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Norton Commando Land Speed racer update

Classic Norton Commando Motorcycles.

Norton Commando Land Speed racer update

Postby Eldo » Thu Sep 07, 2017 2:27 pm

Hi Gang; It's been a few months since I posted my last thread, detailing the 920cc engine build for my Land Speed Race bike. Last year we took a record at the Ohio Mile with an 860cc motor Herb Becker built, at 131.2mph. Over the winter Herb built a new 920cc motor that I documented in this forum, and it dyno'd at 90 rear wheel hp. After a few shakedown runs at our local drag strip, Toronto Motorsport Park ("Cayuga" to most), It was time to pack up and head to the Loring Timing Association's Harvest Speed Trials event at the Loring Air Force Base, in Limestone, Maine. The venue has a 2 5/8 mile track, with timing traps at the 1 mile and 1.5 mile, and lots of room to shut down after the 1.5 mile mark. The old Air Force base is mostly abandoned, and has a real "X-Files" vibe to it, but the track is beautiful and there is lots of room in the pits, so the layout works very well. We had a great weekend and look forward to going back n the spring.
heading out from Waterloo, Ontario. It's a long drive, but we did it in one day
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Last edited by Eldo on Thu Sep 07, 2017 3:02 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Norton Commando Land Speed racer update

Postby Eldo » Thu Sep 07, 2017 2:35 pm

Here we are waiting in the tech line on a cold (8ºC), windy Friday morning.
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Passed no problem! Always fun to get these tech stickers put on.

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Re: Norton Commando Land Speed racer update

Postby Eldo » Thu Sep 07, 2017 2:59 pm

The record here at Loring is 156mph in the 1.5 mile. This speed seems out of reach for us, so we are looking for a personal best of 140mph. Saturday the rain had cleared up, but it was still cool with a firm headwind.


Our little pit setup for the weekend. Herb's rockin' our King Street Cycles Land Speed Racing jacket...
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Herb and Bill getting the bike started for to bring the oil to temp for our initial runs on Saturday morning.
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All warmed u and ready for a run.
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While we ran a 131.2 in Ohio last summer, I had to "license up" as a rookie here at loring with a 125mph pass. Once that was signed off on, I was free to run up to 150mph.
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Re: Norton Commando Land Speed racer update

Postby Eldo » Thu Sep 07, 2017 3:29 pm

Aiming for 6500rpm, which would have me at 126mph, it was super hard to keep it realled in to that. The motor felt great, and pulled strongly through the range, to the point I had to back off the throttle a lot to stay at 6500. in the excitment of my forst pass, I wound up going WOT a littl emore than I should have, and finished my licensing pass with a 135mph, 10 mph over. All was good back at registration though, and they signed off on my 125mph no problem. Now on to actual full throttle runs!

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Re: Norton Commando Land Speed racer update

Postby Eldo » Thu Sep 07, 2017 3:52 pm

First full WOT run, bike ran strong up to 7000rpm with a 18/40 sproket combination (3.888 overall ratio), so wasn't sure what we'd end up with. The math had us at 136mph. Picked up my timing slip at registration:

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Re: Norton Commando Land Speed racer update

Postby Eldo » Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:01 pm

For the next run, the afternoon sum had warmed everything up quite a bit, so we bumped down a jet size, from .310s down to .300s. Also dropped a tooth on the rear sproket, from a 40T to a 39T (for a 3.79 ratio) Got back in line and went for it. The bike felt even better with the smaller jet, and pulled hard all the way through the 1.5 mile trap.

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There it was! We got our 140mph pass! It was pretty glorious and emotional to move past the 140mph mark, and we were all over the moon to have achieved it. anything from here on would be "gravy"!
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Re: Norton Commando Land Speed racer update

Postby Eldo » Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:10 pm

Our next run was first thing Sunday morning. It was another cool start to the day, but the wind had turned directly to our tail, and were hoping for some good runs. Having achieved our goal of 140mph, we decided to see what we could do if we bumped another gear. We put on the 38T sproket (now a 3.69 ratio) and got in line.

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Re: Norton Commando Land Speed racer update

Postby Eldo » Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:38 pm

Feeling fantastic about how the bike was handling the taller gearing, we got back in line again. the 38T was the tallest gear I brought, so now I had to work on getting myself out of the wind better. We pulled my clip-on bars back a few inches, and this run I layed my head to the side right down on the tank, watching for the flags to fly past.

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149.2mph! Maybe the 156mph 1.5 mile record isn't as out of reach as we thought!

We did one more run without changing the setup, but I missed the 2-3 shift, and we wound up 2mph slower in the mile, but 149.1 in the 1.5.

Well, that was our weekend. Very, very happy with a 149.2mph, and we now have the 1 mile record, at 146.7! We'll be making some adjustments to the peripheries of the bike over the winter, to try to gain some aero, and we can't wait to get back to Maine in the spring and try to break into the 150mph range!

Norton Commando, 920cc; Mikuni VM40 carbs, bored to 44mm; extensive headwork to accomodate 44mm intake valves & 38mm exhaust valves; JS Motorsports rods and pistons; .480" lift cam; running on VP Racing Fuels C12 Gasoline. Stock Norton 4sp gearbox. 1.5 mile @ 149.2MPH.
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Re: Norton Commando Land Speed racer update

Postby lcrken » Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:45 pm

Congratulations! That's a great run. The bike is clearly well dialed in. I'm jealous. We missed getting my Norton to Bonneville this year, but we'll make it next year for sure.

That runway looks great. No issues with salt condition at Bonneville or the dirt getting torn up by the cars at El mirage. We have something similar out here with the Mojave Mile event, but I've not been to it yet. Maybe we can do that next year too.

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Re: Norton Commando Land Speed racer update

Postby Eldo » Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:54 pm

lcrken, are you the Ken that was racing with Jim Mosher? I met Jim while crewing for Lowbrow Customs at this year's Speedweek, and told me he had built a Norton for Bonneville that ran on Alcohol and Nitrous Oxide, Then in talking to Jim Schmidt, he mentioned that it was "Ken's" bike.
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Re: Norton Commando Land Speed racer update

Postby speedrattle » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:25 pm

that's seriously fast, bud. and this time you kept the bottom on the motor.

where were you in july?
my name is kevin. this speedrattle stuff is because there is already a kevin around here somewhere
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Re: Norton Commando Land Speed racer update

Postby cjandme » Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:03 pm

Wow!! That is truly outstanding, thanks for posting it up here and best of luck with your future runs! :mrgreen:
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Re: Norton Commando Land Speed racer update

Postby grandpaul » Fri Sep 08, 2017 6:24 am

Very impressive stuff, and proper incremental progress with zero failures. The stuff dreams are made of.
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Re: Norton Commando Land Speed racer update

Postby lcrken » Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:42 am

Eldo wrote:lcrken, are you the Ken that was racing with Jim Mosher? I met Jim while crewing for Lowbrow Customs at this year's Speedweek, and told me he had built a Norton for Bonneville that ran on Alcohol and Nitrous Oxide, Then in talking to Jim Schmidt, he mentioned that it was "Ken's" bike.


That's me, sort of. But Fred Eiker is the guy who actually rode it at Bonneville. I sold the bike to Fred in it's original road racer configuration. He decided to to landspeed racing with it instead, and recruited Jim Mosher to help. Fred first ran the bike at Bonneville with the engine pretty much as I had rebuilt it. Feeling a need for more speed, he added nitrous oxide, and had Jim do some mods to the engine. He put in some good runs in the 140+ range, but crashed at 150+ and was pretty badly injured. He decided to give up landspeed racing, and is in the process of restoring the bike back to it's original configuration.

There is a little more info here

land-speed-record-links-t7733.html?hilit=fred eiker

There are also other threads with more info on Fred, the bike, and his results on the salt, but I haven't hunted them up yet. I'll see if I can find them and post links.

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Re: Norton Commando Land Speed racer update

Postby lcrken » Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:50 am

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