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2015 Bike & Sled Championship at Winterport Dragway

I was asked to do a write-up describing my 2015 drag racing season which culminated with the overall point’s championship in the Bike & Sled class at Winterport Dragway.  Drag racing was something I had always wanted to try but I didn't take the plunge until mid-summer last year (2014.)  I decided to use my street conversion (based on a 1976 Suzuki GT550 which I had ridden on the street for about 5 years) as the basis for this project.  The street bike used a 72V SepEx system with D&D motor, Sevcon controller and 100Ah Thundersky batteries.  Needless to say, this was not the hot setup for the strip!

For the motor I used a surplus ADC 6.7" 4-brush motor I had in the basement waiting for a project like this.  I chose the venerable Z1K (Zilla) controller and a 72S2P pack of 100C LiPo "Sleeper" cells from Lonestar EV Performance.  Recognizing that the motor was the weak point in the system, I started at 500A and slowly increased output, racing the rest of 2014 at 800A.  The last event of the year I went to 1000A and promptly had a plasma event.  Someone came up to me and said "you know there sure were a lot of sparks coming out of that thing mid-track!"  Along the way I learned that I needed to strap the front end, add swing arm extensions, cut down the seat and install a 4" slick.  I was told that people enjoyed watching my runs as I fought wheelies and mid-track spinning on my path along the learning curve.

My winter project list included cutting down the seat tubes, installing short struts, clip-ons and a surplus GE 7.5" motor obtained through the generosity of Lawless Industries.  I rebuilt the motor, having the commutator turned and fitting new bearings, obtained a set of Helwig H49 racing-grade brushes from another motor which I machined to fit and advanced brush timing.  Initial performance wasn't great because the brushes weren't shaped very well.  It took a lot of time with garnet paper and spinning at 12V to make sure the brushes were well seated.

Bracket racing is won through consistency, in both machine and rider, but we all like to go fast.  I made a conscious effort to only make one change at a time, typically running a "test & tune" pass after competition for the day was finished, and I would then use those settings for the following week.  Before long I was at 1000A and 180V for motor settings.  As machine performance improved, my riding improved as well, although I did see a few red lights along the way.

Part of being consistent is just showing up.  I attended 13 of 15 events this year and won races in 10 of those outings, including 3 event wins and 2 runner-ups.  Field size fluctuated week-to-week and was anywhere from 6-20 racers.  

Motorcycles and snowmobiles (and sometimes ATV's) race together and there are typically more sleds than bikes.  Competition was pretty fierce with the fastest motorcycle using a slider clutch, 2-step and auto shift setup for consistency.  Snowmobiles are also extremely consistent with their centrifugal clutches.  Several of the racers have been drag racing 30+ years.  It's not unusual to have 3 or 4 women in the field.  EV's can be very consistent but no more so than snowmobiles or the motorcycle described above.  One of the few hand-clutching riders is bringing back his modified (and feared - don't laugh!) HondaMatic next year.  He's won championships at several New England tracks on this slower but very consistent machine.

Supporting NEDRA's mission, I wanted to show folks that good EV performance is possible.  My personal goal was to break into the sixes and top 100 mph at the 1/8-mile track.  Ultimately my quickest time was 6.670 seconds, fastest speed was 112 mph and I reset the DMC/A record to 6.750 seconds.  I have plans to make further modifications over the winter and think I can run low 6's next year.

Last race of the year:

Trophy received at the year-end banquet:

Time trial earlier in the year: (the dial-in card says "Gil", in honor of one of our racers who had just lost his daughter in a car accident)


Here is a video clip from True Cousins team in Sweden, and here is the write
up to follow this video:
The Sliver Bullitt Electric Drag Bike has officially set their best time, and
so far the fastest in Sweden @ 5.19sec in the 1/8 mile, gaining them a
highlight in the news in Sweden!  Good job guys! Videolink:

Follow this link to an article:

  • Amazing pictures of Jeff Disinger's Electric Bike's speed run at the Ohio Mile Sept. 26th - 27th...That blue hue coming from the bottom rear was a combination of the electric motors nearly frying, and because of the copper and humidity despite having to replace the motor, it made for an awesome picture.  Let Jeff tell the story and he'd say, "...It's that  Power Glow!"  He had a 173 MPH recorded run, but his on board GPS speed tracker logged 178MPH! Awesome job Jeff!

  • World's fastest female motorcyclist Eva Håkansson: 'I'm on a quest for 300mph'

    'It’s not the speed that gives me the thrill - it's the joy of doing something that no one has ever done before'

    Eva Håkansson earned her current title as the world's fastest woman when the KillaJoule – an electric cycle she designed and built herself – reached 241.9mphEva Håkansson earned her current title as the world's fastest woman when the KillaJoule – an electric cycle she designed and built herself – reached 241.9mph

    Eva Håkansson is the world’s fastest female motorcycle rider, but the 34-year-old Swede isn’t resting on her laurels. “My goal is always to be faster,” she tells The Independent. “I’m on the quest for 300mph, but many things can go wrong.”

    Håkansson earned her current title on Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats in September last year, when KillaJoule – an electric cycle she designed and built herself – reached 241.9mph in the official race on the densely packed salt pan.

    The US-based mechanical engineer was hoping to hit 300mph in KillaJoule this weekend, but flooding on the flats forced the cancellation of racing. Her next opportunity to write herself into the record books will take place between 12 and 16 October at an event called the Bonneville Shootout.


    Eva Håkansson is currently studying for a PhD at University of Denver

    The KillaJoule, a bright red, cigar-shaped projectile, has had a number of modifications since last year’s run. “It’s always a work in progress so there are some upgrades in horsepower and there is less drag,” explains the University of Denver PhD student. “All that makes the computer say that it will go 300mph.”

    Håkansson appears to inhabit a glamorous world, an image confirmed by her appearance in the latest ad campaign for Johnnie Walker, alongside racing driver Jenson Button and actor Jude Law. But she insists “it’s not the speed that gives me the thrill”; rather it’s “the joy of doing something that no one has ever done before”.

    The real pleasure comes from the 360 days she spends building high-speed vehicles in her garage; the five days of racing are “mostly quite stressful as that is when you prove your work”.

    Håkansson has two main reasons for breaking speed records in an electric vehicle. First, to show that women make as good engineers as men and, secondly, to change the perceptions of eco-friendly vehicles. She describes her record attempts as “eco-activism in disguise”.

    “The general perception of anything that is eco-friendly and low emission is that it is really boring and you wouldn’t want an electric car,” she says. “My mission is to change that perception by showing that electric vehicles can be insanely fast.”

    Electric cars would fulfil the needs of “about 95 per cent” of the population, she adds. “I don’t think we will see electric long-haul trucks or electric commercial airplanes in a long time, but for daily driving electric cars are outstanding”.

    Håkansson and her husband, fellow engineer Bill Dube, get around in an electric car powered by solar panels on the roof. “It costs us practically nothing to drive and it’s running on sunshine.” 

    She is due to finish her PhD in about six months, at which point she hopes to convert her “high-end hobby” into a full-time career.

    In the US, and also in the UK, where only 6 per cent of women are engineers, “many people seem to think that some unknown, unfathomable force makes us unable to be engineers. I want to change that perception, because women make excellent engineers and little girls and older girls and women need to see that the tech sector is an excellent career choice.”

    She believes women may be put off Stem (science, technology, engineering and math) careers “because they think they can’t do it because they have been told all their lives that engineering is just for boys, and people accept that as some kind of undeniable fact”.

    Engineering runs in her family. Her father, Sven, was a Swedish road racing champion in the Sixties, who built and tuned his own machines. He also took a keen interest in electric-powered vehicles, developing Sweden’s first electric street-legal motorcycle, the ElectroCat, with Eva.


    The Killa Joule has a 375-volt, 10kWh battery pack has 56 cells; these are charged by a bio-diesel generator

    Håkansson’s mother was also an engineer – “the only female in her class” – as are her brothers. “Looking back at my childhood I realized I never really played with things. I was just always building things. I thought that was completely normal. I learned how to use a sewing machine when I was four. It wasn’t until I reached my twenties and thirties that I realized how unusual that was, and what a great education I’d had. All the foundation for my technical work comes from my childhood.”

    She describes the moment of setting a record as “like a great plan coming together, a feeling that you pulled it off”.

    But the run itself is a “strange mix of boredom, terror and magic”, she says. “When you surpass your record, suddenly you are in uncharted territory. You’ve never been this fast. Your bike has never been this fast and you just don’t know if it’s going to break or list or crash, and also it’s very claustrophobic. You are inside a little tube, a straitjacket, and it’s also very hot. You are in the middle of the desert. I have a speedometer, so I know how fast I am going and it is almost magic when it works. The world stops and afterwards there’s a big release.”

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