In our first year since creating the oldskoolsuki’s Winged Hammer race team we’ve issued the hallowed and exclusive Winged Hammer livery to a full range of competitive racers including world record holders, Isle of Man Racers, straight-liners and drag racers. They all have one thing in common; Their weapon of choice is an old-kool-suzuki. Here’s a story from from one of the team. Go Winged Hammers!
Words of Anna; Winged Hammer, Drag Racer;
This all started in July 2015 with a day out at North Weald, where I took my old Z900 up a drag-strip for the first time ever, having owned it since 1980.
The 2016 season saw me switch to our old Suzuki Slingshot, which had been hibernating in the spare garage. Second time out on it at the Pod I was slowing down from 117mph when I locked the front end and ended up bouncing down the slow down area, writing off my helmet, brand new leathers and gloves but, happily, not the Slingshot which slid down the track on one side. This was when I learned how wonderful the emergency response crew and medics at Santa Pod are © And got acquainted with Bedford Hospital A&E.
Some TLC and parts replacement on the bike meant I was back at North Weald the next week just to prove to myself I could still ride it and to make sure it still ran true. Just aimed to get up the 1/4 mile and back safely so times and top speeds were well down.
The front brake lever, bar end, exhaust and points cover took most of the damage. Luckily we had a Vance & Hines exhaust in the shed (thanks to Kyle’s hoarding tendencies).
One of the reasons for the crash was that I couldn’t get my right foot onto the peg and use the back brake so one of the main post-crash mods was setting the footpegs back making it much easier to get my feet on them.
The first few times I rode at Santa Pod post-crash, I concentrated on just getting across the line and back to the pairing lanes safely and the rest of the 2016 season was really about getting my confidence and some consistency back.
Between the 2016 and 2017 seasons we repainted the body work, lowered the bike even more, fitted a Nitron shock, a Dyna 2000 system, 38 mm Flatslide carbs and treated it to a dyno session thanks to the wonderful chaps at Warpspeed in deepest Norfolk. Eblag provided a second hand set of BKS leathers and I signed up for the RWYB Challenge at Santa Pod, so in Feb 2017 I shivered and ran up the foggy track as fast as I dared. Which wasn’t very fast.
In March 2017 I did the dial-in day at Santa Pod, as the only motorcycle so want to give huge shout out and thanks to Dave Grundy who came along to give me someone to ride against. The bike started to misfire so didn’t do great times and headed back to Warpspeed for some trouble-shooting. The culprit was the Dyna leads and the coil shorting out. While we were up there we got Stuart Crane to fit a lock-up clutch and 2-step, so I had to get my head round yet another a new set up. I got used to the lock-up before I attempted to use the 2-step and started with a gentle 3500rpm launch working up to its current setting of 4000rpm. I’m still getting used to winding open the throttle, dumping the clutch and having the front end come up (at least I think it does – no photographic evidence yet).
2017 is when I started to learn how to really ride the Slingshot and began to get near its capacity with a standard engine, gearing and swingarm set up. In July I got my first 10sec run and in September I managed 3 PB runs in one day, finishing with a 10.8! I like to think I have improved this season, my times bear this out as I have gone from 13 & 14 sec runs at the beginning of the season in Feb 2017 to consistent low 11s in autumn 2017. Another recent personal achievement is being able to pull out good runs towards the end of the day, whereas I used to get tired and my times went down towards the end of the day and I started to make “D’Oh” mistakes – taking off in neutral anyone?
Last meet of 2017 (29 Oct) and I got the chance to ride our new Slingshot “Chip Shop Express”, which used to be the Warpspeed chip-shop-run bike. Never ridden a turbo bike hard before but it felt really good and another credit to Stuart Crane’s bike-building skill.
As a paid-up science nerd, I graph my times after each session and the graph is my times on the Slingshot over 2 seasons. The regression line tells me that I really am getting faster and more consistent (even when it doesn’t feel like it).
Next year we are hoping to run 2 Slingshots, one nitrous and the other turbo – Mr & Mrs will be going head to head!
Big shout-out to the RWYB and Drag Racing family that we are becoming part of; my fellow riders who made me welcome in the RWYB Challenge at Santa Pod; Straightliners and our Pendine Land Speed friends. XXXXX
Especial thanks to Chris Tombleson and Gary Hurd at Grumpy’s 1260 Performance for encouragement and advice of my early efforts on my old Kawasaki Z900 and the pink handlebar grips that will become my signature. Gary – you said “do burn outs” – I’m getting there.
To Stuart Crane (a Top Fuel racer giving little newbie me help and advice ), Martin Hewitt (Electrical Genius) and John Wood (Dyno Wiz) and all at Warpspeed for their amazing bike building and tuning and for inviting us to be part of the experience.
So here’s to a great 2018 season from Kyle Rushby – Chief Pit Bitch and me “the Rider”. The ‘Rents will be going Racing…..
Read more about Anna’s racing here