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Sydney Dragway Bike Nights

Elliott Andrews does a burnout on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle at the quarter mile at Sydney Dragway on Bike Night

Sydney Dragway Bike Nights

Sydney Dragway Bike Nights have helped us have the perfect start to the year. The summer heat and bright golden sun is back here in Sydney. So we’re making the most of it, getting out for Sunday rides and getting back to the race track. I just can’t believe it had been so long since my last pass on the quarter mile. Mind you, we have had the wettest year since weather recording started in Sydney.

When I moved to Sydney over 10 years ago drag racing soon became a big hobby of mine. Sydney Dragway is a world-class drag strip and I was living down the road. So of course, there was no use in resisting the opportunity. I started competing in the Street Bike bracket of the NSW Drag Racing Championship Series and built a few drag bikes along the way. Then, with the help of a bunch of legends, I took it up a notch with Fraser Motorcycles getting behind my proposal to build a custom 10 second Harley‑Davidson® Dyna race bike back in 2017.

Motorcycle racers line up behind the start line of the quarter mile at Sydney Dragway on Bike Night. The picture is taken from a racer behind other motorcycle racers, looking down the barrel of the race track past their right shoulders. The sun casts deep shadows over the race track, the grandstand on the left glowing in the sunlight with a soft blue sky.
A motorcycle racer lines up at the start line of the quarter mile at Sydney Dragway on Bike Night after completing a burnout. The smoke from the burnout billows into the sunset sky. The tail lights of a motorcycle shine in the background as the racer waits for the green light to go.

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, but sometimes the break between Christmas and New Year is the circuit breaker you need to get back to good old habits. One thing we hope you’ll notice this year is that James and I will be getting to the track more.  After all, it can’t be all work and no play.

The track has been calling.

That rush of a wide-open throttle in top gear, reaching a motorcycle’s ultimate straight-line speed. There’s nothing in the world like it. What I’m also looking forward to this year, is sharing that feeling with good friends.

Elliott Andrews waits behind the burnout pad on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle at the quarter mile at Sydney Dragway on Bike Night at sunset.
The sun sets on the horizon of a clear sky day while motorcycle racers put on on their helmets and gloves with their motorcycles. The sun reflects off the tank of a custom Elliott Motorcycles hooligan motorcycle in the foreground.
Dan Lesnock waits behind the burnout pad on a Harley-Davidson Pan America motorcycle at the quarter mile at Sydney Dragway on Bike Night at sunset.

James started sending our Hooligan Racer (a custom Harley‑Davidson® Street 750) down the quarter mile at the first of this year’s Sydney Dragway Bike Nights in January. Then I joined in with Dan Lesnock and Harley‑Davidson® Australia.

It’s good to be back on the race track having some fun at Sydney Dragway Bike Nights. If you’re in the area, bring your ride down to the next event. We’ll see you there!

Elliott Andrews and Dan Lesnock talking at Sydney Dragway Bike Night. Dan sits on a motorcycle while Elliott stands beside him. Both wear motorcycle leathers and helmets.
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Blind Speed Track Day 2021

Elliott Andrews and a Harley-Davidson Livewire at the Blind Speed Track Day at Wakefield Park Raceway in Goulburn, Australia, May 2021.

Blind Speed Track Day - May 2021

In Sight of Dreams in partnership with Blind Speed organised a track day for people with blindness and low vision at Wakefield Park Raceway on Tuesday 4 May 2021. Elliott Motorcycles is proud to have supported Ben Felten and the team behind this awesome event.

Participants would have an opportunity to get behind the wheel of a car, experience a hot lap as a race car passenger and/or a motorcycle pillion.  Blind Sports NSW promoted the track day and received a large amount of interest. As a result, approximately 55 people over 16 years of age with blindness or low vision registered.

Participant driving a car during the Blind Speed Track Day at Wakefield Park Raceway in Goulburn, Australia, May 2021.
Dual control cars in the morning

In the morning participants were offered the opportunity to learn how to drive in dual controlled cars. Then in the afternoon they would have the opportunity to experience a hot lap on the Wakefield Park Raceway circuit.

Ben Felten explained before the event that for some people, this event may be the only time they get the chance to drive a vehicle or pillion on a motorcycle within their lifetime. He also let us know that it would be a highlight of the year for many members of the blind and vision impaired community.  So it would create lasting memories which would be sure to leave people with big smiles. Needless to say, it was a honour to be part of something so great!

We brought our LSR1 MKII land speed race bike and Harley-Davidson Australia brought a Harley-Davidson® Livewire® for track demonstrations. Also, James organised for Bondi Films to be there capturing the event for a short video.  The video will be used to promote community awareness as well as further support, sponsorship and participation. Ideally, helping enable more of these kinds of events to occur across Australia.

Ben Felten of Blind Speed is a keen advocate for electric and autonomous vehicles. So on the day Ben spoke about how technological advancement is important to enable greater inclusion. Advancements in electric and autonomous vehicles will enable greater mobility and independence for people with blindness or low vision. It was great to be able to showcase the H-D® Livewire® to support Ben’s message alongside Western Sydney University’s solar car.

Elliott Andrews and a Harley-Davidson Livewire at the Blind Speed Track Day at Wakefield Park Raceway in Goulburn, Australia, May 2021.
Elliott Andrews riding a Harley-Davidson Livewire at the Blind Speed Track Day at Wakefield Park Raceway in Goulburn, Australia, May 2021.
Participants celebrate during the Blind Speed Track Day at Wakefield Park Raceway in Goulburn, Australia, May 2021.
Hot laps in the afternoon

Unfortunately, it was a cold, windy and rainy day in the Goulburn area.  So the motorcycle pillion rides and some of the motorcycle demonstrations had to be scratched from the event schedule. But the wind and rain didn’t dampen spirits and didn’t stop participants from making the most of it. Everyone was enjoying the day and the Wakefield Park Raceway team were on point making sure everyone was looked after.

Elliott Motorcycles supported the event along with Vision Australia, Caring Approach, Motorcycling NSW, Australian Auto-Sport Alliance, Harley-Davidson Australia, Kawasaki Australia, Dunlop Australia and Wakefield Park Raceway.

Photographs by Lisa Musico.

Porsche 911 at the Blind Speed Track Day at Wakefield Park Raceway in Goulburn, Australia, May 2021.
Participants celebrate during the Blind Speed Track Day at Wakefield Park Raceway in Goulburn, Australia, May 2021.
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Speed Week 2021

Elliott Andrews on the Motorcycles LSR1 MKII land speed race bike during Speed Week 2021 at Lake Gairdner in South Australia

DLRA Speed Week 2021

On the 16th March our race team landed back in Sydney after traveling to Lake Gairdner for DLRA Speed Week 2021.  It was a challenging journey this year with more aspects to coordinate, the uncertainty of travel and of course COVID-19. Then to whack a cherry on top there’s always the weather, which only just passed the bar needed for racing on the lake.

Event organisers were monitoring the lake conditions closely as DLRA Speed Week 2021 drew near.  The La Niña this summer meant the lake surface was saturated from high rainfall.  Days before we were due to race water was still sitting on the surface of the lake.  The racetrack in the middle of the lake was dry.  However, we wouldn’t be able to access the lake if the water by the shore didn’t drain or evaporate quickly.  In which case, Speed Week would be cancelled again.  

Fortunately, as the event approached wind gusts picked up. This helped dry out the lake just enough to allow access.  Having missed out on racing in 2019 and 2020, we were very keen to make the journey if there was even half a chance of running.  So, we loaded up and set off to the Lake.

Sunset over salt before Speed Week 2021 at Lake Gairdner in South Australia
Elliott Motorcycles land speed racing pit area during Speed Week 2021 at Lake Gairdner in South Australia
Getting Set for DLRA Speed Week 2021

We arrived at Lake Gairdner on Saturday 6th March. This gave us plenty of time to prep for racing on the Monday.  We setup camp and the boys cooked up a great meal which was followed by a few beers. Early the next morning, we setup our pits, got the bike scrutineered and prepared for racing.  We checked over the bike and made sure it was running perfectly. I was really happy with how everyone was working as a team and felt quietly confident.  However, it was clear from the moment we touched the lake surface that the salt was saturated. So I knew the track would be very different to what I had experienced in previous years.

Day 1

All of the teams were eager to race, so there was a solid queue of people accessing the lake that morning.  We arrived at our pit bay and immediately went to work getting the bike ready.

It wasn’t long before we saw the first bike on track and it was Magoo riding Ben Felten’s Kawasaki ZX10RR.  He dropped by after his pass and gave us an early heads up about the track conditions.  The high moisture content in the salt meant that the track surface was pretty slippery, and the gusty conditions had also stuck around meaning there was a strong side wind as you reached the timed section of the racetrack. 

Wind gusts kept up as the morning went on so we watched and waited to see if the conditions would improve.

Elliott Motorcycles racing team during Speed Week 2021 at Lake Gairdner in South Australia
Elliott Andrews on the Elliott Motorcycles LSR1 MKII land speed race bike with team during Speed Week 2021 at Lake Gairdner in South Australia
I was weary that while the large fairing on my bike was designed to make my bike faster, it could also act as sail with a side wind.

Some riders were getting some decent passes in. If you were lucky, you could be at the start line when the wind gusts dropped temporarily. Others had to abort their runs early as the wind blew them sideways. So I decided to get a shakedown pass in and chance my luck regardless of the conditions.

I had missed the adrenalin you get as you reach the start line at Speed Week. Finally, I would get to ride the bike I have spent years working on. The marshal gave me the signal to go, I started the bike and took off.

The bike felt good as I accelerated through the gears. Then all of a sudden, I started getting pushed to the left. I did what I could to counteract the wind, but it was too strong. Before I knew it a gust had blown me over 20 metres sideways. I was off the graded portion of the track and in the rough natural lake surface. I rolled off the throttle and got control of the bike. Then I signalled to the medics that I was ok.

Day 2

Elliott Andrews on the Motorcycles LSR1 MKII land speed race bike during Speed Week 2021 at Lake Gairdner in South Australia

The next day we repeated our preparations and kept a close eye on conditions. After my first pass I got thinking. Do I chance it and risk damaging the bike in the gusty conditions? Or, do I sit and wait it out? The forecast was meant to improve later in the week. But I was itching to race. So I decided to take the risk and lined up, hoping the conditions would improve. Unfortunately, I ended up getting pushed off the track once again. This time I nearly hit a mile marker on the edge of the track as the wind took me.

Day 3

It was frustrating having to abort my first two passes at DLRA Speed Week 2021. So I was determined to try and get two passes in on the Wednesday.  We got up early and headed for the lake.  However, as the sun rose, we could tell the weather wasn’t looking good. It was a bit black over Bills Mothers.  Still, the team prepped the bike and we headed to the start line as fast as we could to try and miss what was coming for us.

I took off from the start line and this time I could straight away feel that I was getting buffeted by a cross wind. But I managed to stay on track and build speed until the 2nd mile marker.  Then bam!  The cross wind got stronger and took me of the track again. I was just a passenger. 

The thunderstorm

The wind was building, and the sky was filling up with dark clouds. Shortly after returning to the pits it started to rain.  We found ourselves in the middle of the lake in the middle of a storm.  The rain was so heavy that within an hour the entire lake had filled up with 2 inches of water.  There was nothing we could do and nowhere to go so we just had to sit it out. 

The storm had passed, the sun had come out and the wind had dropped to nothing by mid-afternoon.  The water on the lake looked like glass, creating perfect reflections of the sky.  It was a surreal place to find yourself and my team made the most of the conditions and downtime by posing and capturing some awesome pictures.  There was no way that the lake could possibly dry out that day. It was anyone’s guess how long it would take.

Elliott Andrews on the Elliott Motorcycles LSR1 MKII land speed race bike during Speed Week 2021 at Lake Gairdner in South Australia

Day 4 & 5

Salt lake sunset during Speed Week 2021 at Lake Gairdner in South Australia

The lake was closed on Thursday with plenty of water still covering large portions of the track and pit area.  We watched and waited once again as the sun gradually dried everything out.  The race officials still held hope that it might be possible to get DLRA Speed Week 2021 back underway. So, we hung in there overnight. The sunsets and sunrises following the storm were particularly beautiful. 

The standing water had drained away from the race track and pit area by the Friday morning.  Initially, there was hope that we might get one more shot, but that hope quickly evaporated.  The race officials had to concede that was still too damp to race safely. So yet again, we would end the year empty handed.

My team and I have been working on so hard this campaign. It has become quite the ordeal. Despite everything that has got in our way over the past few years, we won’t give up. We will continue until I finally see 200 MPH on the dash.

And then onto the next record…

Elliott Motorcycles land speed racing team discussing the conditions in the pit area during Speed Week 2021 at Lake Gairdner in South Australia
Elliott Motorcycles land speed racing team preparing to race during Speed Week 2021 at Lake Gairdner in South Australia
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LSR1 MKII Track Test at Sydney Dragway

Elliott Andrews testing the Elliott Motorcycles LSR1 MKII land speed race bike at Sydney Dragway

LSR1 MKII Track Test at Sydney Dragway

On Monday 8 February 2021 Elliott Motorcycles completed a track test at Sydney Dragway of our LSR1 MKII race bike. All going well, our LSR1 MKII race bike would become the first Harley-Davidson® motorcycle in the world to run an Emtron engine management system.

Our first aim was to complete a few controlled test passes so that I could get the feel for the new setup of the bike. Secondly, we needed to make sure our onboard sensors/systems were working as we expected. Then, we needed to check that data was being recorded properly and to make minor adjustments if required. 

We had the sole use of the track for four hours. That might seem like a lot. However, it’s a very tight window when you’re testing a specially engineered machine for the first time. Good thing we did test the bike because we found a few gremlins we needed to sort before setting off for DLRA Speed Week 2021.

Elliott Motorcycles LSR1 MKII land speed race bike in black van
Elliott Motorcycles LSR1 MKII land speed race bike close up
No time to mess around

I was keen to make the most of the opportunity. We arrived at the track early and quickly got to work preparing the bike in the staging area. At this point I had only tested the bike on the dyno. So we didn’t fit the new fairings at first.  I wanted to make sure the upgrades and the new Emtron engine management system was working properly and safely. Anything could happen. If something did go wrong, I wanted to be able to quickly access all of the systems on the bike. I was as prepared as I could be. Dan Lesnock (Harley-Davidson ANZ Technical Lead) was there to help as well.

The First Pass

We started the bike as soon as our pit was setup and got it ready to go. I was excited. All going well, I’d be another step closer to achieve our goal of setting a new land speed record. I jumped on the bike and made my way through the tower to the start line.  Then paused momentarily to get my bike lined up and to let my team get in position. As soon as I was set, I got on the throttle.

Elliott Motorcycles LSR1 MKII land speed race bike built brave detail
Elliott Andrews testing the Elliott Motorcycles LSR1 MKII land speed race bike at Sydney Dragway

The power of the bike felt great, the bike just wanted to go. I used the opportunity to get a feel for the new riding position. It also gave me an opportunity to test the sensitivity of the new air shifter I had installed. The riding position was so different. It was more horizontal and more tucked in than the bike I had raced in 2018.

Sydney Dragway had just laid down a new track surface.  A side benefit of this track test was being able to get a feel for it. It was so much better than the old surface and it got me excited about the upcoming drag racing season. But I needed to stay focused on the task in hand.

Enjoying the Moment

The first run was a success despite discovering a few minor things which needed adjustment. So, we fitted the fairings and I went for another pass. Tucked in behind the new fairing this time the sound of the wind was gone. I could hear the bike so much more clearly. It was sounding great!

A few more checks and adjustments and a few more passes later we had done all that could be done. Time permitting, I could have kept going there all day. Unfortunately, reality set in and we had to get back to work. All in all it was a successful day. So I was very happy that we did a track test at Sydney Dragway before heading to the salt.

Elliott Andrews testing the Elliott Motorcycles LSR1 MKII land speed race bike at Sydney Dragway
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Macarthur Flat Track 2020

Macarthur Flat Track 2020

2020 was a year where racing events were few and far between. However, I did manage to get some track time in during September at Macarthur Flat Track in Sydney’s southwest.

It has been a couple of years since I’ve thrown a leg over our hooligan race bike and opened her up on a flat track, even then it was on a completely different track both in terms of size and surface. At first I felt like Bambi on ice. But as I got more laps behind me I started to feel more comfortable.

Jamie Portelli and Elliott Andrews

It’s always great to catch up with Jamie Portelli and Ryan Vella and watch them cutting laps on their custom Harley-Davidson® Sportster® motorcycles. While I was still getting the hang of it, Jamie and Ryan were carving it up. It looked all too easy watching them make their way through a field of MX bikes.

These guys have definitely made the most of the new track at Appin and will be the ones to watch when racing starts up again this year.

Macarthur District Motorcycle Sportsmen club and Bankstown Wiley Park Motorcycle Club have created an awesome track with a great surface. The oval has two straightaways, one flat corner and one slightly banked corner, it’s a great for testing or getting out for a joyride for a on a Sunday morning.

It’s going to be a busy start to the year completing some epic customer projects and preparing for the salt, but I can’t wait to get some more laps in at Macarthur Flat Track during 2021.

Ryan Vella hooligan race bike at Macarthur Flat Track
Motorcycle racers Ryan Vella, Elliott Andrews, Victor Navilly and Jamie Portelli
Jamie Portelli hooligan race bike at Macarthur Flat Track
Motorcycle racers Ryan Vella and Jamie Portelli
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World Record Attempt in the Balance

Elliott Motorcycles Land Speed Racing Start Line Australia

World Record Attempt

in the Balance

Greg Wapling (President of Dry Lakes Racers Australia) announced on 16 March 2020 that Speed Week 2020 and the World Speed Trials Australia would be postponed indefinitely. We were due to leave Sydney just 2 days later to participate in both events. Since then, the DLRA have confirmed we’ll have to wait for Speed Week 2021 for the next chance to break an Australian record. However, the World Speed Trials Australia remains in the balance.  Without a sponsor for the event my world record attempt could be dead in the water.

Elliott Motorcycles LSR1 MKII race bike build
Elliott Andrews with Bondi Films
Initial Impact

My team and I had spent soo many late nights getting final preparations in order in the last few months before DLRA Speed Week 2020 . We were dead tired and I was pretty much out of the loop with what was going on in the world. The DLRA was boasting perfect conditions for racing a few days prior (on the 12th). So at first I couldn’t believe the news. But as we caught up with how fast the COVID-19 pandemic was spreading around the world the realization quickly set in.

As COVID-19 spread international and state borders started to close. My parents were scheduled to fly from Birmingham UK to meet us in South Australia. But now, even if they did fly they wouldn’t be allowed to join us at the lake due to the new quarantine measures. For me personally that came as a big blow. I realized it would be a long time before being able to see them again.

Land speed racer Elliott Andrews at Speed Week on Lake Gairdner

Then within days medical and emergency services personnel were advised to forego any non-essential activities. So the DLRA could no longer guarantee adequate safety measures for racers and their teams. I fully supported the DLRA’s decision to postpone the events given the circumstances. They had no option really.

Still dreaming of salt

Racing on a salt lake is like nothing else. Especially here in Australia where the remoteness requires a lot of planning and preparation for racing teams. There is no electricity, no water supply and no phone signal at Lake Gairdner. What you bring with you is what you have to work with. You’re a very long way from a hospital if you get hurt or sick. Still, leaving the city behind to immerse yourself in the desert for a week is the dream for me.  Living by sunrise and sunset, racing alongside likeminded people.

Elliott Andrews land speed racer Elliott Motorcycles

I must have dreamed of getting back to the salt a million times since my last visit in 2018. My team and I have been working on my next land speed campaign for well over a year now. I’ve been to Lake Gairdner three times, but this time is different. I am aiming to go far beyond anything I’ve done before. My goal is to break a world record and join the 200 mph club in the process.

A few months on, government-imposed restrictions are starting to lift in Australia. We’re starting to see professional sport resume. So my team and I have initiated a new plan for Speed Week 2021 taking advantage of the extra time. Meanwhile, James is working hard behind the scenes to try and help the DLRA find the sponsorship they need to make the World Speed Trials Australia possible at some point in the future. I’ve got my fingers crossed.

Elliott Andrews Emtron Australia Dyno
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Huge 400 Thunder Season Ahead

Corey Buttigieg at Santo's Summer Thunder 2020 (part of the 400 Thunder season)

Huge 400 Thunder Season Ahead

Corey Buttigieg's 400 Thunder Top Bike campaign remains on track despite all drag racing events having been postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

With COVID-19 restrictions starting to lift around Australia, elite sports such as the Supercars, AFL and NRL are starting to restart their seasons and everyone seems to now be speculating about when drag racing will resume.

With such a long and unusual break in racing this year we’re all hoping that new event dates can be announced soon.  The next round of the 400 Thunder Australian Professional Drag Racing Series is sure to be big and so fingers crossed motorsport fans will be able to come out and support their favourite race teams in a big way as well.

Corey Buttigieg Racing at the 2018 Winternationals
Top Fuel Racing at Sydney Dragway
Elliott Andrews at Nitro Thunder 2019

The NSW Government will take advantage of current track closures to undertake a $33 million upgrade of Sydney Motorsport Park, which includes $11 million for Sydney Dragway.  The upgrades include a new concrete track surface, as well as a bunch of upgrades to pit lane and spectator areas.  I can’t wait to see the new facilities and test out the new track.  Fingers crossed it sorts out the dip in the braking zone.

In the meanwhile, we're getting ready

Huge thank you to everyone who has been keeping me busy with their projects through COVID-19. I can’t wait to show you all the cool stuff being developed for when racing gets back underway around Australia later this year.

Speaking with Corey Buttigieg on the phone the other day he was keen to get back on track as soon as interstate travel bans lift and new event dates can be announced.  I can’t wait to be trackside supporting him.

On 16 January 2020, Corey Buttigieg and his Fastamoto team arrived at Sydney Dragway to begin the IHRA registration process for his upcoming campaign to race in the premier Top Bike bracket of the 2020/21 400 Thunder Australian Professional Drag Racing Series. His new nitro powered top fuel motorcycle with over 1,000 horsepower will propel Corey down the quarter mile quicker than we’ve ever seen him go before.

Tap here to read the full story from the 2020 Santo’s Summer Thunder.

Corey Buttigieg and Elliott Andrews with Top Fuel Motorcycle
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LSR1 MKII Race Bike Development

Elliott Motorcycles LSR1 MKII race bike on the dyno

LSR1 MKII Race Bike Development

While racing at Lake Gairdner in 2018 it became clear that there was opportunity to develop our land speed motorcycle further.

I was happy with the upgrades we had made for my Australian land speed record in 2018. The engine performance, tuning and custom-made controls were all working perfectly. But I could tell there was so much more opportunity in this bike. Particularly as I reached 5th gear for the first time on the track. So, I stripped the bike and started working on a redesign. The Elliott Motorcycles LSR1 MKII race bike development began within 6 months of returning home.

 Dry Lakes Racers Australia (DLRA) soon announced that they were changing their rule book from 2019 onward. They also requested expressions of interest from racers for a World Speed Trials. The trials would be held at Lake Gairdner over a weekend in 2020. Of course we were interested!

Elliott Motorcycles handmade 2into1 performance exhaust
Elliott Motorcycles LSR1 MKII race bike build
Elliott Motorcycles carbon fibre fairing

There was so much more development I had wanted to put into the bike before heading to the salt in 2018. Now it was time to put it all into action and chase my dream of setting a world land speed record. As well as smashing my own Australian record in the process. But ambitious plans such as these don’t come easy. We had a lot of work to do and time was flying by with so many adjustments to consider and implement.

I wanted to develop an aero package that would match the power of the LSR1 MKII race bike.

Firstly, with more downforce we planned to eliminate the wheel spin I had experienced at top speed. Secondly, with more streamlining we planned to leave a smaller wake and reduce drag.

We decided to design our fairings from the ground up rather than going with an off-the-shelf fairing solution. Our plan was to develop the aero package and return to Lake Gairdner for Speed Week 2019. That way we could test the changes. We would also have a whole year to fine tune and make adjustments ahead of the World Speed Trials. It was always going to be an ambitious approach. But we decided to tackle it head on. This gave us a huge opportunity to develop our capability and have the biggest possible impact to our top speed.

Aeroynamic Engineering

Sammy Diasinos (aerodynamicist and founder of Dynamic Aero Solutions) was introduced through friends involved in World Time Attack Challenge. Sammy was well known for his success at WTAC. We knew Sammy was up for the task even though he had never worked on a motorcycle. Sammy previously worked in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) for Williams, Toyota and Caterham Formula 1 teams. He had also previously contributed to Sunswift eVe. Sunswift eVe set an FIA land speed record (the fastest electric vehicle to complete a distance of 500km).

We enlisted Sammy’s help and had the motorcycle 3D scanned and digitally modelled. I sat on the bike in racing position for the scans. This meant Sammy could simulate the conditions upon which we had set our Australian land speed record.

First, we had to make sure that the model and environmental parameters matched our record run. Then we checked the regulations for allowed fairing and fender extents before exploring a range of design options. Extensive simulations proved our expectations correct. With several aerodynamic adjustments we could eliminate the wheel spin experienced on the track, reduce drag, increase downforce and dramatically increase our projected top speed.

Carbon Fibre Fairing & Fender Fabrication

Drag racer Terry Jackson from IM Composite Technologies helped us assess and fine-tune the options. We had foam plugs made (CNC cut from the 3D design files). Terry would use the plugs to form the moulds and then create the final carbon fibre components. This would ensure the fabricated fairings and fender would match the 3D model precisely.

Unfortunately, Speed Week 2019 was looming by the time the foam plugs were ready.  There wasn’t enough time to make the carbon fibre components. We also had to complete a range of the other adjustments to complement the new aero package. James and I were gutted to abort our plans to test on the salt in 2019. But we remained excited by the progress we had made towards our world land speed record attempt in 2020.

Terry Jackson and Elliott Andrews work on a carbon fibre fairing
Performance Adjustments

As the year progressed several other adjustments were made to complement the new aero package. We opted for a higher, flatter riding position with a custom tank which allows a lower helmet position. Handlebars and foot pegs have been brought inward to reduce frontal area. We changed to a pneumatic gear shifter to support the new riding position and built a new solid rear swingarm.

In 2018 I had used an aftermarket 2-into-2 exhaust due to limited time. To complete the engine upgrade I wanted to design and fabricate a 2-into-1 performance exhaust system. I calculated the optimum diameter and length of the exhaust for the engine configuration at our projected top speed. Then I set about designing the system. The headers were measured to precision, providing equal pipe lengths to the collector. The collector was then designed to manage air flow and pressure returning through the system.

Elliott Motorcycles LSR1 MKII race bike on the dyno
Emtron SL4 ECU with mount and MIL spec wiring

Finally, we installed an Emtron engine management system compete with MIL spec wiring and a range of sensors to enable data collection. I wanted data on how the engine and aero package performs and how the motorcycle handles under race conditions.

Our LSR1 MKII race bike was strapped onto the dyno at Emtron Australia on 14 March 2020. After a long day we had successfully tuned the first Harley-Davidson in the world with an Emtron engine management system.

Having spent over a year redesigning and rebuilding our LSR1 MKII race bike, our team will test the bike at Sydney Dragway. Then off to Lake Gairdner for the World Speed Trials with a targeted top speed of 200 mph (321 km/h).

Elliott Motorcycles LSR1 MKII race bike build

Sponsors who helped us with this build:

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Santo’s Summer Thunder 2020

Corey Buttigieg with his Top Fuel Motorcycle

Santo's Summer Thunder 2020

Corey Buttigieg and his Fastamoto team arrived at Sydney Dragway on Thursday night having driven 8 ½ hours from Melbourne, and they were ready for a huge weekend.

12 months earlier Corey’s new top fuel motorcycle had arrived, after inspecting and updating a few things on the bike Corey was getting ready to begin the licencing process with IHRA Australia ahead of the 2020/21 400 Thunder Australian Professional Drag Racing Series.  So I was eager to help him as much as I could at the Santo’s Summer Thunder 2020.

While all of us had drag racing experience, none of us had worked on a top fuel motorcycle. These nitro fuelled machines are capable of 5 second passes, exploding to life with over 1,000 horsepower. Corey’s fastest ever pass on his Pro Stock motorcycle is 7.088 seconds. It was going to be a big step up and all new territory for me, and this weekend proved it was going to be a great challenge.

Friday Testing

Corey and the Fastamoto team spent Friday getting setup in the pits and getting the bike ready to race. I arrived at the track at about 6pm, just after the first time slot that evening during which Corey could test on the track amongst the other 400 Thunder Australian Professional Drag Racing Series brackets. However, when I arrived the rear cylinder head, cylinder and piston had been removed. So it was clear there wouldn’t be any track time that night.

Corey Buttigieg's Top Fuel Motorcycle
Corey Buttigieg with his Top Fuel Motorcycle
Corey Buttigieg and his Fastamoto team at 400 Thunder event

The engine was blowing oil out of the exhaust.  After we had the engine striped down, we found that there were a few clearances that were out of spec. So the cylinders needed to be re-bored and honed and the piston ring lands had to be machined to give the rings the correct clearance. There’s no room for error with these machines. Everything has to be perfect or the consequences of an engine failure could be catastrophic. Corey managed to get the engine rebuilt by 2am with the help of his team, other drag racing mates and competitors who wanted to see Corey succeed.

Corey Buttigieg Burnout at 400 Thunder event
Saturday Race Day

There was still plenty to do on Saturday morning to get the bike ready. So I threw myself headfirst into helping Corey. We worked for hours reassembling, adjusting, testing and problem solving. By about 5pm the bike was ready and there were two time slots left in the day to start the licencing process with IHRA Australia. First step in the process is to execute a successful burnout.  Then a successful launch, demonstrating Corey can handle the bike.  Then he can complete a pass.

After 12 months of preparation and 2 solid days of work in the pits Corey and the team started the bike and rolled it forward to the burnout pad. The Sydney Dragway crowd had been waiting in anticipation to see Corey on a top fuel bike for the first time. He twisted the throttle and smoke erupted from the rear wheel.

Unfortunately, following that first test the team discovered a safety issue which needed repair. So Corey didn’t get back to the starting line for the final session.

Well, that's racing.

Corey plans to be back at Sydney Dragway for the Gulf Western Oil Nitro Thunder in May.  You can be sure I’ll be there to help out once again.  If you haven’t experienced Top Fuel racing yet then Corey’s progression to the Top Bike bracket of the 400 Thunder Australian Professional Drag Racing Series is just another reason why you should.

Corey Buttigieg and his Fastamoto team is proudly supported by Covertite, Royal Ink, Geelong Harley-Davidson, IM Composite Technologies and Elliott Motorcycles.

Corey Buttigieg and his Fastamoto team at 400 Thunder event
Corey Buttigieg at Santo's Summer Thunder 2020 (part of the 400 Thunder season)
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Dust Hustle 8

Jacinta Siracusa Moto Doll in Dust Hustle 8

Dust Hustle 8

I’ve been wanting to get to a Dust Hustle for a while now.

When everyone you talk to about Dust Hustle says it’s an awesome event, you know it’ll be well worth the drive to get there. There are multiple dirt tracks to ride and lots of cool bikes.  You’ve got multiple classes for motocross, road and old school bikes. Riders wear all sorts of interesting costumes. There’s great food stalls and plenty of Young Henrys.  So when you’ve finished throwing dirt its time to throw down a beer!

Jacinta Siracusa Moto Doll with Elliott Andrews in Dust Hustle 8
Jacinta Siracusa Moto Doll with Elliott Andrews in Dust Hustle 8

There was a long day of driving ahead of us. So we got up at the crack of dawn, packed everything into a van and hit the road. 12 hours later we arrived at Queensland Moto Park and set up camp. It seemed like half of the other riders and their crews had already arrived.  So there was plenty of activity around. The camp always has a great vibe just before a day riding, wherever you are. 

It may seem crazy considering this was my first Dust Hustle but a month or so earlier I had invited Jacinta Siracusa (AKA Moto Doll) to ride our bike. I love to ride, but I also like to support other riders. Especially when you know they’ll have a lot of fun on our bike. I had a good feeling that Jacinta would be well suited to our Hooligan Racer (a custom H-D Street 750). The only thing was I built this bike for flat track racing, not for comfort. It has a hard racing seat, a high slung exhaust and no front brake.  A full day of riding on this brut was sure to take its toll on the body. Jacinta took it in her stride though.

Jacinta Siracusa Moto Doll in Dust Hustle 8
Jacinta Siracusa Moto Doll in Dust Hustle 8
The big Day

The next morning, with the rider briefing and bike scrutineering complete, Jacinta geared up and made her way to the start line for the flat track. She wasted no time taking off with the other riders. Everyone looked like they were having a grand old time out there. It was great to see all the riders sliding around the track and it made me wish I was riding. Despite the mayhem, we only saw a few people lay their bikes down. On the second run on the flat track Jacinta came off a couple of times. Nothing too serious. Massive thanks to Luke Afiasco from Karupt Customz for laying his bike down to help Jacinta pick up hers. Legend. 

After a short break, Jacinta then set out to conquer the enduro track. It was a longer, narrow dirt track with tight corners. Also a few jumps and a few trees to steer clear of. It was awesome to watch riders kicking up dust and sending their road bikes over the jumps. Despite being relatively unfamiliar with our bike Jacinta road hard all day.

Would we do it all again? 

For sure! Big thanks to Shinko for our rubber, Young Henrys for the tinnies, LDV Australia for supporting us on our journey and the guys at Ellaspede for organising a great event. 

Head to our Videos page to see a sweet clip by Bondi Films.

Photographs by Patrick Gatling.

Jacinta Siracusa Moto Doll in Dust Hustle 8
Jacinta Siracusa Moto Doll with Elliott Andrews in Dust Hustle 8