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Texas Mile, March 2012 - Chills, thrills and spills

Joined
Aug 23, 2008
Messages
422
Location
Corpus Christi, TX
Warning: photos of exotic cars and fast motorcycles may cause blurred vision, excessive sweating, shortness of breath and high blood pressure. Proceed at your own risk.

I spent last weekend at the Texas Mile, a top-speed, standing mile shootout held twice a year at Chase Field, Beeville. The event was held up in Berclair until the Navy reclaimed their landing field last year. This was the third time to be in Beeville.

CMA (Christian Motorcyclist Association) has been working the mile for at least four years now. You'll see us at the gate, taking your money ($15 for a spectator pass for the weekend), and giving you a wristband. We'll be at the starting grid with coffee and ice water, at our ministry tent, directing spectator traffic and at the finish line, handing out the timing slips.

We have CMA volunteers show up from all over the state. This time we had an all-time high of about 40 on hand at one time or another. Word is getting out. The Mile is a lot of work and sun, but also a lot of fun.

On to some of the pictures and stories, though I didn't take a lot of pictures this year.

The weekend actually starts Thursday afternoon when the Texas Mile staff shows up from Houston and starts setting up. The racers start arriving and we generally try to have 3 or 4 people on hand to meet them at the gate and check them off the list as they come in. The racers still have to register at the Texas Mile tent.

One thing that caught my eye on the registration list was a diesel motorcycle.

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This thing is a Track, manufactured in the Netherlands, and has a 3-cylinder, 800cc engine. I think top speed is about 100. He ran it a few times, but I never was around when he did.

So much for Thursday.

Friday, the racing lit off at 8:00 AM, but there weren't many runs made Friday morning. A biker went down hard after a 220 mph run and stopped things for about an hour, then a car engine came apart, then the fog came in. The racers understand that's just part of the game.

Some of the cars and bikes lined up at the starting grid. The variety is always amazing.

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The Corvette, no. 71, belongs to the Crawfords, some of my favorite people at the mile. They're from Hatfield, Arkansas, hometown of CMA, and I see them everytime at the mile. Lee is about 75 now. His Corvette was topping out at about 162 mph. He and his daughter had a friendly competition going to see who could get the best speed out of it. I think Lee came out best.

A Nissan GTR. There are usually several at the mile.

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A 1963 Corvette, just beautiful:
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There were a few circle-track cars on hand. It was funny to see them with parachutes hanging off the back.

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Joined
Aug 23, 2008
Messages
422
Location
Corpus Christi, TX
A few exotics and imports

There weren't any Lamborghinis running this time, but there were a few Porsches and Ferraris.

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And a carbon-fiber bodied Viper that gave me goosebumps every time I saw it.

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And there were plenty of bikes on hand. Most popular are Hyabusas and ZX-14's, but there was also a KLR with a race fairing running about 120.

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A shot of the spectator area at the starting line:

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Another GTR:

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And some old-school iron:

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A Vette at the starting line:

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Joined
Aug 23, 2008
Messages
422
Location
Corpus Christi, TX
Some of the stories and how speed classes work

My favorite story at the mile was Marty Ladwig, a drag-racer from San Antonio, showing up with a bone-stock 2012 ZX-14R from the Universal City dealer's showroom floor. Running on pump gas, it had a best run of 195.7 mph. Amazing. I didn't get any pictures, though I did get to hand Marty a number of timing slips on Sunday afternoon that were between 193 and 195 mph. Marty is a very nice fellow. We spent quite a bit of time talking with him at the starting grid.

Here's a youtube video, if it works:

[ame="http://youtu.be/DBD9LBQ5rRs"]http://youtu.be/DBD9LBQ5rRs[/ame]

A bit about the licence classes: When the Texas Mile moved to Chase Field, they instituted speed classes for the drivers. Here's a summary of the classes listed on the top of the box with the various wristbands we were putting on the drivers as they moved up through the classes.

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You start with a Class C licence, which is a silver wristband. When you do a pass between 140 and 165 mph, you get bumped up to a Class B with a purple wristband. If you exceed 165, you get yelled at, stay Class C and go around to try it again.

With a Class B licence, a pass between 180 and 200 mph, will move you up to a Class A green wristband. Notice the window is tighter.

To move from Class A to a Class AA unlimited licence takes a pass between 205 and 220, a window tighter yet. You keep your licence level from one event to the next. The idea of the speed windows to move up is that you demonstrate that you have enough ability to hit a target speed, and aren't just going through with your foot down and your eyes closed. It can get a bit tricky if your vehicle only has a tach, but not a speedometer. Most people don't need more than a pass or two to hit the window, get another wristband and move on to the next class. As one of the guys handing out timing slips, I had to see if drivers had their appropriate wristbands and give them the next one when they qualified for the next class.

To further complicate matters, cars have two tech classes at the mile, the basic tech and a 190 tech. Passing basic tech doesn't need much more than a helmet and decent tires. Passing 190 tech requires a full roll cage, 5-point racing harness, fire extinguisher, nomex suit, etc. Vehicles topping 190 need to be checked to make sure they have their 190 tech sticker. We usually bust one or two people an event for exceeding 190 without being teched for it, but I don't think that happened this year.

This fellow, however, driving an SSR set up for Bonneville, had fits. The truck is a pickup body on a Trailblazer frame with a Corvette engine.

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I think his truck did 200+ on the salt flats, but he was stymied at the Mile trying to get a Class B wristband. He needed to hit 140 to 165 mph, but kept coming through the trap at 137 point whatever, too slow to get bumped up. He said his GPS speedometer was showing 150 and kept complaining about bracket racing. I didn't see him running Sunday. I guess he got disgusted and went home.

A Champ car that was very quick.

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Joined
Aug 23, 2008
Messages
422
Location
Corpus Christi, TX
The Heavy Hitters

Usually, bikes are fastest at the mile. A guy ran 275 up at Berclair the last time the Mile was held there, however this time it was the cars. Two of the fastest bikes crashed during the weekend, so that took them out of the picture.

Speaking of crashes, Saturday morning, a group of sportbikers showed up to spectate at the Mile. One of the riders started spectating too early and plowed into the bike ahead of him as they were making the turn on to the property. The Texas Mile people always have a LOT of cops on hand for event security, so there were plenty of them to work the wreck. The bike that caused the accident got a ticket, but the bike in front, which was totalled, collected three tickets; expired licence, expired registration and no insurance. When the wrecker showed up to haul the bike off, he didn't want them to take it and wound up paying the towtruck driver another $150 to just go away. He didn't have a very good day.

This LMR Camaro is a very strong runner.

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It seemed like everytime it made a pass, the driver was upset when he got his timing slip. This thing was running 240 to 250 consistently and would show up with steam and smoke coming out from under the hood, dripping oil on the tarmac. That Camaro has dyno'd at 1800 rearwheel hp.

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This was his speed on one of his passes (you can see the speed display in the background):

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Jennifer Robertson was on hand on a borrowed Hayabusa, running 220, making her the fastest woman at the mile. Several other ladies running grinned when they got their timing slips and said they beat their husbands. I said that was spousal abuse.

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But this time, the baddest of the bad was this Hennessey-built Ford GT, with an estimated 2000 rwhp.

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I got to hand the driver this timing slip Saturday afternoon. The 200 mph number is the half-mile speed. Final speed was 250.1.

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Then Sunday morning, he made a pass at 257.7 mph, fastest of the weekend and a new world record for a standing mile. The Texas Mile people will have to change their logo again.

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DcO8jg9qUE&feature=player_embedded"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DcO8jg9qUE&feature=player_embedded[/ame]
 
Joined
Feb 9, 2012
Messages
592
Location
Austin
Great pictures and report. An adrenaline junkie friend hit 180 is his AMG and is shooting for 240+ in a Lamborghini in October.
 
Joined
Oct 27, 2009
Messages
520
Location
Carrollton, TX
Great pictures. If I had known you were going to be there we could have met.

I improved on my previous best of 197.3 MPH by running a 197.5 MPH followed by a 197.8 MPH Sunday morning.

BTW - I believe 9 Second Jeni laid down a 231.x on Johnny's Copper Top Busa
 
Joined
Aug 23, 2008
Messages
422
Location
Corpus Christi, TX
Great pictures. If I had known you were going to be there we could have met.

I improved on my previous best of 197.3 MPH by running a 197.5 MPH followed by a 197.8 MPH Sunday morning.

BTW - I believe 9 Second Jeni laid down a 231.x on Johnny's Copper Top Busa
Good job! I had no idea Jeni had that good a run. I definitely plan to be there again in October. Please, look me up, or give me your bike number and I'll find you.

gravel_guy, et al. I appreciate your comments.
 
Joined
Aug 1, 2007
Messages
8,823
Location
Fort Worth
Great report.

One question: What is the purpose of the classes and building up to the higher classes? Safety?
 
Joined
Oct 27, 2009
Messages
520
Location
Carrollton, TX
Great report.

One question: What is the purpose of the classes and building up to the higher classes? Safety?
To show vehicle control step by step up the ranks. You only have to go through the process your first event. After that you will be issued a Race license from the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) for the Class you qualified for.
 
Joined
Aug 23, 2008
Messages
422
Location
Corpus Christi, TX
To show vehicle control step by step up the ranks. You only have to go through the process your first event. After that you will be issued a Race license from the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) for the Class you qualified for.
Absolutely right. It can get exciting trying to stop a car or bike doing 200+ in the half a mile remaining of runway. Ask the guy driving the underground racing lambo in Goliad, 2010. Amazingly, the driver walked away.

[ame="http://youtu.be/yS1NU6xjTSY"]http://youtu.be/yS1NU6xjTSY[/ame]

The Texas Mile people want to know you're good enough to handle the speed.
 
Joined
Jun 13, 2008
Messages
80
Location
Round Rock TX
yep Jen went 231 on low boost on a Street Legal bike.
yes I ride it to work.
Karl did 224 on a N/A bike.
Saw Marty was nice to see him again I bet he will get HOOKED:giveup:
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2008
Messages
74
Location
Corpus Christi, Tx
Andy,

Good report as usual. I thought I had seen you out there and now I know it.The temps were just in the 80's but felt much warmer. It is amazing how the sun can find the places that the sunscreen couldn't find!
It is way cool to see all of the different vehicles and the people who drive or ride them ... and they are all joined by the Need for Speed.

Dale
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2005
Messages
459
Location
Houston
Good times.
A ZX14 we built did 202.6 mph on just motor. There were a couple of bad wrecks though. The track still needs a lot of work imo.
 
Joined
May 18, 2006
Messages
594
Location
Laredo, TX
Andy covered some of this already, and we've got pix of some of the same vehicles...

It appears "1 wheel peel" was who I referred to as "NotABusa" when we chatted on the staging grid. Nice bike.

The wind was favorable (very light tail wind), but we had FOG BANKS move through Saturday and Sunday mornings that shut down racing for 1/2 hour each day.

It was hot, but not TOO hot, right at or just under 90.

A new track record at 260+ was what I HEARD, I only SAW 257.7 from the Hennessey Ford GT40 as Andy covered.

More info at: GTSpirit Website

Bikes were inching up to 250s, previous record holder at Goliad (287+) went down after a 240+ run, not hurt bad (bike barely scratched as he laid it down at the very far end when he caught a cone).

Karl Gunter went down after a 221+ run, and was airlifted out; 60+ year-old rider, hurt pretty bad but is recuperating and should be okay (bike was trashed, no photo).

That really cool German 3 cylinder turbo diesel "Trac" bike with CV transmission and single-sided monoshock swingarm pitted next to me, so I did some pit crew assistance for them over the course of the weekend. They started at 94+ and inched up to 96+ before leaving early to prepare for Baja. They had alternator issues they need to sort out. Very trick bike.

Only BritBikes I spotted were a spectator's modern Rocket 3 and a racer's nifty old '57 Triumph 500 sidevalve "pit bike".

One squid went down outside the front gate when he plowed into the back of one of his fellow squid's bike; trashed his own bike, but only cut a finger.

All in all a great race weekend; long hours, hot and humid, but great cars & bikes in the pits, in the staging grid, and making the 'Mile.

Slideshow Link
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2008
Messages
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East, Tx
......It appears "1 wheel peel" was who I referred to as "NotABusa" when we chatted on the staging grid. Nice bike.....
Thanks for the kind words, enjoyed visiting with you. Our whole group laughed the rest of the weekend about the NotABusa coment. My son kept doing his best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice with the "It's Not A Busa".:mrgreen::clap:
 

SL350

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Oct 12, 2005
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Mesquite
I was 20 miles away and did not even know this was on. Last I heard they were battling insurance problems. When is the next one scheduled? I have not been to Chase field yet.
 
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