Speed without limits is an elusive and compelling notion, there are always, it seems, rules. Freefalling has to contend with terminal velocity, while breaking 186,282 miles-per-second, supposedly the maximum speed limit at which anything can move, would overturn Albert Einstein's theory of relativity. Breaking speed records and going faster than the next guy is an intrinsic part of our hardwiring, from the first foot race by upright man, to spaceflight, it has played an integral part in our overall human development.
Pflum and Wagner Racing’s SCTA record setting Hondas
Jeannie Pflum and Jamie Wagner are among a very elite group of people that understand speed and breaking records better than most. They hold a number of SCTA (Southern California Timing Association) records for motorcycles. In 2010 at Bonneville they set the 1000cc Production Class record at 196.476 mph. The following year they reset their own Production Class record, and set the new 1000cc Special Construction Gas record at 186.050. This year they set the 1000cc Special Construction Fuel Class record at 186.542 mph. We spoke with Jamie Wagner to help set straight the definition of speed records and to give us some insights into what it takes to hang on to a motorcycle hurdling over salt flats at triple-digit pace.
Pflum and Wagner Racing ran 196.190 mph at El Mirage last year in the Production class, how does this differ from your Special Construction Class record in 2012 and what defines the various classes?
“Production Class means that the bike has to have the same features and 'look' of the representative bike as sold at the dealership with no optional accessories. The only exception to this rule is some components can be changed or removed for safety concerns. Mirror, signal lights, etc can be removed and the paint scheme can be changed.”
“When components are changed that make a production bike no longer legal, such as an aftermarket exhaust, [the bike would be placed] into the 'Modified' (M) class. Then, [with] further modifications such as purpose built frames, multiple engines, and others that exceed the Modified classification, [the bike would] move into the 'Special Construction' (A) class. Now in the “M” and “A” classes, [there] are two different Body categories; Partial Streamlining (fairings or aero aids forward of the rider) and Open Class (no firings or aero aids forward of the rider), there are engine categories [as well,] based on displacement, Blown (turbo or supercharged), and then [there is the] Gas Class (must use event gasoline) and Fuel Class (any fuels other than the event gasoline).”
“The 196.190 record is on a Production class bike. It was set on the Black 2007 CBR1000RR. The 189.984 Special Construction class record was set on the Red 2006 CBR1000RR that has had the fairings removed to fit into the Open Class rules and runs a small shot of Nitrous, which is what puts it in the Fuel Class. We also have the current record in the Special Construction Gas Class at 186.050 on the same 2006 bike without Nitrous.”
Jeannie Pflum, a Gynecological Surgeon from Santa Rosa, California is your rider; tell us a little about her riding background?
“Jeannie was a large part of the reason I built the first bike. I had worked with Jeannie’s father, Lee Gustovson. Lee has been the engine builder on the Seth Hammond’s Bonneville Lakester for many years. During the Bonneville World Finals in 2002, Jeannie drove the Lakester to a 302.179mph record. That put her as one of three women in the Bonneville 300mph Club. I have been helping Lee and Seth with the Fuel Injection and Data system on their cars since 1998. In 2007 Lee had asked if I might be interested in putting a bike together to run because Jeannie was interested in riding a bike at Bonneville.”
“I had been thinking about putting a bike together myself so the timing was right. I had been working with the Corona Honda AMA Road Racing team, and was able to pick up a bunch of the stock take-off parts and build the 2007 Production bike. That was when Pflum and Wagner Racing started.”
Jeannie Pflum has set multiple records aboard this 2006 CBR1000RR
What all goes into making speed runs and what sort of unique skills are required?
“Many of the challenges of Land Speed Racing are the same as other forms of Motorcycle racing; getting the most power and reliability possible from the engine and dialing in the suspension setup. The unique aspect to our form of racing is traction. We race on surfaces made of salt or dirt which make maintaining traction tough.”
“As far as riding skills, this type of racing is much less demanding than other forms of motorcycle racing, but it does require a lot of concentration and fair amount of courage. The unique aspect of Land Speed racing, especially at Bonneville, is the sustained speed over a long distance. On a typical pass, Jeannie will be traveling at speeds between 190 to 200 mph for 4.5 miles. At those speeds, a bike with full fairing gets to feeling very light, and can move around on the course a lot. You can be riding in a relatively straight line down the course, and a gust of wind can move you 20 feet or more in the blink of an eye. You have to kinda let the bike go where it wants and just make gentle corrections. Sudden or dramatic movements on the bike are something you want to avoid at [high] speed.”
2013 marks your 25th year of racing motorcycles, do you have anything special planned for next season?
“We are very excited about the 2013 season. After four years of racing out of our own pocket, on a very, very tight budget, American Honda and many other companies have come on board as sponsors to help us achieve our goals. We will be running at least one more Honda for the 2013 season. We also have a new engine program in development, CP Carrillo, Vance & Hines Motorsports and Web Camshafts are helping us with some updated pistons, camshafts and cylinder head work that should really make a difference in our performance for the 2013 race season. It’s important to note that during all those years, whether it was off-road racing, drag racing, or Land Speed Racing, I’ve always used K&N. They simply give you maximum performance without sacrificing engine reliability.”
Check out other fast reading land speed articles like K&N Air Filters Do the Job, New Motorcycle Records Set at Bonnevile and CBR 600RR and GSXR 1300 Set New Records
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