SPEED RACER

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Hamilton‘s Alan Thoresen and his Kawasaki ZX-14 “Black Thunder” are getting closer to his third attempt on the Bonneville Salt Flats at Speed Week 2009.

The event runs from August 8-14.

The event attracts Land Speed Racers from around the world who do their utmost to attain speeds in their cars and motorcycles well in excess of what a normal motorist might envisage.

The target for Thoresen this year is 214mph (or 344kph) when he runs in a Modified Partial Streamline Fuel Class. Accompanying Alan and Black Thunder  will be Auckland racer Dean Veale who will be running a Suzuki Hayabusa in a modified class for his first attempt at Bonneville.

This year the Black Thunder Team will consist of Alan Thoresen, team owner and rider, his wife Violet who is team PR and recovery vehicle driver, and Andy Goodridge from Te Awamutu, who will be wearing the hat of crew chief, as Neil Powell (crew chief and mechanic for Bonneville 2007/2008) has had to return to the UK for family commitments this year.

Both Alan and Andy will carry out all mechanical work needed on the Salt Flats as required on Black Thunder. The conditions normally require a strip down of the bike and a wash to remove salt at the end of each days racing, other wise the corrosive effect of the salt will take over and cause any number of gremlins with the motorcycle electronics.

With most of the preparation work done on “Black Thunder”, a final test run of the bike is planned before it is packed up for shipment to Bonneville at the end of the month.

Thoresen states that the final preparation for the runs is completed at Bonneville as the conditions on the Salt Flats can vary from a soft, moist surface to a dry hard surface and it is not until you arrive that you can prepare for the actual conditions. This may mean anything from the addition or removal of lead weight on the bike to tyre changes and experimenting with pressures to achieve the best traction.

“It is not unusual to be at high speeds, 180mph for example and have the rear wheel spinning at speeds over 210mph, so it gives you some indication of the challenges faced with traction on the salt surface.

Thoresen has run the same Kawasaki ZX-14 in different configurations at the last two speed week events on the Bonneville Salt flats in 2007 and in 2008.

He comments that racing on the Salt, although it has an element of danger, becomes very addictive, and you just want to go faster. He says that it brings a meaning of reality to the Term ” I Feel the Need for Speed”.

Alan Thoresen will be 54 years old at Speedweek 2009, and would be one of the older group of motorcyclists racing at Bonneville. Age is no deterrent he says, and has proven that he can still give what it takes by winning the NZDRA Points series for 2009 for Modified Bike, and holding the No 2 position for 2007 and 2008, and in addition has held and still currently holds NZ National Records for Drag Racing on his Kawasaki ZX-14 Motorcycle.

Thoresen maintains that the flow of adrenalin while racing keeps the mind sharp and the body youthful!!

He comments that the great thing about drag racing is that it gives everybody the opportunity to have a go on their bike or in their car, under safe, controlled conditions, at selected events such as the Night Drags at Meremere, so it gives the younger racers a chance to go fast with out breaking the law and endangering themselves and others on the road.

Keep a watch out for more news on Alan Thoresen and his Kawasaki ZX-14 Black Thunder.

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