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Author Topic: The Beltway Bandit  (Read 11726 times)
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LittleLiner
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« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2008, 12:22:54 AM »

It is about 350 driving miles from Rosslyn, Virginia to Laurinburg North Carolina . . . mostly on Interstate 95.  At 1:30 p.m Thursday I’ve loaded my limited tool set (Leatherman, small emergency tool kit from Michelin, jumper cables, two quarts of oil, one roll of pink duct tape, one oil rag, one small flashlight, tow strap, AAA auto club card and two dozen tie wraps).  Clothing-check.  Helmet-check.  Money-check.  Camera-check.

The Bandit runs fine, a little rain is not that big a problem and by 8 or so I am at the Hampton Inn in Laurinburg.  I notice two LSR bikes from Indiana on a trailer and that Ranchero race ‘car’ from Canada in the parking lot.  This confirms that I came on the correct weekend.  Don’t laugh . .  it happens.  Milestone 1, complete. I got here.

Friday morning still raining but forecast to clear.  Spend five hours on the laptop doing stuff for my day job.  Around 2 p.m. head over to Maxton to register and get the car tech inspected.  Tonya does the paperwork and Keith does the inspection.  No problems.  Life is good.  Milestone 2 – check. 

Driver orientation at 5 run by Keith with some additional words of wisdom from Joe.  A couple of first time spectators from New York tag along to here the orientation.  They ride along with me in the Bandit during our tour of the Starting line, the traps and Shutdown.  Nice guys,  I haven’t even made a run and I have a fan club.  I’ve done this orientation before as a lurker/spectator but this time it is for real.  I am actually paying close attention.  Telling self to focus so I don’t screw up tomorrow.  Milestone 3 – check.

Saturday – Arrive at track on time before 8 (rare for me to be on time).  Drivers meeting around 9 or so.  Good crowd.  This is also the special Super Street Bike Event.  Lots of bikes, appears to be even more than usual. 

Meeting over , . . . drive to starting line.  At Maxton there are three staging lanes.  I am about 10 rows back.  Mill around, talk to a lot of folks, some new friends, some old friends.  History Channel is doing a documentary on motorcycles.  They drag their camera and sound equipment from one bike team to the next.  They don’t seem to care about the Bandit even though it is a Suzuki.

We edge forward.  It seems to take forever but the ECTA is running the event like clockwork.  No delays.  I am now about three rows back.  Time to put on the helmet and buckle in.  Assistant starter checks my belts and helmet.  I am now in the first row.  I get flagged to move to the on-deck position.  There’s a bike on the starting line.  I watch the starter as he handles that biker so I know what to expect.  The bike launches.  The starter motions for me to pull to the starting line.  I’ll be underway in less than 45 seconds.  Mental checklist –  water temp? - looks good, fuel pressure? - good, oil pressure? – I really need to hook up that gauge.   I will limit this run to a max of 7000 rpm and be ready to back off if there is even a hint of a problem.  I remind myself that this car has never been over 85mph and I have no idea if it will have problems at speed.  I also remind myself that the transmission is fragile.  And I remind myself that this car has to take me home.  It is only 45 seconds but seems much, much, much longer.  The starter is talking on the radio.  He points to me and gives me the gesture to be sure my visor is down.  It already is but I move my hands to make it look like I am lowering it anyway.

He steps out of the way and gives me the signal to go.  The track is now mine, all mine . . . .

« Last Edit: January 06, 2009, 07:38:02 PM by LittleLiner » Logged

ECTA H/BFSS Maxton Record Holder (Sep 2008)
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« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2008, 04:26:45 AM »

..what is this an ad break?the suspense is killing me......you left off ..." afterthe break....."
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« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2008, 01:48:56 PM »

The first eighth of a mile or so at Maxton is actually part of the old taxiway leading to the original runway.  Then there is a very slight (very, very slight) ‘bend’ to the right to put you on the actual runway and from there it is straight through the traps and beyond for another three eighths or so to short shutdown. If you need to ‘go long’ to stop there is another slight bend to the right as you pass short shutdown.  Overall the track length from starting line to the end of long shutdown is about 1.9 miles.

This was taken before I pulled up to the 'on-deck' spot.  You see a car on the starting line and the bike between us is on the on deck spot.  I was next after the bike.

now to pick up where I left off . . . the starter signals for me to go.  I ‘launch’ smoothly and run it up through first, not watching the tack but watching for the first bend.  Now I am in second and the car is really pulling well, turbo is spooled up and I see that I’m passing seven grand on the tach.  Smooth shift to 3rd, still pulling well, boost gauge about 8 psi . . car is stable . . feels really good. . watch the tach . . here comes 7 grand . . 4th gear . . nice shift.  Woooo . . . she really noses over in 4th.  Note to self – try to get well over 7 grand in 3rd before the shift to 4th.

All is Ok. . engine is pulling, rpm is climbing.  Didn’t expect to have so much speed sensation at around ‘only’ 100 mph.  Seems a lot faster than I expected it to feel.  Orange cones ‘going by’ really fast.  Relax . .keep head in the game . . . . track seems really narrow all of a sudden. . .  major ‘tunnel vision’. . . here comes the traps . . past the last marker . . what did Keith say about smooth transitioning from fast to slow?  Out of the gas,  Gentle on the brakes.  Short shutdown coming up faster than expected . . harder on the brakes, down shift again, steady and smooth through right hander to go off track at short shut down.  Thumbs-up to shutdown volunteers as I pass them. 

Slow down for the pits, pull up to impound (it is a open record class), set turbo timer for one minute, remove helmet and try to look calm and cool as I walk over to get time slip.  Bandit sitting there just idling.  After one minute it shuts it self off.

The speed is 114.92328.   This is great news.  It’s a record.  I have not screwed up.  The car still has a lot more left to go faster.  No point in changing classes.  114mph won’t break any of the other Super Street, or Gas Coupe or Altered Coupe Records for classes this car could fit. 

I head back to the starting line.  Next goal – get this speed up to over 125 to get my D license and bump the record to a ‘respectable’ level.

Life is good.  I am now a Land Speed Racing Veteran, I hold a Record.  I imagine that somewhere John Beckett is smiling.  Thanks John, thanks ECTA.   

What I did not know . . what nobody then knew, was that we would suspend racing before my next round.  At about 11:04 Dave Owen would crash at speed while I was in the staging lanes.  Racing would not resume until almost 3 p.m.  At 3:10 the Bandit is on the line and I make a strong, clean, run.  I still note that I should take it to over 8 grand in third to help prevent that big lag after the 3 to 4 shift.  Even so I get a good 126.450 to make the new H/BFSS record a respectable one.  I also qualify for my D license. 

I pay the fee and switch to H/BGSS. (current record held by Tom Bruch at 123.292)

Run 3. . . I miss the 2-3 shift - Big Time.  Note to self, find somebody that can drive this thing!  Although I recover pretty well, a really good run ends up only netting 119 mph.  Not good enough to bump the record.

Run 4 . . .Good launch, perfect shifts pulling 8 grand in each gear . . . then the power falls way off.  Can't accelerate in 4th.  Did the turbo fail?  Well almost. . the intercooler plumbing popped one of the connections resulting in zero boost.  Speed is only 101mph and change.  Time to call it a day.  Tighten the clamps and drive to the motel.

Sunday – Run 5 will be a test run shifting at 7 grand to see if the repair has worked on the intercooler.  Smooth run with a speed of 112.  Nothing breaks.

Run 6 . . . This will be the money run.  I am ready to pull 8 grand in each gear.  It starts as a near perfect run.  Then at about the Three Quarter mile I think I run over something.  I can see something bouncing on the track in my rear view mirror.  The power falls off just like the day before.  I slow and abort the run coasting through the traps and pull to the right – that's the signal at Maxton that there is a problem on the course but no need to send crash rescue because I am alright (Alright? - then pull to the right).  The car seems to be OK, brakes and steering are fine, no flat tires, so I drive down and take short shutdown exit.  Jump out tell Ken to tell the tower that there is debris at about the ¾ point. And I see that half of the intercooler plumbing is gone.

Track safety finds the missing piece and I have it returned to me in impound.  A little scratched and dented but usable.  A couple of biker guys help me by fixing the damage and I am good to go.  I decide not to risk another problem and leave for home.

350 miles later I arrive with no problems at all.  Average gas mileage coming home 33 miles per gallon.

What next for the Bandit?  I don't know . . .   When I do I'll post it here.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2009, 07:43:29 PM by LittleLiner » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2008, 01:55:03 PM »

Good job LL, and a nice report. Congrats to you.  smiley
 cheers
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« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2008, 08:47:20 PM »

congrats  grin
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« Reply #20 on: September 30, 2008, 12:06:06 PM »

LL, watch out -- or you'll have campaigned and been nominated to be our Maxton correspondent for landracing.com.  Nice reporting, good photos, fun story.  Good work!  Thanks, too.
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« Reply #21 on: September 30, 2008, 12:47:24 PM »

LL, watch out -- or you'll have campaigned and been nominated to be our Maxton correspondent for landracing.com.  Nice reporting, good photos, fun story.  Good work!  Thanks, too.

Thanks Jon.  Me missed you guys this weekend.  It was a good weekend for a lot of individual efforts . . but . . . keeping it in prospective was the oh so sad loss of fellow racer Dave Owen.  Times like this make you realize that it isn't the record speeds or the unique vehicles or the superb racing that makes Maxton so great . . it's the people.
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« Reply #22 on: September 30, 2008, 08:20:09 PM »

Hey LL it was nice talking to you this weekend in staging. I wish I would of had more time to talk and come check out your car but as you know I was thrashing on my pile all weekend trying to get in a good pass.
If you come next spring I'll probably be there and hopefully we can talk more in depth about the cars or whatever.

 Mike Reichen

P.S. that was an excellent story
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« Reply #23 on: September 30, 2008, 08:56:56 PM »

. . . . as you know I was thrashing on my pile all weekend trying to get in a good pass. . . .

Thanks Mike . . . I'd have to say your thrashing paid off.  Top speed of the meet for cars and two new records over 220mph.  Impressive.  Not bad for a 4 cylinder, four door 120 ci street car.   cool
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« Reply #24 on: October 07, 2008, 06:58:54 PM »

. . . . as you know I was thrashing on my pile all weekend trying to get in a good pass. . . .

Thanks Mike . . . I'd have to say your thrashing paid off.  Top speed of the meet for cars and two new records over 220mph.  Impressive.  Not bad for a 4 cylinder, four door 120 ci street car.   cool
Con grats two both.You two had alot of people rooting for you.
terry
« Last Edit: October 08, 2008, 06:26:03 PM by t russell » Logged
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« Reply #25 on: October 08, 2008, 06:39:16 AM »

Hello LL,  If you get LSR withdrawal give me a call.  Sounds like your close by, I'm 20 minutes east of the beltway (Rt.50).  Our small group has five cars, 2 have records at Max/Bville, 1 hopefully ready for Max to test later this month and 2 under construction.

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« Reply #26 on: October 12, 2008, 04:59:43 PM »

Oct 6th - After problems with the intercooler piping coming undone at Maxton I did a little research and concluded (well duh) that the water hose screw type clamps really suck.  Ordered some T-clamps.


Oct 7th - Part of the deal when I bought the Bandit was that after I ran it I would have to decide if I would stay with the Bandit as my racecar and sell all my other Gas Coupe stuff, or sell the Bandit.  Since this car is more marketable (it's together, runs, titled, etc) I decided to bite the bullet and put it up for sale.  That night I put it on ebay.  Item number 280274907831.

Oct 9th - With a flashlight and a piece of old carpet to lay on, I crawled under the Bandit and swapped out the five clamps with the newly acquired T Clamps.  That should be good for another 20 mph.  (yeah right) grin

Oct 12th - two days left in the ebay auction.  So far no bids.  I started the entry bid level pretty high so (if there are any bids) I expect all the bidding will come in the last 5 minutes Tuesday night.  So far nearly 1000 hits on the ad and about 30 people have put it on their watch list.  Who knows, stayed tuned . . . .

« Last Edit: October 12, 2008, 05:02:40 PM by LittleLiner » Logged

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« Reply #27 on: January 06, 2009, 07:25:51 PM »

Well boys and girls, it seems there is some sort or recession/depression thing going on  . . . and  . . no . . I didn't sell the Bandit . . I didn't want to give it away and no one wanted to buy at my price, . . so it looks like for 2009 I will again be running the Suzuki Swift at Maxton (yeah I know this is posted under the Bonneville Build Diaries but there ain't a Build Diaries area for ECTA).  Right now I am using it as a driveway protective device to prevent bird-dirt from marring the pavement.

This weekend I'll begin work on changes for the first meet at Maxton.  The plan is to 'enhance' the body to make it 'legal' for Competition Coupe.  Why?  Well there are two records at Maxton just begging to be broken.  H/BFCC at 90.271 and H/BGCC at 90.271.

In spite of the total lack of mechanical and driving skills in my team (that would be me) the Bandit has already exceed a buck and a quarter at Maxton. 

So the question is - should I modify the body with a "full belly pan" or lengthen the body the appropriate amount to transform the little Swift into a 'bow knee fyed' Comp Coupe?  Which will it be?  The rules say how long the body must be extended but are not all that clear about how wide and tall the extension has to be.  I am thinking about a removable "cow catcher" thing that will bolt up to the front end.  Not trying to win 'best appearing car', just want to be legit in the class.  Visualize electrical conduit with pop rivet mounted aluminium dressed up with duct tape.
First photo - Without mods . . .


Second photo - Cow catcher


Third photo -Fab some brackets and move the front bumper out
 and fill the space with a fairing (the air-intercooler would not be moved
out like this mock-up)


Anybody out there have any photos of others that have made this type of mod?   I recall a 50s Buick running something like this but can't locate a photo . . . . . . . .
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« Reply #28 on: January 07, 2009, 11:26:36 AM »

I think for Maxton I'd put a 2 or 3-inch PVC pipe 18'' out of the hood, tape the hood seams and call it a Comp Coupe.

Stan
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« Reply #29 on: January 07, 2009, 06:32:53 PM »

I think for Maxton I'd put a 2 or 3-inch PVC pipe 18'' out of the hood, tape the hood seams and call it a Comp Coupe.

Stan

+1   

But can you modify the rear end, that should give you a bigger increase in aero I would think.  Coroplast Kammback?   grin
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