Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Most Influential Person in My Life

My Father,

Saying that has nothing to do with Motorcycles or Drag Racing, he did neither, I don’t think he ever rode a Motorcycle…But he had such a hard life becoming who he was that I can’t do anything but admire and love him very much…

Born in the State of Kansas when it was a time of hardship all over the Midwest, well before there was a Financial Crash, when a Dollar was worth just that and would buy Bread, Milk, and other staples that would feed you for three or four days, what made the hardship was earning that Dollar…Most jobs he had paid a Dollar a day at that time, but he continue to tough it out and feed his family…

As the years past and I grew into Manhood he taught me many things, he was an Auto Mechanic his whole life, his last years of work was for the School District repairing their School Busses…
After I became interest in Motorcycle Drag Racing he encouraged me in every thing I did at the start and through out my Career…He was so well like and known at Irwindale Raceway that when he showed up at the gate into the pits they would said to him, “Joe’s already inside go on in”…He was never charged to get in at Irwindale and he was there every day or night that I was testing or racing…He love to stand by the fence about the 1000 foot mark and would always tell me how the motor sounded when I past that point…

He’s been gone now for a long time but there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of my

Smitty, is what every one called him…

Monday, November 24, 2008

High Voltage Drag Bike

Sent to me by Aussie Baz.

-- High Voltage - Drag RacingBy,
Trevor HedgeConversation concerning electric powered vehicles is normally the domain of green groups and eco warriors but more recently there has been talk of environmentally friendly motorcycles in drag racing circles. The slightest mention of the words electric powered are normally enough to send just about any revhead into a slumber but a small group of American innovators are turning that around and leaving mouths agape wherever they go.The subject of their passion is not some sort of uninspiring electric scoot that struggles to reach 60km/h but a truly awe inspiring creation they have dubbed the ‘KillaCycle’. That aggressive name alone may not be enough to perk the interest of motorcycle enthusiasts, but mention these numbers and even the most skeptical will sit up and take notice: 0-100 in under a second and a standing quarter mile in 7.8 seconds. And no that isn’t a misprint. The Killacycle can hit 100km/h from a standstill in under a second and the only thing to be heard is some tyre and wind roar as this silent assassin disappears in to the distance. Drag strips are never going to be the same again...Denver based engineer Bill Dube’ designed and built the KillaCycle as a private project largely funded by himself although as the rate of success increases a few minor sponsors have come onboard to lend a hand. A123 Systems provided 1210 of their nanophosphate lithium-ion batteries that powered the machine to its first seven second pass last month at Pomona Raceway. The 85 kilograms of batteries hold enough charge to power the Killacycle to more than half a dozen 7 second passes. And the running costs? Around ten cents worth of electricity is all it takes to refuel the Killacycle and the latest Manzanita Micro charger has the recharge time down to five minutes. Picked your jaw up off the floor yet?While the proven 7 second potential of the Killacycle is amazing, it is still a long way from the 5.7 second world record set by Larry McBride onboard a conventional Nitromethane powered Top Fuel motorcycle. But Top Fuel motorcycles have had many decades of development, need engine rebuilds between runs and cost thousands of dollars in fuel for each race meeting and those costs are continuing to escalate. However in the field of battery power, costs continue to tumble and the rate of improvement continues to accelerate out of sight. That first 7 second pass was achieved not by a well funded major enterprise but is simply the backyard project of a guy that designs pollution measurement equipment for a living with an annual budget around $13,000 USD. That should give the drag racing fraternity a major fright and clearly signals the potential of battery vehicles should anyone put some serious money behind such a project.While the batteries used in the Killacycle are currently state of the art, the actual drive unit is a relatively archaic brushed DC motor. Effectively the KillaCycle is nothing more than a big cordless drill but you certainly can’t buy this one at Target! Plans are afoot to move to a much more modern AC motor and A123 Systems are working on the next generation of their nanophosphate cells that produce twice the amount of power per kilogram as the current Killacycle battery pack. A new frame, bigger wheelie bars and better rubber will be in order to contain the potential of the new power pack but clearly the sky is the limit for the KillaCycle. Given the resources of a regular professional Top Fuel outfit it seems only a matter of time before a battery powered drag bike will be able to run times comparable to a quality Top Fuel field and, when technology allows, perhaps even surpass their fire breathing brethren. How far away is the first battery powered GSX-R? Clearly it’s not just around the corner but that day might be closer than any of us imagine. Either way it is fantastic to see that even an end to fossil fuels will not spell the end for performance and man’s sometimes unhealthy obsession with racing.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Double Norton

This is Warren Afflick from down under sitting on TC Christensen's Double Norton at Indy.

This picture was sent to me by Warren and he says he is the good looking one on the bike. That's TC on the right.

Indy 1977, Fringer and TC

Here's a cool picture of Ron Fringer (no shirt) and TC Christensen hiding behind my Tour Truck. This was 1977 Indy, the last year of my Double and Ron was Riding for me.
Picture was taken by Yours Truly.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Grandson Mike

This has nothing to do with Motorcyles or Drag Racing, it's for my Grandson (Mike).

He build this Bug from the ground up...I can remember back a few years when he had the body pan on saw horses in the drive way making it look like it just came from the factory...You can buy all new stuff for those VW Bugs and that's what he did over a couple years putting it together from the bottom up...Has two complete motors, one stock and one all out get up and go...He still has it and babies it every time he drives it...I spent a lot of time towing it to different places in the beginning when he needed to take it to get something done he couldn't do...In the one picture you can see my Toyota pickup in the back ground, a thing I had been babying since new and got it wiped out by a DUI gal, hauled away in handcuffs, it still never replace what I lost until my Daughter and Son in Law, (Patti & Larry) gave me something even better...By the way he also did the painting, in the open, in the drive way...I couldn't believe how good it looked after he sanded it out and shot it with clear coat...You can't see it in the picture but there are sculls in the blue flames...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Video by Miss Becky

Here's a great Video sent to me by the Aussie Bazza.
Miss Becky does great work.

Historical Double Triumph

Here is a picture sent to me by Ivy. It's Boris Murray's great Double Engine Triumph and it's in his Garage in the old days, spent many an evening there with Boris and sometimes Gordon Kately...

Triumph back in Action

I just got this email from Bazza in Australia... As soon as I get a picture I will post it...

Jay Upton Australia, 1400cc 4V 4cyl Triumph. 6.29 228mph, it also uses a small parachute to stop. Jay said it kept the bike very stable.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


My Trip to SPEEDWORLD Raceway Arizona

It was a MDRA race on 11-8-08, Saturday. I had contacted MDRA and was giving credentials that could be picked up at the gate. I was to pick up Roy Strawn the past Director of the Original AMDRA. It would have been a great invite except for the circumstance of bad luck I had getting there. Roy and I hadn’t seen each other since the mid seventies and we were looking forward to the renew friendship and bench racing we both knew how to do well.
I left my home in Hesperia California, small community in the Victorville Valley in the High Desert at 1:30 PM on Thursday, with the idea of getting there a little early so we would have time to chat and bench race. I had a map from my computer that show just how to get to Surprise Arizona which was a small City between where Roy lived and the race track, about twenty mile separated the two. It will be the first time out of California for me since my Touring Days and I was looking forward to the drive, driving is one thing I’ve loved doing since I was 14 years old. The trip was on Interstate Highway 10 and everything went smoothly until I reached the area where I would get off the interstate to make my way to Surprise by using the Map. The first problem I encounter was that the Map didn’t show me that the directions was using streets and roads that were under construction, with many detours. And there weren’t many street lights and it was pitch black night time. The road I got off the interstate on was called 303 and I was to go left till I reach Bell Road, according to the map instruction that was about six mile and after going more than that I thought I miss it and turned around to look some again, I did this more than once on this road that was a mess and had lots of traffic, finely I called Roy and told him my trouble and he tells me Bell Road is about fifth teen miles from the interstate. (The reason I’m going to Surprise is to get a Motel Room).

I finally made it to Bell Road which was a busy road with a lot of business along the way. Looked just like the place to get a room, I went both directions for about five miles and didn’t see one Motel, by the way they are now called Inns. By now my Gas gauge is looking toward empty so I pull into a Station to fill up, while there this guy pulls in next to me for Gas and I ask if he could direct me to a Motel. He says to me with an ugly grin on his face that if I could find a Motel with a Vacancy with in a hundred miles I would be lucky. This was NASCAR weekend in Phoenix plus there was a big thing going on at the local Fairgrounds that happens every year. (Now I didn’t know about any of this). But he said if you go out Bell Road about 12 miles or so the other side of Phoenix you might find something. By my Speedo I drove sixteen miles and seen two Inns that were full up. I made trips on other main Streets looking, got lost many time, I mean many times, even went the wrong way on a one way street, boy was that a mess. By now I’m beginning to get very upset and disorientated because of the darkness.

There was no Motels in the area with a Vacancy, that finally sunk in. So I decided to head back to the interstate and head West away from the NASCAR race track looking for a Motel. I got back to 303 and headed for the interstate, now this road is being tore up to be redone, has numerous detours along the way and the speed limit is fifty MPH which is what I’m doing where possible. The Traffic behind me is beginning to get pretty heavy and they are starting to flip there lights off and on and ride my bumper so I pick up speed, the cars behind me began to peel off on side streets and the next thing I know there is a set of Red lights behind me, a Sixty Five in a Fifty was what the little piece of paper said. Now I’m really Pissed.

I get to the Interstate and head West, drove for over sixty miles and seen one motel, it is now after well past midnight and I pull in and go to the after hours window and ask for a room, yea I got one, check out time is 10 AM, I'm reaching for my wallet and he ask if I’m a Senior I say yes and he says our Senior rate is $92.00. Now that’s for eight hours, so back on the interstate and I say to myself FT, I’ll head for a Casino and do a little gambling instead.
As it was I ended up back home. I was on the road for twelve hours and drove 730 miles round trip. At least I got the driving out of my system. I know I and Roy might have upset some for not showing up but I couldn’t stay without a room of my own for that many days. Plus Roy was to ill to make the races and we didn’t have our much needed visit.

Next year it will be a AHDRA race and I will do my driving in the Day Time. That’s the third race I tried to get to this year and something happened each time. I’m two years shy of Eighty, I think next time I will leave my Leathers Home, maybe that’s what is causing all this bad luck or would that be good luck.

There was some comedy in my trip. This is kind of for the guys only.
When I stopped at one of the rest areas for a relief of bladder pressure I noticed there was a candy machine and it was after midnight and I figure some sugar would help keep me awake even thought I didn't get sleepy once during the trip. So I go over to the machine and it is inside a cage but still reachable, I put in my $1.25 and picked the candy I want and it fell in the tray. I have to reach my arm way it there to get the bar but got it. I put it in my jacket pocket and went into the restroom, standing there at the urinal and you know what a man does at the end of that little chore well I look down and there is blood flying every place. I'm glad I was the only one in there because I yelled out pretty loud "Oh my God" jumped back and looked down at my self and then at my hand and evidently I had cut the top of my hand on the candy machine and didn't know it. Man, what a relief, and then again I'm glad there was no one in there but me because I began to laugh, I couldn't hardly stop.

Granddaddy Joe Smith

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Amazing Fuel Bike

Just got this email from Bazza in Australia...
Jay Upton Australia, 1400cc 4V 4cyl Triumph, 6.29 228mph.
It also uses a small parachute to stop, Jay said it kept the bike very stable.
Here's Jay make another great pass on Video.

Drag Racing Film

Agreat Motorcycle Film. Featuring Vance + Hines Pro Stock Racing Team of 1980.

Staging and Auto Start

I watch every NHRA race on TV and when I first heard about the auto start I was curious how true that was....I sit one day watching and had a stop watch in my hand and when the Top Fuel and Funny Cars were running there was a few times that it took the second light ten to fifteen seconds to light and no red light....So I figure the Auto Red light can be controlled from either the starter or the tower....

I had a matched race with Boris Murray at the Old US 30 track and we got there early and was invited to the tower and while there we were ask what kind of times we wanted during the race....go figure....

It's not a Rule

Didn't say it was a rule, just that was the way it was to keep every thing fair, on the up and up between riders. I know the seven second rule was to stop burn downs, but it still happens with the first light....even to an extend with the second light, depends on the power of who the racers are....

NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle

Staging lights are made to keep the game far back as staging goes there has been racers trying to use them for an edge on the guy or in this case girl in the other lane....The first one to light a bulb is the one who is suppose to light the second set of bulbs first ....

I never liked the burn down, usually started by the one that lite the first light, you can usually tell if that is happening to you and the way to reverse and confuse the one that started it is to stage fast and turn it around on the other racer....

The race between Angie and Andrew, who stage the first set of bulbs and that will be the one that started the unfair advandage....Sometimes it backfires....

Monday, November 3, 2008

Wet Racing

This has nothing to do with Drag Racing but involves a good friend of mine who races on the water. This was at Lake Havasu AZ in 1995 at the IJSBA World Finals. Look at the name on the control bar. His name is Mike Yagel.
The picture was taken by Vic Stiles.

Gartlits Clutch Explosion

This is something that I think is very important to Motorcycle Drag Racing, it's when Big Daddy Don Garlits driving his front engine Dragster at Lions Drag Strip in California had a Clutch explosion that took off part of one foot. It started Big Daddy thinking more about a rear engine car. It was a time that change Drag Racing and brought more safety rules on the scene, even for Motorcycles. Also, a very interesting Video.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Ian Turboville, Drag Racing in the Snow

Ian Turboville,

I just enjoyed myself all the way though your test weekend and snowy pit side, great pictures and a very thermal wearing time had by all...Damn good MPH and ET times under the conditions...

Looking at the results I have to say you are a bunch of loyal Drag Racers, maybe just a little on the "Nutty" side but I thank you for letting me into your snowy weekend...

Marion Owens Double

Indy, 1977, looks like this Double is getting some major work, picture sent to me by Bazza.


Here a great shot of Lions starting line looking back toward the staging lane...

Famous Leo Payne


I seen Leo the following year, I don't remember what race it was but he show up as a spectator...At the time he was in hand held CB's, had about four of them on him...I had to turn my on in my tow truck so he could walk around and talk to me...He was there and then he just disappeared...Never saw him again...He had some personal problems that caused his exit from the drags...

Big Carls Double

Is this Big Carls Bike, 1977 Indy.... Sent to me from Bazza

Friend Joe Thronson

This is Joe Thronson Double at Indy, 1977. Another picture from Bazza.

Ferrari V4 Motorcycle

Ferrari V4, what next?

Picture sent to me by Bazza

About John Dixon


No, you're not wrong...I didn't know John well but seen some of his work and knew he was well before his time, similar to Clem Johnson of "Barn Job" fame...

If I remember correctly, John was a quiet kind of guy in "the day", didn't have a lot to say but his workmanship spoke for him...

We did spend some time together at the 06 Reunion but it seem to be mostly about me, but that's the kind of person he is, he didn't have a lot to say about himself...John and I do a little email back and forth and I know he is heavy in the computer field, I think you can expect something from him sometime down the line on that...

World's Fastest Bar Stool

This is a picture provided by Ivy, it's the worlds fast "Bar Stool"...

Catch Can Design

I don't know, it might be my design but there were a lot of States that you couldn't buy Coors...I remember when you could sell a six pack of Coors at Indy for $20.00.
There were two Brothers out of Denver that ran a Top Fuel Dragster, there Dragster Trailer had a false floor in it to carry Coors, it's was there nest egg for extra money to pay for trips to the races...They were in one of the Southeast States and was pulled over for speeding and when the patrol officer walked by the trailer he spotted something leaking out the bottom and could smell the beer odor...Well, the Brothers got a ticket for speeding and arrested for transporting alcohol across the state line, got the beer taken away, spent the night in jail and paid a whopping fine to leave that beautiful Southern State...

I hope I have that story right because every time I heard it, it was different...

Mr. Dixon's Top Fuel Harley

Just to let you know, this is one of John Dixon's many Drag Bikes...

It was a 103 C.I. with a billet aluminum bottom end with a solid crank and bolt on rods. Its hard to tell in the photo but the heads are offset about an inch to allow for the one piece crank and side by side connecting rod configuration...

Confirmed by John himself...
John's work was always outstanding...

Big Carl

Not a great picture, but it's Big Carl and Sam Wills...Gulf Port Mississippi...Another from Bazza...

Old Records

Here's an interesting 1982 list of information from Bazza...

Blower Bike

Left to right, Sam Wills, Big Carl, Mac, Marion Owens, Kenny Annesly...All standing out side Carl's shop in Oklahoma, looking at the Blown Harley Marion was experimenting with...

Picture sent to me by Bazza.

Big Mo

Here's Marion Owens behind the Blown Harley he was working on at one time.... Picture from Bazza...

Couldn't Think of Name

Yes, Bob George, I tried saying that"s who it is but couldn't remember the name, did it with some off beat explanation in an earlier posting...But I'm pretty sure that's who that is....He's the one that made the water cooled jackets on Knucklehead Cylinders, think he had couple motors in a liner that someone else owned back in the 70's....I remember this bike, but no details on how it performed....
He came to my house once asking me to donate and build a couple motors for Bonneville, wasn't interested though....He was kind of a secretly person, did a lot of gather information at the drags all the time, seem a likable person but if I remember his big thing was Bonneville....
His wife, a wild girl, sometime enter the ET Brackets at Irwindale on a Sportster, I think it was a Sportster....She use to sometimes miss a gear on a run and you could see her kicking the bike on the way to the shut off road, she really got mad...

Burn Out

Another picture sent to me by Baz, Joe Thronson, I believe he qualified Number One

77 World Finals

Here's a picture from Baz, taken at the 1977 World Finals...

Great Video

The only thing I've seen that matches the picture of the 5 second run is this Video of Tommy Grimes.

Front Brake

Yes, by the time AMDRA came along I already had a front brake, I remember reading when Al Viera was killed but didn't remember his name until now that I see it in print....You put a lot of smart safety rules in Motorcycle Drag Racing while the AMDRA was in effect...A credit to the way you handle things....I know all about hanging lead weight on, think I was the first to hang in on the front forks...

No Front Brakes

In those days no one ran a front brake, they didn't want to add the extra weight....It made it tough though, some tracks were pretty short back then and them old drum brakes were a problem....I tore the brake lining off many brake shoe back then untill they came out with the bonded ones....then went to the bonded center iron brake shoe and started exploding brake drums....Ah the good old days....

By the way Yags, don't think I ever seen a shop that looked clean enough to eat off the floor, WOW!!

A Good Friend's Nostalgia Bike


Picture sent to me by Mike Yagel. That's is cool, you did some find work putting that together, looks to me like it might be ready for some Nitro.....

A forgotten Name

Man, that's a name I forgot all about, Bob Braverman, I don't know why I should forget that name, now that I think about it he was at Irwindale every Saturday or Sunday they were open...I don't remember that race, it was probably when every body was running gas...It did say I won, that's good...

The Name Granddaddy

Yes, there was a few of us that wanted to be known as the "Big Daddy" of Top Fuel Motorcycle...But saying that would be stealing from "Big Daddy Don"...When I became a Grandfather at a very young age I felt it was my chance to say it another way...I felt I had did enough of every thing in the bike ranks to have that name more than anybody at that time....So, Granddaddy Joe Smith was born...
NHRA and the announcers at the National Events where I was doing Exhibitions for them picked it up right away...It actually started at Indy in 1974 when I won with the new Double. If I'm not mistake it was said on the Wide World of Sports at the end of the track on the final run...

My Racing Hat

Here's a picture of my new "going to the Drag Races" hat....

Nostalgia Bike

Here's a picture NitroFrankie sent me of his new Nostalgia Bike, waiting for a no rain weekend for test runs....

From Bazza

Another picture from Bazza, a 1929 500cc big port AJS.

Another from Bazza

Picture from Baz, English 500cc Rudge built in the 1920s.

Looking for Pee Wee Gleason

Some one had ask about getting hold of Pee Wee Gleason, don't know where he is but here's a Old Time picture of him.....Sent to me by Baz.....

Old Friend From the Past

Just got a call from old Friend, Marion "Mo" Owens. Had a great twenty minutes or so of some old bench racing and up to date "how are you doing".
Always great to hear that Okie accent of Big Mo....

Very old Video

Very Interesting....This is a link that is on my Web Site.....

Doc's Harley Davidson

I think you all know of Doc's Harley Davidson and Kersten his Daughter. They both ride Fuel Harley's at the Drag Races. Kersten Girl Fuel Bike Rider is a Link on my Web Site that takes you to their Dealership.

Coming up is the Harley Davidson 105th Anniversary Parade in Milwaukee. Doc decided he was going to ride in that parade and this is his creation for that ride....Four Engine, five passenger special Construction "THING".

Joe Smith Gaskets

Here's something from the old days.

Match Racing with Boris

Yea Boris,

We had a great time match racing across the country, had some hard times to.....We spent some time in KOA camps trying to cut cost but still managed to have that good time......put another steak on the Barbi......and I remember there was some mosquitoes big enough to put a saddle on......

Remember when we had to find out where the owner of the drag strip lived so we could get our money, he sure didn't expect us to show up at his door in the middle of the night.......Yea, those were the times......

Posting by my Daughter, Patti

OMG! Does this picture bring back memories....We had some good times hanging with the cooks and chambers. Those were the great day's... Adults dragracing and the kids soaking up everything...and spending time on the starting line... Back then, you could stand right behind the starting line and watch the races...Awesome experience! Wouldn't trade those days for anything... And the smell of the nitro back then..... butterscotch.....(nitro today, nothing like it..). I saw alot of great races, great dragracer's and great drag strips that are no longer around....Great memories....I was priveledged to be a part of it all. I'm glad that we can come to this forum. It's great reading and seeing all the pictures of the best years of drag racing... Gotta say a BIG THANK YOU to my Dad, Granddaddy Joe Smith for doing his thing and involving his family in something that we all loved doing... That was the best time Dadum's....
Patsy And get a look at those pants I was wearing.

Match Race, Yakima Washington

This was Yakima Washington, a match race with Boris. This is where they had us pit, right behind the starting line. This was a great time had by the Smith and Murray Family's. This track Wine and Dined us pretty good. Our match race brought in more Spectators than they had ever had. If you want to know who won the match, maybe Boris can tell us.......

Low Buck Racing

To show how low buck this trip was, here we are on a pee stop some place in Texas. King Rat was in the White Truck, Rat Too was in Cook's red truck and the trailer rig was Bill Chambers.

The Family's

I was rummaging though some old pictures and came across this one, I think I might have shown one similar before but these pictures bring back such good memories I couldn't resist. This was at Indy, 1971 when I won and Jim got runner up in Top Fuel Motorcycle.
Left to right, Little Billy Chambers, wife Pat, Janie Chambers, in the back, Bill Chambers, Beverly Cook, Jim Cook, my Daughter Patsy and the Cook Children

TC as young man

Here's a picture of my Old Buddy TC, sent to my by Warren Afflick.

Wow, TC looks almost like a Teen Ager here.

Boris Murray doing Burn Out

Warren Afflick sent this to me, it shows one of Boris Murray's few sideways run. They got the times right but take note to the motor description.

A Friend from Canada



At 54 you're OK, you don't become an Old Fart until you reach 60, (depending on your size) you're just "a big fart" getting older.

Pup like my racing shoes in the old days

Thanks, those were the best Knapp shoes you could buy, wore them every day to work. They had oil resistant soles which were good for around the service department.

Drag Racing in the Old Days

Talking about old, lets go back to the real old days. To show that I wasn't perfect all the time and got the sh*t beat out of me sometimes. How about the MPH by the winning bike

Boris ask who is the oldest

Some times being the oldest is being among the wisest. Being an "old fart" is what some think of you if you're not the oldest.
Still "kicken" is good for both. What really hurts is "what can't get up, don't get out".

Triple Engine Motorcycle

Here's a great Photo of Boris Murray on the Triple. Sent to me by Warren Affleck.

Percentage of Nitro


When I used PO I used it to help as an igniter only, I used 86 percent Nitro, cut with Alkie and 2 percent PO. Boris used 92 or so percent Nitro and was cut with all PO. My Harley wouldn't handle that much PO because of the lower compression ratio and the lower RPM range. Compression Ratio was 10.6 to one and the motor never turned more than around 5800 RPM.

Try the low percentage of PO and see if the motor is a little crisper and sharper sounding, if it is it should perform better.

The Barn Job Owner

Yes, you are right about the Barn Job being an impressive bike to look at. When Clem built the frame section that Incorporated the fuel tank right in the top of the frame it looked like Jewelry, it was the most amazing thing to look at. During the time we raced as a team I watched the things he could do with a lathe and mill and he was far ahead of his time in developing racing parts.

He machined the first set of billet pistons I ever ran and that was in the mid fifty's, the flywheels had to have added weight and I believe he used round pieces of Tungsten. He had moved his lathe to my garage and while we raced as a team I got to watch the first big change to the Barn Job and there were many more changes as the years went by, that bike was in the change mode much more than it ever ran down the drag strip. Interest point, the Vincent had a unusual Cam set up and no one made a race cam for it in those days, so Clem built his own cam grinder to change the lift and such.

I had no experience riding a foot shift bike and I rode that bike a few times until it bucked me off one night at Lions Drag Strip. It was so small and had so much power it scared the sh+t out of me, wheelie bars would have been great to had on the bike at that time. I always admired Jimmy Lieneweber for riding that bike. Jimmy would meet Clem at Irwindale and ride one or two runs and then time would past as Clem made changes, maybe as much time as a year and then, there they would be back to the drags and Jimmy would get on that Monster again after all that time off of it and ride. They made an awesome race team and could be a little on the comical side at times.

Early Intake Manifold

Yep, that's Burkhart's signature. It wasn't a good manifold, never fit very good. That Carb looks like it might have been on a street bike, sure is tarnished but they did that pretty easy when they sit around.

Elmer and his Double


I believe that was Elmer when he had his Double Harley.
I don't remember who won that race, but I remember Ron Won Top Fuel at a race earlier and he raced Elmer on his Double Harley at that time. It was at that race that Elmer told me "if we want to continue winning we will have to get rid of our Harley's" and he was right.

Last days of the Double


That's my Double with Ron Fringer doing the riding, that's old Joe pushing it back to the start line. There's a number 729 on the number plate on the bike and if you look close, you can see 72 on the riders back. My number was 711. It was hard to tell Fringer was riding if you didn't know the number thing, that's one of my two sets of leathers I had that we had made to fit Ron.
That was my last trip to Indy. We are at the very end of the Video.

Puppet's Creation

Here's another one of the Puppet's creation. The man is never idle.

Brazilian Magazine

This was in the Brazilian Magazine IZZO, came out in May this year. I have no idea what the article says, even though I was suppose to receive a Translation. After many E-mail's still no Translation. Can anybody out there read this??

Dubble Trubble

This is from Bazza's friend Warren Afflick,

Racing in the old days

With Baz help, page 2, 3 and 4. amp;source=gbs_toc_r&cad=0_0&sig=ACfU3U2MNaaZnt4t6bs wQ6tTOupvEkjNkw#PPA1,M1

The old Linquert

That's exactly right, that carb is where George got the idea for the First S&S Fuel Carb. Leo was working for George when he and George put that linquert together for Fuel. At the time I was running that M48 Harley Carb on Fuel and when Leo came to California and whipped every body's ass was when he help me change to that Linquert. I was lucky because it hooked me up with George who I didn't know at the time and Leo and I was kind of the test bed with that Linquert. When the first S&S fuel carbs came out Leo had number 0001 and he delivered number 0002 and 0003 to me on a trip to the West Coast.


Chet Herbert

Old San Gabriel Raceway

Pup's right on that flag thing. I can remember at Old San Gabriel Raceway, the one when Steve Gibbs was the Manager and Colton Saturday night Drags. I used to race John Bradley in Gene's Brake Shop's Blown Flat Head Dragster for Top Eliminator and you raced with a Flag Start and a guy sit at the end of the quarter mile up in the air on a platform sitting on a chair to radio to the tower to tell the winner.

I think Pup and I are kind of dating our selves here.

Timing lights

Also, if I remember the timing lights were on the outside of the quarter mile in the very early days, and I don't recall a ET light, just a MPH clock. I ran a stock Indian at Pomona in 1953 and all you got was MPH.

I could be wrong??????

Fuels in the Early Days


I believe the FUEL you are talking about was Alcohol. The first Fuels that I can recall was Alkie or Gasoline with water injection. I was at the first race that was at Pomona and there was a lot of bikes there, after all in the beginning they were the fastest thing on the track. That was some time in the early 50's. That's where I first watched the The Beast and The Brute Harley's run. The only Carb that was around at that time was that brass M48 Harley Carb and I know from experiance that it need a lot more work to run Nitro than they had then. Some of the guys made a manifold to fit there Harley's and was running a Flat Head Ford Two Throat Carb, it sit up straight like on the car. I ran Nitro in that Brass Harley Carb in 1957 when Clem Johnson and I raced as a team and you couldn't even start the bike on fuel, you had to start it on gas keep the thing hot and quickly change the jets and restart.

I know Richards was running nitro around 1954 in his Triumph, Johnson was riding it and that was at Pomona.

Double Harley

Sent to me by Bazza, here's a great picture of Joe Thronson and his Double taken at the Ontario Super Nationals in 1977.

Crude looking bike

Yea, no matter how crude it is, it's interesting that this guy must have put this bike together himself. You can tell he was no engineer but he's riding his Pan Head and probably very proud of it. And you're right Pup, I can remember some bikes in the old old days that didn't look much better than that.

Picture from Japan

This is an interesting bike, the picture was sent to me from Japan. Some one who liked my Web Site. This is what he wrote in the mail.
I am Mochi.
I live in Tokyo.
I love Drag bike!!!
I love your great photos!!!
Thank you!!!!!

PS my panhead ride everyday

It's the first picture I have received from the many hits I get in Japan.

Mel Of Belt Drive Fame Passes

Mel was a great guy and friend to everyone, I could always depend on Mel for help when I needed it. I remember when he had a house in Spring Valley Lake, right on the lake front in Victorville Valley, CA. He always would say "Joe anytime you want to get away from it all just let me know, you can use it anytime you want".

He will be missed by all his friends.

The Bonneville Man

Here's a pictures from John Noonan. His record holding bike of Bonneville and El Mirage fame.

Winning Trophy

Do you remember this, it's you giving me the Trophy for winning Top Fuel. It was a thing you hung on the wall, a engraving of Russ and his bike. I still have it someplace, when I first got it I hung it over the toilet in the back bath room at home.
Those were the days!

Old For Sale Article

My friend Bazza found this and sent it to me. The caption is pretty interesting. Hard to read, "Murray estimates the value of his motorcycle is $4000". This had to be a long time ago. To bad you couldn't build that bike for that cost today, there would probably be a lot around.