The 200kmh postie | Columns | Gassit Garage
Over a few beers he convinced an old mate, Don Kidd, they should give it a shot.
The easy bit was acquiring a former postie bike in the mid-noughties for $400 – a price that reflected the condition of the clapped-out four-year-old Honda CT110 that arrived on Don’s workshop floor. Their target was 73mph (118km/h) and Mike figured that even if they didn’t succeed it would all be a lot of fun.
After many days spent stripping the little Honda down to the frame, Don wondered when the fun would start. It was two years before they managed some sneaky test runs on a straight bit of road not far from the workshop in Deception Bay, north of Brisbane.
The bike powered way past the existing record without even hitting top gear and they had total confidence the record was theirs as they made their way to South Australia for the 2008 Dry Lake Racers Speedweek on Lake Gairdner – only to blow the gearbox. As they made the three-day trek back home Don was still wondering when the fun would start.
Don today is “all but blind”, but reckons he’s a better mechanic because he’s a bit slower, steadier and has learned from experience.
“I took the blow-up as a lesson and, starting from the ground up, built it stronger, better and lighter, with all the experimental things in the powerplant tested and proven on the dyno.”
Mike (AKA Crash Test Dummy) and Don returned to Lake Gairdner in 2009 and had a great time on the salt, which proved very thirsty work. This time they set a new record at 83mph (134km/h) on the bike that Mike had christened Dorothy – Don reckons it’s the name of some sheila Mike never caught – and they believed fine tuning would provide more power.
Now addicted, each year they made the annual pilgrimage to Lake Gairdner, and with the assistance of Joe Hanssen at One Ten Motorcycles in Caboolture, Don made further improvements.
“I tinkered and refined,” he says. “We’d made 95mph (163km/h) running on alcohol with a 15,000rpm redline but I couldn’t squeeze any more out of her so then I ‘nosed’ her.”
Nitrous Oxide is commonly known as laughing gas but it’s no laughing matter when introduced to a high-revving engine to increase fuel burn. Don understandably didn’t want to risk blowing up the motor on One Ten’s dyno, though he seems to have had no qualms about it blowing up only millimetres away from Mike’s family jewels…
“I really had no idea what was going to happen,” Don admits. “I’d never played with nitrous before, but others seemed to employ it successfully.”
In addition to the nitrous oxide canister, they’d built a beautiful streamlined fairing, but in their enthusiasm to get underway didn’t notice they had left it on the bench back in Deception Bay. Don managed to bush engineer a large stainless-steel salad bowl onto Dorothy to provide Mike with some wind protection, but it wasn’t the wind Mike was concerned about.
“Mike was pretty nervous as I’d told him the bike would go really fast,” Don said. “Or go off with a big bang.
“Dorothy was running sweetly. On the three-mile run up to the speed trap we heard every gearchange, then the revs went off the scale and we thought Dorothy had thrown the chain, though we worked out later it was wheelspin. Mike returned to the startline believing the nitrous had done little except make Dorothy run rough. We were all disappointed until the DLRA timing crew sent the message that we’d done over 200km/h.”
They sold the bike the very next day, and even though neither Mike nor Don believes Dorothy ran through the traps at any better than 150km/h, they have a certified Dry Lakes Racers Association ticket that reads 128.533mph. That’s 200km/h, though with a large grain of salt.