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Bonneville Bullet Team

Dyno- Dan Holmes
Ex RE dealer, dreamer, racer
Click Dan's BIO
Click Dan's BikeRoom

Glen Kyle
Builder, retired hill climber
Click Glen's BikeRoom

Phil Myers
Machinist, builder, tuner
Click Phil's BIO
Click Phil's BikeRoom

Mark Brownlee
Rider
Click Mark's BikeRoom

Nathan Holmes
Graphic Artist
Click Nathan's BikeRoom

Roger Howk
Coordinator
Click Roger's BikeRoom

Johnny Szoldrak
Rider

Need volunteers
enthusiasts, drivers, grunts, with or without experience. Click Here
 

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Building The Bullet For 2008. Note longer WB. Improved Ballistics Coefficient?



Digatron Instrumentation





 

 

 

 


       Click Here - read about Dan's First Bonneville Attack.  Dan's Bio

Latest Press Release

200 MPH Club Video
Dan Holmes of DRS cycle (formerly the top Royal Enfield dealer in the US and winner of the AHRMA CLASSIC 60'S 500CC class on his Royal Enfield Bullet 500) will  attempt to break BUB and Southern California Timing Association land speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

From Dan -
Things are moving along rapidly. We're abut to set the Bonneville Bullet up on the dyno for initial testing. Phil is working on building out the rest of his secret wind breaking fairing design. Yes, we are going to run several classes, including nitrous and fuel.

The old road racer will also attack the salt again.

We will make our attempt between August 31 & October 2008. We are also expanding our efforts to make this a Worldwide classic motorcycle owner and enthusiast effort with our newly formed Classic Motorcycle Association (CMA).

Classic Motor Works, the US importer of the Royal Enfield, has been a major sponsor, but we are still short of funds to make this attempt. Hitchcock's Motorcycles of Solihull, U.K is sponsoring Dan's second  Bonneville attack with much needed RE engine components.   Besides sharing our story as we go along with all Royal Enfield enthusiasts,

                        
 Inside the Bullet >>
we have photographers that will video and photograph everything with hopes of having useful footage for possible documentary after.

The Bonneville Bullet speed record attempt is a project of the Classic Motorcycle Association, a 501(c) nonprofit organization. Your contribution is tax deductible. This is a strictly grassroots effort and it is a terrific chance for any enthusiast to be part of network of bikers creating exciting history. There are no user IDs or passwords and no contribution required for you to be a member of this group or to follow our progress, but we do need the funds to complete it.

Please join the group by making a contribution - - and enjoy being part of the support team.  We have made it as easy as possible for you to support our effort and make a contribution.

You can use your credit card here at our secure contribution page.

Or, send a contribution check, (no cash please), made out to Classic Motorcycle Association.

Best Always,

Dan Holmes
PO Box 1127
Middlebury,IN 46540

 
   

August 2008 (getting close)

   
   


Earlier 2008 Development

   

 
 
 

Previous Bonneville Bullet Pics


Mark Brownlee, rider.


Mark Brownlee, rider.

 

Dyno Dan and the Bonneville Bullet Article
 
First Bonneville Attack

Words: GORDON MAY

DAN HOLMES is a man on a mission.  Two missions in fact.  And both relate to Royal Enfield Bullets.  First of all he wants to be America’s most successful Bullet dealer.  And secondly, he wants race successes with his own 500cc race Bullet.

“I grew up with classic motorcycles,” says Dan, the 47-year-old owner of DRS Cycles, a Royal Enfield dealership based in Goshen, Indiana.  “My grandfather started a motorcycle business here selling Indian motorcycles.  By the time I was born, my father was running it and sold BSAs.  However, by the time I was old enough to be interested in bikes, the British and American industries had collapsed and the business sold Hondas.”

Dan didn’t immediately follow in his father’s footsteps.  Although he always had a bike of one kind or another Dan trained and ran an appliance repair business.

“All that changed in 1998,” he recalls.  Out of nostalgia, Dan and his father attended a massive motorcycle show in Chicago.  “Towards the end of the day, we spotted a stand in a far hall which had these new but classic-looking motorcycles on them.  We went to have a closer look.  They were Royal Enfields from India.  I became smitten and within months had converted my appliance repair workshop into a Bullet dealership.”

The first year was a hard one.  To get started Dan bought all the trade stand bikes – the only ones available while the importer waited for a new shipment.  Unfortunately, the bikes needed a lot of work before Dan could sell them on.  “It was frustrating,” he says, “as we knew so little and the bikes needed so much doing to them.  Thankfully we survived and the experience set us up very well to cope with any eventuality.  Because of the huge improvement in the quality of the new bikes in recent years they need far less work on them before we can sell them.”

In 2001 Dan achieved one of his first goals - DRS Cycles became US dealer of the year, with Dan’s sales outstripping all others in the country.  “It was a great feeling,” he says, “and we only just missed out in 2002.  We hope to be back on top this year.”

As well as selling the machines, DRS is a licensed spares’ dealer and has also developed some specialty parts itself, such as a bushing kit for the US model left foot gearshift.

Which brings us to Dan’s other aim - to successfully race a Bullet.  “We started in August 2000 by racing an almost stock 500cc Bullet in Ohio.  We finished in sixth place, wholly due to the excellent skills of our rider, former four times WERA and two times AMA champ, Johnny Szoldrak.  We even won the Masters Of The Mid-West Classic 60s Class series on it.”

The bike has now been substantially modified.  Says Dan: “We have a great voluntary team comprising chassis builder Phil Myers and engine tuner Glen Kyle. The Bullet has been stripped down to make it as light as possible and the frame and suspension have been strengthened.”

Modifications
Dan points out other changes to the Bullet - a Hitchcock’s billet steel crank

with a needle roller big end; 10:1 compression piston; 1½” Amal GP carburetor; Bob Newby belt drive clutch; Joe Hunt dual plug magneto and a rear wheel hub with various sprocket overlays so that gearing can be changed on the bike according to the circuit.

“It puts out up to 38 bhp at the rear wheel, which relates to roughly 41/42 bhp at the crankshaft.  We really shook some people up!”  The Bullet usually competes against the likes of BSA Gold Stars, Matchless G50s, Manx Nortons and 500cc Triumph Twins, none of which are allowed to race with fairings.  “We often lead the race,” reveals Dan proudly.  The team even competed recently at Daytona. “We finished 6th,” says Dan, “but we feel it should have been higher, maybe 4th.”

Dan believes that the Bullet gearbox is its weak point in races.  “We have no problem shifting up through the gearbox but constantly find false neutrals shifting down between 3rd and 2nd.  It’s driving us crazy because while the gearbox works fine in normal use it doesn’t cope with the stress of racing.  Can anybody help us here?  We need some ideas about what to do to it or we may have to change it for something like a Norton box.”

But the Bullet has had an even bigger adventure - to the famous Bonneville Salt Flats, scene of many famous world land speed records.

“The idea was a spur of the moment one,” says Dan.  “We left on a 1600 mile journey to Wendover, Utah, after only four hours tuning on the dyno.  Well beyond the point of no return we remembered we had left the electric starter and bike stand in Goshen.  That left us with no option but to bump start the bike, which can be real tricky at Bonneville.  Any competition vehicle seen running under its own power anywhere except on the flats - that means the competition strip under the direction of an official, at the proper time and place, is immediately disqualified.”

 

According to Dan, this precluded any meaningful tuning or set-up after they arrived, which is a disadvantage as the Utah density altitude averaged 5,200 feet elevation and 6% humidity and the DRS Bullet was set up for 900 feet elevation.  “The rule of thumb is to go down two jet sizes,” says Dan.  “We later learned that the altitude means you can lose 10mph.  I think we did pretty well tuning the bike as a first time participant.”  Dan continues:  “It’s very hard to find good information on tuning for Bonneville.  If you are fortunate to find someone with experience who has time to share and talk with you, especially in your class, that’s a privilege.  We did not have that luxury during set up and prep!  But we found four more ponies on the dyno and therefore thought we had a shot at the published pump-gas record of 106mph.”

Then the team learned that a new 120mph record existed in the pump-gas class, so they switched to the 500cc vintage pushrod fuel class.  This is a tough category as it places no limits on compression ratio or carburetor size.  To further complicate matters, the fuel class requires bikes to have a fuel shutoff that can be operated without the rider taking his hands off the handlebars.  Consequently marshals failed the bike on its first technical inspection.

Dan’s solution was to drill a hole in the petcock arm, cut 24” of wire off the trailer harness plug, tie it onto the petcock, cross it over the head stay, twist a loop and tape it securely to the rider’s leg and have the bike re-inspected.  “After long discussion, the marshals decided that it complied, ..just!”

Dan continues: “Our designated rider was Mark Brownlee, from Sherman, Texas. Mark has ridden at Bonneville before and is the sole reason this trip came to fruition.  He is a wonderful southern gentleman and a Bullet owner himself.  It all started when he called and ordered some parts.  This led to a discussion about my building him a bike for Bonneville.  I suggested that perhaps this year we could run my road racer at Bonneville and he became very enthusiastic.  Preparing for this trip was a whirlwind of activity and we decided to do it if for no other reason than the experience.”

Dan goes on: “Bonneville posed a whole new set of problems and we had to experiment.  We produced maximum horsepower on the dyno at 6200 rpm - lower than we expected.  Our choice was: do we want to labor at 6000, 6200, and 6500 rpm for three miles or do we want to turn a little faster?  None of us knew the answer.  Our first big question was how fast are we turning to start with?  We turned 120mph on the dyno with our standard race gearing and the engine had earlier turned 7,500rpm on our third test run at Gerencers Harley Davidson in Elkhart, Indiana.  Having said that, while the inertia wheel was going around at 120mph, the horsepower curve had fallen off to 28hp.  Our peak horsepower was 36 at 6200.”

After two long waits in a long line, the team made two runs.  The Bullet recorded 102mph on the first and 103mph on the second run: “We were geared too low on the first run and too high on the second,” Dan confides.

He continues: “It took us 12 hours to prepare the bike, including dyno time, to search for the fire-proof fuel line, tether the kill switch, jet and convert to pump gas, only to discover that Southern California Timing Association has its own definition of pump gas called 116K, 120 octane.  Then we ended up in a fuel class that allowed nitro methane, nitrous oxide, and any other concoction that one can dream of.  It felt like we were going round and round in circles in order to travel in a straight line!”

****Dan reflects that they learned many lessons at the salt flats:

  • 1. Bring your own shade and lots of water.

  • 2. Have enough crew members so crew can be rotated while the bike creeps forward in line for a run.

  • 3. Take sunglasses, or better still, welding goggles.

  • 4. Develop a high tolerance for salt up your nose, in your throat and eyes and caked all over any vehicle.

  • 5. Remember WD40. Coat everything.

  • 6. Take sun block and apply on everything that is exposed, including the underside of your nose.

Dan says: “The Bonneville flats look more like an alien planet than Earth! The salt is very much like packed snow, although warm.  It gives good traction when damp but is as corrosive as it gets.”  He concludes: “The event was a success for us.  We completed our runs, expanded our learning curve, were a respectable presence for Royal Enfield, and met a lot of interested spectators.  We were greenhorns and everyone insisted that no one had ever experienced success their first time out on the flats.

We participated and we qualified!”  Dan and the DRS team are now working hard and fast at resolving their gearbox problems and would welcome any suggestions. They plan to keep road racing the bike and to return to Bonneville.