Top 1 Ack Attack team has been very busy since the 2006 race season ended with them setting a FIM World Land Speed Record (pending ratification), losing it 24 hours later then while trying to up the record again they ran into problems.
The record was upped to over 350 mph by the BUB Lucky #7 Streamliner. Instead of retiring the Top 1 Ack Attack motorcycle streamliner, owner Mike Akatiff decided lets fix whats broken and go for it in 2007. Read on to find out more.
I feel that you have been very successful with your liner since you made the first runs in 2004.
We started building in December 2002 first ran at Speed week 2004. We tried to keep it simple but simple on a motorcycle streamliner is an oxymoron. My design was built around two basic things Suzuki Hayabusa engines and Mickey Thompson tires. To go fast you need both lots of reliable available horsepower and tires that will live at the speeds we were envisioning. The aero dynamics to me were pretty basic just look at subsonic aircraft or missile fuselage shapes there has countless millions of dollars spent on developing them and are all very much alike straight sided and tapered to the rear with a parabolic nose. The other thing I said from the onset of the project was I really didn’t want to look at other streamliner designs or be influenced by them. I had seen Sam's bike but no other streamliners and did not really start looking at them till we were done. I looked at pictures of the Easy Rider streamliner along with a number of others for the first time just before we ran at Speed Week 04. Lots of people told me the car tires would not work and that I needed a tail and a lot of other things they thought we were not right.
What were your failures at BUB's meet last year that prevented faster speeds?
We had two different problems one we knew about and one we didn’t. The one we knew about was the rear engine transfer case shaft broke and we had no spare. This limited the amount of power we could put to the ground. The one we didn’t know about was the turbo hot section was about 3/4 plugged. We had destroyed the original mild steel exhaust system at Speed Week 06. It was originally designed to last a season with a small turbo that made a couple of pounds boost. We only had about 2 weeks between Speed Week and Bub to make a new stainless exhaust system. Ken Puccio and I built it and I needed some expansion joints. The only thing I could find at the time was some from Vibrant Turbo. These joints were a stainless bellows with a stainless wire braiding inside and out. The inner braiding became detached and became lodged in the turbo. Rocky's first pass when he set the record was at 60% throttle. The return was at 100% and he went slower we had no way of monitoring the exhaust pressure so we had no clue as to the problem. We kept trying to adjust the mixture and up the boost but it would just not make any more boost. All of Rocky’s runs after the first one were at 100% throttle. His times were almost exactly the same in both the Kilo and Mile and he was flat out at the 4 mile. It just wouldn’t go any faster. Even if we could have made more power the drive would not take it with the broken shaft.
What have you done to rectify the problems?
We completely redesigned the drives. Ramsey made custom chains and sprockets that are 60% wider than the old ones. We have now put the outboard bearing inside the sprocket itself so we are no longer relying on the shafts to carry the load on the outer end. W also have made spare parts for all of the drive system. We have replaced the exhaust expansion joints with aircraft inconel joints. We have added an exhaust pressure transducer to the Motec system. We sent the turbo to Rick Head thinking it needed a bigger turbo and he found the plugged exhaust. We went ahead and installed a bigger turbo which Rick says should be good to about 1100 HP.
4. Have tires ever been an issue for you?
The whole project was built around M/T tires and along with a lot of other people M/T let us down badly in 03. We stopped the project in July of 03 when it was about 80% complete because of the tire situation. In October 03 we were able to find some M/T tires and picked it up.
Are you taking advantage of the new MT tires recently being made?
We have our order in.
You had Dave Dahlgren from Engine Management System help setup a Motec system for the streamliner, how has that worked for you?
Motec is great stuff. The last time I was involved seriously in racing in the late 60’s and early 70’s building the dirt track bikes for BSA factory rider Jim Rice we used Mikuni carbs and total loss ignition. The Motec has been a bit of a learning curve but anyone who doesn’t use electronic engine management today in my estimation is living in the past.
Link - Engine Management Systems
Motec has a traction control option, will there be some runs with it activated?
We plan to test it at Speed Week 07 now that it is legal and use it at Bub if it proves successful. We were always worried about the rear tire as we only had one new backup. Now that tires are available we are going for a lot more acceleration at the start.
I heard you were building rear doors on the current streamliner to help with aerodynamics can you explain your system you are using.
When I originally designed the liner I knew that we would pay a penalty having the back open but the record that had stood for 12 years was only 322 and I felt we could go a lot faster than that with an open rear which we did the first year. Estimates go from 10 to 20% reduction in drag by closing the tail. I had planned to retire the streamliner if we were able to set a new record that was much faster than the existing record. Denis really surprised us and a lot of other people with the speed Chris Carr put down. We are now in a real dog fight and are having a lot of fun and looking forward to 2007. The doors and components are made out of 7075 aluminum and are actuated by a 1000 lb electric ball screw actuator made for us by Motion Systems. The open in 750 milliseconds and are interlocked with the parachute system and tip over switch.
How much do you think this will help in your speeds, given the same HP run at your fastest speed at BUB's.
Tom Burkland went down beyond the 6 mile at Bub and listened after Rocky had shut down the power but before he deployed the chutes and could hear a tremendous amount of turbulence. Tom figured that with a 20% reduction in drag it would go about 35 mph faster at top speed with the same power.
What are the plans for the 2007 race season.
Speed Week as a shakedown run of the traction control and rear doors and then Bub. Then hopefully retirement with a record we can enjoy for a while.
Any comments to your competitors for the 2007 season?
It is going to be interesting if track conditions are good you never know who or what is going to show up. I hope Sam can find an answer to his tire problem.
Mike Akatiff was very nice in sharing the photo's of the build process with Landracing.com. We now have over 700 images in the photo gallery of the streamliner build.
There is also a thread discussion started on this article on the message board.