Bikestersby Fred Vosk / Actions & Adventure
IN RACING AND TECHNOLOGY
An adventure in racing and technology
created by: Fred Vosk
written by: Fred Vosk
storyboard illustrations by Lewis Pratt
racebike illustration by Art Rasmussen
web assistance by Dan Jones
publishing/editing assistance by Jack Troy
bikes envisioned and realized by Fred Vosk Design
original manuscripts transcribed by Sally Adolfson Vosk
Copyright 1995 by Fred E. Vosk
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this manuscript may be reproduced, transmitted, transcribed, stored in a retrieval system, or translated into any human or computer language, in any form or by any means whatsoever, for any commercial purpose, without the express written permission of Fred E. Vosk
PO BOX 393
Carnation, WA 98014
This free ebook may be copied, distributed, reposted, reprinted and shared, provided it appears in its entirety without alteration, and the reader is not charged to access it.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Superbike and the Chase at China Lake
Black Magic and the Super Geezer
Fireballs and Flamethrowers
Down on the Farm
Match Race of the Century
The Computer Wizard
Sea of Fire
Run What Ya Brung
Rocket Bursts and Burner Pops
Riding the Wind
The Chi-Town Kid
The Laboratory of Doctor Lucas
It's All Just Showbiz
Veteran racer, thrill seeker, acknowledged leader of the tightly-knit band. It's Terry's lighting-fast reflexes that keep the BIKESTERS on top of the match racing game and provide an ongoing challenge to go further, faster, higher.
Philosopher, Mechanic, Imagineer. The brains behind the bravery, Nitro's ideas and designs range from new propulsion systems to race vehicles "of interest" to the military.
Child prodigy, Mischief Maker, Hacker Extraordinaire. The BIKESTERS wouldn't be the same without TK's unrelenting curiosity, enthusiasm and determination. It's the reason his wheelchair presents little more than occasional distraction and the reason why Celeste is his real sister, even though they don't have the same Mom and Dad.
An attractive, street-smart twenty, Celeste's a willful and capable young woman who understands her responsibility to herself and others. As TK's foster sister, she single-handedly worked to provide for his upbringing and education after going out on her own. Now, at last, the best is clearly ahead.
A defiant, independent breed of bikers who stage impromptu match races throughout the Southwest. Bound by the unwritten Grunger code, this is one set of (almost) renegades that can't be judged by their covers...or the grease under their fingernails.
No, it’s not a typo. My name’s Nitro and this is my introduction for you to "Bikesters", a word which describes not only the motorcycle-dragsters which I designed and built with the help of my friends, but also the racing team members who first tested, mastered and maintained them. People like Terry, TK, Celeste, me of course, and, from time to time, even a young guy who went only by the name of "Nail", plus a couple old guys named "Jim", and "Ben".
This is their story, and mine, a wild adventure of racing and discovery through the fifty states, which began way back in the very beginning of the beginning, back when racing was still just a dare that you made to yourself and whoever else happened to be standing around at the time, and somehow, that always seemed to include Terr…
Terry and I hooked up together years ago, back when drag racing was just coming of age. For those of you who aren’t real acquainted with the sport, its two cars side by side from a standing start, and the point is to see who can get to the finish line first a quarter of a mile away. There’s timers at the start and finish lines, called clocks, in each lane, to tell you how quickly each car covered that 1320 feet, that’s called your "Elapsed Time", or "ET".
There are two more sets of timers, sometimes called lights or eyes, one set on either side of the finish line in each lane. They tell you how fast each car is going as it crosses the finish line, or your Top Speed. One other thing, a car can actually go faster, or even quicker then the car in the other lane, but still lose!
That’s because after the cars pull up to the starting line, they wait for a light to turn green, like a stop light on a street, before the race starts so if one driver is quicker off the line, has a better reaction time at the start he can win, even if he runs a slower race.
I’d already tried out several drivers in my dragster, but nobody was quite right. The partnership between mechanic, driver, and machine, is delicate at best. It has to be just right to get the maximum performance possible.
I put that first car together from just a pile of pipe and a bunch of odds n’ ends of engine pieces and stuff, and managed to turn it into a finely balanced, well tuned, racing machine. Terry picked up on that feeling right off: he and the car were one.
We won a bunch, racing around our home turf in Washington State at places like Arlington, Shelton and Bayview drag strips. Then it was off to Southern California to run top fuel at tracks like Lions, San Gabriel and Pomona, still winning a lot. We were plenty fast.
But then things started to change. It was costing more and more to race. We had all been getting a bit of help from the manufacturers you know, engine parts, tires that kind of thing. This helped us cover the expenses while they got their stuff tested and advertised at the same time, but soon, even that wasn’t enough to cover our operating costs.
The racers who wanted to stay at the top level of competition had to go to the big companies, the corporations, for sponsorships. We got a deal from a soft drink company that kept us running at the top for a while, but some of the other fast teams were starting to get really big bucks. That meant that they could show up at a race with a spare engine or three ready to go, and a ton of spare parts. They could pretty much run us right into the ground!
Unfortunately, most of the big sponsorships were coming from beer and tobacco companies, and we didn’t want to go that route. Terry and I both liked the idea that auto racing was a sport the whole family could enjoy.
We didn’t like the thought that kids would be coming around at the races or car shows and there would be the name of some beer or cigarette plastered all over our racecar and truck and trailer. It would even be on our shirts. We would probably have to wear those dumb little hats with beer logos on them.
Neither one of us goes out and lobbies for prohibition, but we didn’t think that would be a good thing to throw in the kids’ faces. So we eased off and decided to try something new. We started a business up north and discovered that our years in drag racing helped us a bunch.
Running a racecar and running it well, teaches you to be meticulous and watch over the details, which pays off big time in the business world. We did quite well, but we got bored. So it was back to racing, boats this time. It was plenty of fun, and again we were winning a bunch. We worked our way up through the classes to the top, the Unlimiteds.
But we found out once again that it was really expensive to race with the big guys, and once again the top dogs were starting to go to that same place for the bucks to be competitive, beer and cigarette companies. We just didn’t want to go down that road. So we got out of boat racing.
Terry decided to try daredevil stunts and after doing just about everything but blowing himself up with dynamite, he decided it might be getting just a mite dangerous. I kinda thought that from the start about the whole daredevil idea.
We made up our minds that we better get back to something we know. So it was back to our first love, Drag Racing. The new cars, top fuel dragsters and funny cars were really fast, but were also kind of smooth and predictable just not exciting enough for Terry’s taste.
He was kind of stuck on the old days: you know lots of tire smoke, noise and fire. You were never quite sure where the car was going. Terry liked to say: keeps you on your toes.
Personally, I found running the new generation top fuelers and funny cars a bit too corporate for my tastes. It’s a lot more fun for me when we can wing it a bit. I mean these new age racecars are all right … they’re just sorta … well, all the same.
So we gave up on those and tried fuel drag bikes for a while. They were real exciting, but not quite fast enough for Terry’s taste.
Then one day I was out in the shop, staring at one of our leftover top fuel engines that was sitting by a race bike and the thought occurred to me, why not combine the two? So we built a special bike frame, put the turbo-charged Chrysler hemi V-8 in it, and created SuperBike! It’s fast and exciting enough even for Terry.
Once we got it running, it took a little while to sort out. For a while there, it was just a bit too exciting. But in the end it all came together. We found the right combination! It’s been nothing but fun ever since.
The following story should get you started, should give you a pretty good idea of what really happened, who we are and how we first began. Everything from the formation of the team, to the discovery and development of H²O-S mechanics, and a few other tricks we came up with along the way.
Enjoy the ride!