When I purchased my Aprilia RS250 in early 2009 for the 485 project, the stock motor wasn't required. As well as helping with entry fees etc. I also donated my engine to Peter who has an RGV250. This is his story.
Peter and his modified RGV 250
My name is Peter Healy, and I have been riding motorbikes, since the late sixties. I had a go at dirt track racing in the 70’s but was never really able to make the most of it. I gave up bikes during the 80's and got back on them as a Postie in 1996. That is where I met Wayne. During one of our many bike related conversations Wayne told me about the movie “The Wold’s Fastest Indian”. I went and saw it and something stirred within me. I had not heard of Burt Munro but I certainly knew about Bonneville Salt Flats and Land Speed Racing. As a young bloke in my early teens I was in awe of the people and the vehicles chasing the World Land Speed Record. So I did a little research and found out that Land Speed Racing was alive and well in Australia. The Dry Lakes Racers Australia ran their version of Speedweek every year in March at Lake Gairdner South Australia. I knew I had to check this out.
After a few false starts due to “rain outs” I planned on going down to the Lake in 2010. But after a conversation with a few mates, including Wayne, I decided to actually have a go myself. While a car was out of the question, and a few reminders that I used to race bikes, I thought why not. So I got the DLRA rule book and went over and over it. The whole basis of the racing was to set a record and many classes were available to choose from. I knew that I would want to set records rather than just have a go, so I did a few sums. Ok it was doable but what do you actually use on the salt.
It seemed the Hayabusa was King. Everyone used them. Oh well I won’t be going that way, I have always tried to do my own thing, so to speak. The other thing was, to set a Busa class record cost a lot more than I could afford. So after a few more rounds of “bench racing” and it started to take shape, 2-Strokes were mentioned and that is what I had raced years ago on the dirt tracks.
Ok so what will go fast enough without “Breaking the Budget”. The 250 V-Twins looked to be made to order, and Suzuki’s RGV was certainly the most common of the breed. Decision made and an RGV it would be. I thought I would simply enter Production Class and go from there. The Production Class meant that the Bike had to be externally stock so any mods could not be seen. So I hunted down a bog stock 1993 VJ22 model, as it was the last version that Suzuki made so I figured it would be the best place to start.
GETTING READY FOR MY FIRST SPEEDWEEK;
After going over the bike all looked ok. A bit of research revealed that the power valves were a weak spot so I replaced them with new ones and fitted one piece billet centres to them. Then gutted the stock pipes and dropped the needle in the carbs one clip … the bike went like it should, a real screamer.
The rules stated that all bikes must have a 'lanyard kill switch', a metal chain guard, appropriate speed rated tyres, metal valve stems and any glass removed or taped up. I did these things and paid my entry fee.
Now Lake Gairdner is no ordinary “Race Track”. It is located in Outback South Australia and the dirt road in is about 140kms long. You camp there for the week but there is no drinking water so you really have to be self-sufficient. But once you get there you soon realise that it is a very, very special place.
After the long drive and setting up camp, a few people came over and introduced themselves. I have to say the Land Speed community are a pretty friendly bunch. I found out that there were two other RGVs entered. We did a lot of talking about our bikes and I discovered I had made a change to my bike that was not allowed in Production Class. So I decided to change classes and took off the fairings and ran in Modified Gas 250, a no fairing class. I decided to do this so all three of us with RGVs had a chance at setting a record.
I lined up and got through Tech Inspection OK. I discovered I had left all my sprockets at home (typical) so I was stuck with 17/41 or very high gearing, stock is 14/43 mmmm? Oh well off to have a few runs on the GPS Licensing Track to get the hang of it and maybe get my DLRA License. It was brilliant! I had found my natural habitat. The DLRA rules are based on USA Rules so everything is in MPH. I went 119mph/191kph and that was fast enough to get my 125mph/210kph license. That was in 4th Gear as it would not pull 5th!! I also learnt the importance of Aero in this game. If I lifted my head just a tiny bit my speed dropped back a lot.
The little bike started to develop an intermittent misfire on the second run. Checked everything and found nothing so I did what all 2 stroke owners do. I changed plugs and set off for the proper timed track to have a go at setting a Class record.
The DLRA have two types of records, One Way and Two Way. Because the DLRA is a relatively small organisation, all the records are One Way at this point in time. The MG250 record was an “Open Record” meaning that no record had been set in that class.
On the ride up to the start line the bike cleared itself of the misfire. I lined up and eventually I was given the “Go" signal by the starter. The bike was screaming 500 rpm more than I could get on the shorter GPS track, so I thought try 5th. Bad move the misfire came back as soon as I opened the throttle and rode through the first timing lights!!! I changed back to 4th and it came good again but the mile timer went past and I had to wait and see how much of a fool I had made of myself.
I was really surprised when I got the speed 99.042mph/159.39kph, I didn't think it would have gone that fast given how long I was "off" it. I was very happy and totally hooked, I had actually run at a Land Speed Event. For a first attempt I was more than satisfied … roll on 2011.