We checked in recently with our buddy Wes White of Four Aces Cycle in Pacoima, California to see how land speed racing on his ancient Triumph was going. Since our Lane Splitter helmet is ECE-rated, Wes wears one during competitions.
Racing at El Mirage
We were competing in the newly minted Modified Class at the El Mirage Dry Lake at the Southern California Timing Association’s Season Opener meet. Our confidence was high as they had set a friendly minimum of 107mph in the 500cc Modified Vintage Fuel class. Previously trusty #947 had done 112, 114 and 125mph at El Mirage on a 129 record, competing in the Special Construction Class.
Flotsam and Jetsam
Day one we were front of the line at about 3:00pm. There was a Crosley-powered car racer in front of us. It scattered its belly pan, front bumper and engine all over the course in a catastrophic engine failure. We were ready to kick and go when word came down the course required cleanup and inspection before the next run. They swept the course but in the end, decided to move the course to better dirt and re-start Sunday Morning. We found out later the debris from the Crosley-bomb filled most of a short bed pickup. Not the kinda stuff you wanna run into on a 60-year-old motorcycle with clip-ons and a rigid frame at 100mph. We made it back to the pits, ran some checks and spent the afternoon socializing and inspecting the new course.
We were the first vehicle of the day to go on Sunday, and our spirits were good. I blasted down the course on a load of 60% nitro and 40% methanol in our Iron-Headed 1951 Triumph 500. #947 took off like a rocket ship and went through the gears like no-one’s business. I felt like it was a good run but you never know until the time slip comes in. Coming off the course, something went “twang” somewhere in the drive train. The bike was stuck in neutral when I cruised off of the course. Upon further inspection I learned I had blown my trans after completing the run.
Doug the Inspector
Our friend and SCTA president Pat McDowell came by and yelled “113” then left on race business. That was enough for me and I got all excited. The chase truck pulled up with the good news. We were off to impound for class inspection and displacement check. To get World Record certified, the SCTA makes sure everything is in order. We stripped enough of the top end off to let them measure the bore and stroke. After what seemed like a ton of paperwork, an old stalwart SCTA guy named Doug Robinsonour certified our record . Doug was the first inspector to certify my bike race-ready in 2006 when we first started racing. He also certified our first record last year at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Having Doug certify our first El Mirage Record was a cool thing if you’re into tradition and legacies. A proud moment to say the least.
Four Aces Cycle and Bike #947 now hold the World Record at El Mirage Dry Lake for the fastest 500cc Modified Vintage Fuel powered motorcycle. You can follow Wes on Instagram at @fouracescycle