Another test run produced the same results-the first two shifts were fine, then nothing. Time was beginning to become an issue, so we decided to do our top speed runs without the air shifter. It wasn't until the end of the day that Sims discovered the culprit: because he was using nitrous to pressurize the air shifter cylinder, it was freezing up after a few shifts, preventing even manual shifting. It wouldn't take long for the cylinder to thaw, thus the reason why it seemed to work later.
The trick to getting a good speed run at the HPCC oval is getting a good drive off the "corner" onto the straight. At 60 mph, the oval's four corners are leisurely bends, but at 150 mph, they are corners taken at some real lean angles, requiring some skill to get that drive onto the straight. On my first run to get a feel for things, I got a decent drive onto the straight, and kept it pinned into almost 10,000 rpm in fifth gear before shutting down due to a persistent weave. As I cruised back to the pit, Sims and his crew were excitedly hugging each other; it turned out I went 213 mph...on my first warm-up run.
The windsock above our pit...
The windsock above our pit stall on the HPCC oval tells it all. High winds forced an end to our top speed testing before we could better the initial 213 mph run.
I figured there was easily more to come. Unfortunately, the desert winds started picking up by the afternoon, and even though I was getting better drives onto the straight and turning more rpm than before, I was unable to better that mark. The 25 mph sidewinds were causing enough aerodynamic resistance (in addition to instability) that the rear tire was spinning, which was why the rpm was higher but the speed was slower. In fact, on my last four tries, I could actually smell burning rubber as I hurtled along at 205-plus mph. Attempting to use nitrous would've only caused the tire to spin more (as well as possibly introduce more instability), so we held off using it.
We retreated back to set the bike up for dragstrip runs, but more problems conspired to shoot down those plans. Despite the bike's immense power, Sims didn't have short enough gearing for the quarter-mile; I was barely getting into fourth at the traps. The lack of air shifter made accomplishing the first upshift off the launch very difficult, and precluded any nitrous use; and then the clutch decided to give up the ghost after four runs. Not how we wanted to end the day-but we got an early taste of its potential.
I'll Be Back...
The Sims Motorsports crew...
The Sims Motorsports crew (left to right): Ryan Sims, Hayabusa.org's Kent Collins, Bazzaz Performance's Ron Thibodeaux, John Voter, and Richard Sims.
A close look at the studio shots of Sims' bike shows how much work went into its construction-this is definitely not some-thing hastily cobbled together. And anybike that can go 213 mph on a lazy warm-up run with no nitrous leaves us wanting more. So we'll be getting Sims to bring his bike back for another try in the near future. Stay tuned.