October 25th 2009 - Sacramento, CA - Sacramento Raceway Park - 2009 Star VMax Drag Fest
Photos by fonzie
We did it! Our first of many more to come Drag Fest events here in beautiful California. For www.starVmax.com and its members (including our sister site www.rswarrior.com) we went all out and rented the Sacramento Raceway Park for a full day of drag racing, adrenaline, roaring engines, screaming tires and the smell of burned rubber mixed with a hint of race gas. If you have not experienced an event like that, you don't know what you have missed. Better even, if you have not taken your bike down that quarter miles, you have really no idea what it is all about.
Drag Fest is all about making it happen for our members. As much as we were going for fast times, we wanted to make it an experience for our fellow members and their own rides. Several of our folks took the opportunity and ran their VMaxes and Warriors down the track - many of them for the very first time in their lives. The track personnel was there to provide help and tips and then we had our special guest - drag racing pro - long time racer and tuning expert: Dale Walker.
Dale was there to show us some fast runs but also to provide help and input for all of us - more or less rookies. How many of us have raced in the 70s and 80s - some of our racers weren't even born back then. Dale explained the do's and don'ts, stepped next to us racers on take off to see in great detail what we where doing.
For those that did their first runs down the track it was an exhilarating experience. While some where unsure whether to run at all, it only takes a single pass to get hooked. Once you are out there and feel the vibration of your own roaring engine, the power pushing you away from the starting line - there is no way back. On and on they went. And since we had kept it to a private event, we had no lines to wait, no waiting periods. When our racers where ready, they took their bikes for a spin.
The Sacramento Raceway Park track is top notch. The local track team did a fabulous job prepping the track - including VHT for some killer traction - and keeping us engaged. They too seemed to enjoy the event and where quite surprised how easily our stock motor VMaxes motored into the 9.5 sec runs touching almost 150 mph (Best run came in at 149.9 mph). All that while the climate was not really on our side. We booked a late October date in hopes for a cool day. Instead we got the last summer day it seems, hitting 85 degrees at the track in the afternoon while the barometer was falling to 29.97 inches.
We prepped two of our bikes for the event. As reported earlier both bikes - while setup differently - pushed about 202 SAE hps to the wheel. All that power made for some fast trap speeds. Tony's bike (ynot1115) is a rather stock looking VMax with a few key modifications: X-Type pipe, Monster Big Air, PCV, Quckshifter, Drag Slick, Lowering link and straps for the front. Lowering the bike isn't making a big difference on the VMax but it surely helped some of us keep the front wheel down more easily. A Pro Rider would do as good without the lowering but we all wanted to have some serious fun.
After all was said and done these are some of the results we where able to pull off (raw uncorrected numbers):
Ricky Corey 9.49@149mph (first time to the drags and first time on a VMax)
Dale Walker 9.54@149mph
fxstein 9.74@143mph (2nd time to the track on the VMax - less than 10 times total)
ynot1115 9.86@142mph (first time to the track)
kiwipaul 10.4@136mph (totally stock bike with backrest and first time on the track)
After some initial 10 sec runs for myself I found the way into the 9.9s and leveled out at 9.8s runs rather consistently until Ricky shows up next to me in the other lane and that little encouragement got me to break the 9.7s.
Now there are fast professional riders out there that weigh in at less than 120 lbs, well I sure am not one of them. Fully suited up I am touching 260 lbs. To run in the 9.7 and 9.8s was a big surprise to me. My best 60 ft time was 1.59 all others being in the 1.6s. With 100 lbs difference to Rickey that's about a 3/10th handicap, and it shows.
This should make a lot of bigger guys out there very happy. Running in the 9s is totally possible for all of us on these modified VMaxes with stock motors.
As for the Pros: It won't take another 6 months an we will see flat 9s maybe even very high 8s runs. Certainly a a purpose built Vmax with 80-100 lbs in weight loss would do that today given it makes enough power.
Dale Walker was the man of the day. He provided input and help, taught many of us how to drag race, what to do and what not. From correct position on the bike, adjusting the levers, launch rpm, shift points - his help and dedication was priceless. On his very first run he pulled out a 9.59@147mph. His best 60 ft times came in at very low 1.560s with 1.563 being his best launch. As he was getting more and more familiar with the bike, so did the sun and the temps climbed constantly preventing him to break into the 1.40s or even lower. I thought I heard a: "Maybe I should get myself one of these VMaxes after all..." - Yes you should! :-)
Ricky's advantage for the day were 15 lbs of less weight than Dale. Enough to barely make him take the win. Just shows how much your weight influences drag racing. He got really confident on Tony's bike and if the clutch would have held up, he could have gotten even better.
As for photo and video coverage we got some help from the best in the industry. www.motorcycle.com sent their star photographer Alphonse Palaima aka fonzie to cover the event. Expect to see a detailed story about the event on motorcycle.com. His shots, onboard and track side video are freaking awesome. These are just a few of his shots and you can expect to see more over the days and weeks to come.
We also had a good showing of Gen I and Gen II Vmax owners with some 25-30 bikes showing up. Anything from stock VMaxes to wild customs with 280s and tons of European aftermaket parts. The Warrior community showed up with a couple Warriors that made runs with us at the track.
No matter who set foot on the track, they all got hooked. While careful and maybe intimidated at first, a single run made junkies out of all of them. If you have not tried it, you don't know what you are missing.
Star VMax Drag Fest will be back for 2010 and we have cool plans to make it even more exciting. Thanks for all that came, thanks for all the cheering and getting to know more awesome folks from around the area.
Special Thanks go to Dale Walker for his time and effort, his electric shifter prototype - San Jose Yamaha for their support and help - Evoluzione for their last minute help with a replacement quick-shifter - Motorcycle.com for some awesome coverage - and last but not least Many Thanks to fonzie for some killer footage - Photo's by fonzie.
To see more photos of the event (by fonzie) check out our gallery: Click Here
To see more photos taken by our members check out the gallery: Click Here
Here some early video footage we shot that day (plenty more to come): Click Here
To discuss on our forums: Click Here
Check out the Full Coverage Article at Motorcycle.com!
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