Bisbee Arizona Run - and a visit with an old drag bike racer

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Well-Known Member
Mar 14, 2010
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Chandler, Arizona
I was on vacation this week, and a buddy and I had planned to tour New Mexico ghost towns again. That didn’t happen due to a last minute mechanical emergency that had to be tended, and we didn’t leave town until Wednesday. So we altered the course, and headed through southern Arizona. For early October, it was still damn hot, but we had a ball. I am terrible about taking pictures, and I am sure folks are just shaking their heads, but I have a couple that I will share. I am usually too busy enjoying myself to remember to snap photos.

I have an older acquaintance who lives in Southern Arizona near Fort Huachuca (near Elgin actually). But, they are in the middle of nowhere, and it takes a strong determination to get there. Nice winding roads, but the last mile is treacherous dirt and gravel. He has been a motorcyclist his entire life, held numerous records in drag bike racing, and was part of a very successful Baja racing team. Fascinating guy. We spent an afternoon there. Even at age 80, his shop is full of projects and possibilities. He campaigned a pretty bad ass single overhead cam 750 that was turbo charged. Look at the size of the turbo on the damn thing! Yes, he still has it. No, it’s not for sale. I asked.67EEBBD4-8CA5-4F2E-88B2-A0C82E4E10A0.jpeg7822F331-7C0D-4647-B086-38DA2AAED6B6.jpeg

Went on to Bisbee. Love that town. At 5000ft, it is cooler too! Had way too many tequilas in Bisbee, but really enjoyed the ambience of the place. Hung out for a couple of days. There’s also a small town just south of Bisbee called Lowell. Barely a wide spot in the road, it has been converted to a Harley/motorcycle strip. Antique/classic cars parked all the way down the strip, simulated shops of the kind you might’ve seen there 60 or 70 years ago. Kinda neat.

Only tallied about 450 miles, but the heat held us back a bit even though Bisbee was very pleasant.


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Russ Collins and Terry Vance and Byron Hines were what I recall as the dominant team back then. The Sorcerer, and then the Atcheson, Topeka, and Santa Fe were the bikes everyone wanted to-beat.

I'm guessing he was from that era? Yes, that's a big turbo. The note says 24 lbs of boost. If I'm correct, that's about 1.6 bar, nearly 2 atmospheres above mean atmospheric pressure. An old SOHC Honda 750 would need extensive mods to live at that kind of boost, and it couldn't live there long. It probably had 7:1 or 8:1 pistons, and extensive oiling capacity supply, scavenging, and cooling mods. What he was doing then is > a stock Hyabusa.

I recall that when the Honda SOHC 750 was released, with probably 1/2 the RWHP of our VMax Gen 1's, there was a problem with chains stretching and breaking the cases, when they failed, leading to the introduction of 'endless chains' (no master link). I suspect his bike was probably pushing about 140-150 RWHP.

He campaigned that when he was south of Syracuse NY?
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Yeah, but he was all over. I have another shot of a record he got with that Honda at Edgewater in Ohio (below). He told me that his wastegate failed on him and he ran it up to almost 40 pounds of boost on one run. Didn’t kill the motor but wounded it. A lot of war stories from that guy. If you have the time he has an endless stream of them. Early Hondas were dry sump, which helps with modification. He had an exotic oil pump on the thing. I didn’t get any shots of it but it was far from factory.

He told a very lengthy story about a Ford ranger team at the Baja. He did some work for the Ford guys themselves and built an exhaust system that bought the Ranger teaD2B30BF6-A47F-4D8D-8E70-5FBBE89E08D5.jpegm the 10% more horsepower they needed to win the Baja that year. Showed me the plaque from that. He has a wall of pictures and plaques. Quite impressive. Here’s another certificate for the turbo Honda.[
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Ferracci, I assume is the guy who wrenched for Doug Polen.

MRE I assume is Murdoch Racing Enterprises, who make lock-up clutches for racing.

I asked two brothers who were actively racing in western NYS in the 1960's/'70's if they knew Pro Fourmen, one said, "no," the other said he did know of them, but couldn't recall the names. Now that I see the guy's name, I'll ask 'em again.

Orient Express Racing was an innovative group, they had a lot of technical success, from western NYS.

The guy who said he'd heard of Pro Fourmen still operates a machine shop north of the NYS Finger Lakes. His brother who was a championship speedway racer still lives in the NYS Finger Lakes. There were five racing brothers, and one of them just finished a book about the family's racing exploits. He raced for Bultaco in Europe in the 1960's, and hosted Senor FX Bulto when he came to the USA to visit the American dealers. Here's a BSA ad which ran in motorcycle magazines about two of the brothers' race successes.

BSA ad (2).jpg
Hey, thanks for that, FM. I am surprised you poked into it like that. Then again, I know that you're also a big fan of head to head drag racing. I think you would also enjoy talking to Doug. He sure had some fun with the sport. In my mind, those early pioneers had more guts than the guys out there today. They rode real, powerful, squirrelly motorcycles.

If you do happen across a name, please pass it along. I'll ask Doug if he's been in contact with him in the last couple decades.

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