Speed of Cheese Racing

Landspeed RD400 Project Required Learning New Skills

The RD400 as purchased from Ed Erlenbachenlarge

The RD400 as purchased from Ed Erlenbach (click image for more).

This story was first published as a thread on 2strokeworld.com. You can still read the entire thread there.

I am treading new water here, and thought maybe some feedback would be helpful. I don’t know anyone in the two-stroke world to tell me I am an idiot, so I hope someone here can. I am not trying to brag, or show off, so I hope this doesn’t come off that way.

I have been going to the salt flats as long as I can remember with my father to race cars, so this is my continuation of a family tradition of trying to go fast. He has had five records through the years. My father is my pit crew. mentor, friend now…pretty neat stuff for me.

Anyway, some background. I bought Ed Erlenbach’s RD400 landspeed bike (the worlds fastest RD) about ten years ago. I then went through some big life changes and was unable to run the bike for some years. I spent the time doing the things I could, like painting, cleaning, dreaming, etc. I fitted a new fairing and made a cold air intake and air box. I am a machinist, so I built the thing with way too stupid of clearances, so assembly takes a deep breath, and clear mind.

Even though I have been involved in lots of motorsports and building/designing engine parts, I was terrified of doing anything with the RD engine. It ran so well, and made lots of power and I figured whatever magical things that Ed had done, I would undo by my fat fingers. Until I seized it.

The problem is that on the salt, as opposed to El Mirage, you have to hold it wide open for at least a mile. You break the timing light at the two-mile marker and then at the three. All the room I need to get there, and after, but that mile is called the longest mile for a reason. Although I do start at the one mile as the bike comes up to speed faster than that, and I am fighting heat, so longer isn’t helping.

The air simply can’t dissipate enough heat in the time it takes at WOT. So after the first time I seized it, I built a water spraying system that used a tank under the seat and a pump to spray through atomizers in front of the cylinders. I had two. One for each cylinder, with the thought the water would help dissipate the heat enough I could make a full pass under power.