Creating our 2018 land speed Motorcycle

I started work on our first race bike three months before DLRA Speed Week 2018.  It’s an event that land speed racers spend all year preparing for.  I knew we were going to be up against it from day one, but we decided we were going to be there.
There was everything to be done;

We had to build our 2018 land speed motorcycle, form a racing team, confirm sponsors and arrange everything we would need for the 4000km journey into the remote outback.

Building a race bike with our own product, and with limited time, proved a great challenge. Ideas and planning only get you so far when you’re in unchartered territory. We started with one of the first 2018 Fat Bob’s to land in Australia. Within a few months it was in pieces. Parts were placed on shelves and in boxes throughout the workshop.

So how far could we push the new Milwaukee 8 engine? I had some level of expectation, but we were going to be one of the first to take it to the limit. There was a lot of work ahead.

2018 H-D Fat Bob with Elliott Motorcycles cover
Disassembling a Milwaukee-8 Engine
Designing & Prototyping

I started designing and prototyping the parts we would need to turn it into a race bike. Pistons were custom made, balance shafts were modified, a new camshaft ordered, and cylinder heads sent off to be worked by RAMS Head Service.

Sometimes I’d spend hours just staring at the half-completed bike. Looking at it night after night made the task seem impossible. Speed Week at Lake Gairdner is determined by weather and only occurs once each year. There was no way we were going to miss it. We were going to get there no matter what.

Buell Components on Stripped Down Race Bike

Over the next month I looked at several different wheel configurations. The wheels had to fit the Shinko tyres that I wanted to run. In the end I selected Buell wheels. 

Fitting the front wheel was fairly straightforward. But the rear wheel took some brain power. It didn’t fit in the swingarm. I kept telling myself that there must be another way. In the end, I did some extra machining and made up some new wheel spacers. Meanwhile, I decided to remove the front brake and use the front brake lever to control the rear brake. There was no need for a front brake on the salt.

Elliott Motorcycles Race Bike Build
Elliott Motorcycles Salt Race Bike
Manufacturing & Reassembly

We had a lot of big ideas and not a lot of time to act on them. The rearsets and shifter with mid-mount primary conversion had to be designed and manufactured. The handmade rear fender and seat also took time to fabricate. Once the tank, fenders, seat pan and front fairing went off to Marc at Sydney Custom Paint it was time to reassemble the engine with our new components.

Three months after commencing tear down our race bike was finally back together, filled with ETS race fuel and ready for dyno tuning. There was no time for a test ride though, the first time I would ride the bike would be on the salt.

I worked 19 hours straight some days and loved every minute. By the time we left for the salt I was exhausted. But our 2018 land speed motorcycle was ready, and the journey ahead was well worth it.

Elliott Motorcycles Land Speed Race Bike
Elliott Motorcycles Land Speed Race Bike

Sponsors who helped us with this build:

Latest Blog

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.

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 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.

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

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.

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 on our LSR1 MKII race bike at Sydney Dragway. 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.

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.

Elliott Motorcycles Land Speed Racing Start Line Australia

World Record Attempt in the Balance

On 16 March 2020, just 2 days before our scheduled departure from Sydney to participate in Speed Week 2020 and the World Speed Trials Australia on the salt at Lake Gairdner, the DLRA announced that both events would be postponed indefinitely.