile. Ready for the kicker? Yup, we clocked 116.89 mph AGAIN. How many times is that? Six. Wow.
Team Half Fast would like to thank Jayne and Marty Vandenheuvel and the American Motorcycle Racing Association (AMRA) for another stellar season of racing with “The Most Awesome Harley Racers on the Planet Earth”! We’re looking forward to the 2013 Racing Season. We can’t wait to begin it again. Is it Spring yet?
See you at the races!!!
- Team Half Fast
Team Half Fast uses DEI Titanium Exhaust Wrap with LR Technology