While racing at Lake Gairdner in 2018 it became clear that there was opportunity to develop our land speed motorcycle further.
I was happy with the upgrades we had made for my Australian land speed record in 2018. The engine performance, tuning and custom-made controls were all working perfectly. But I could tell there was so much more opportunity in this bike. Particularly as I reached 5th gear for the first time on the track. So, I stripped the bike and started working on a redesign. The Elliott Motorcycles LSR1 MKII race bike development began within 6 months of returning home.
Dry Lakes Racers Australia (DLRA) soon announced that they were changing their rule book from 2019 onward. They also requested expressions of interest from racers for a World Speed Trials. The trials would be held at Lake Gairdner over a weekend in 2020. Of course we were interested!
There was so much more development I had wanted to put into the bike before heading to the salt in 2018. Now it was time to put it all into action and chase my dream of setting a world land speed record. As well as smashing my own Australian record in the process. But ambitious plans such as these don’t come easy. We had a lot of work to do and time was flying by with so many adjustments to consider and implement.
I wanted to develop an aero package that would match the power of the LSR1 MKII race bike.
Firstly, with more downforce we planned to eliminate the wheel spin I had experienced at top speed. Secondly, with more streamlining we planned to leave a smaller wake and reduce drag.
We decided to design our fairings from the ground up rather than going with an off-the-shelf fairing solution. Our plan was to develop the aero package and return to Lake Gairdner for Speed Week 2019. That way we could test the changes. We would also have a whole year to fine tune and make adjustments ahead of the World Speed Trials. It was always going to be an ambitious approach. But we decided to tackle it head on. This gave us a huge opportunity to develop our capability and have the biggest possible impact to our top speed.
Sammy Diasinos (aerodynamicist and founder of Dynamic Aero Solutions) was introduced through friends involved in World Time Attack Challenge. Sammy was well known for his success at WTAC. We knew Sammy was up for the task even though he had never worked on a motorcycle. Sammy previously worked in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) for Williams, Toyota and Caterham Formula 1 teams. He had also previously contributed to Sunswift eVe. Sunswift eVe set an FIA land speed record (the fastest electric vehicle to complete a distance of 500km).
We enlisted Sammy’s help and had the motorcycle 3D scanned and digitally modelled. I sat on the bike in racing position for the scans. This meant Sammy could simulate the conditions upon which we had set our Australian land speed record.
First, we had to make sure that the model and environmental parameters matched our record run. Then we checked the regulations for allowed fairing and fender extents before exploring a range of design options. Extensive simulations proved our expectations correct. With several aerodynamic adjustments we could eliminate the wheel spin experienced on the track, reduce drag, increase downforce and dramatically increase our projected top speed.
Carbon Fibre Fairing & Fender Fabrication
Drag racer Terry Jackson from IM Composite Technologies helped us assess and fine-tune the options. We had foam plugs made (CNC cut from the 3D design files). Terry would use the plugs to form the moulds and then create the final carbon fibre components. This would ensure the fabricated fairings and fender would match the 3D model precisely.
Unfortunately, Speed Week 2019 was looming by the time the foam plugs were ready. There wasn’t enough time to make the carbon fibre components. We also had to complete a range of the other adjustments to complement the new aero package. James and I were gutted to abort our plans to test on the salt in 2019. But we remained excited by the progress we had made towards our world land speed record attempt in 2020.
As the year progressed several other adjustments were made to complement the new aero package. We opted for a higher, flatter riding position with a custom tank which allows a lower helmet position. Handlebars and foot pegs have been brought inward to reduce frontal area. We changed to a pneumatic gear shifter to support the new riding position and built a new solid rear swingarm.
In 2018 I had used an aftermarket 2-into-2 exhaust due to limited time. To complete the engine upgrade I wanted to design and fabricate a 2-into-1 performance exhaust system. I calculated the optimum diameter and length of the exhaust for the engine configuration at our projected top speed. Then I set about designing the system. The headers were measured to precision, providing equal pipe lengths to the collector. The collector was then designed to manage air flow and pressure returning through the system.
Finally, we installed an Emtron engine management system compete with MIL spec wiring and a range of sensors to enable data collection. I wanted data on how the engine and aero package performs and how the motorcycle handles under race conditions.
Our LSR1 MKII race bike was strapped onto the dyno at Emtron Australia on 14 March 2020. After a long day we had successfully tuned the first Harley-Davidson in the world with an Emtron engine management system.
Having spent over a year redesigning and rebuilding our LSR1 MKII race bike, our team will test the bike at Sydney Dragway. Then off to Lake Gairdner for the World Speed Trials with a targeted top speed of 200 mph (321 km/h).