Bike racers are a whole different class of crazy among us gearheads, and we have to commend them for their brazen approach to power and speed. Whether you’re dragging a knee around the road course or dragging a parachute down the strip, performance motorcycle engines exhibit some of the most insane solutions for extracting absolute efficiency out of a small, light, powerplant.
Land speed racers tend to fall in a few categories — there are those who race on the salt where impossibly high gear ratios make a standing start almost unheard of, these racers follow the curvature of the earth over a span of 5 miles following a line on the ground hoping to clock the highest possible speed. Then there are those who seek the land speed records in a standing mile, this trend has exploded in the last decade with more and more builders of both cars and bikes tuning their machines for this purpose.
The illustrious 200 mile per hour club is a benchmark goal of all those who embark on this type of fevered pursuit of speed. While it might take a special breed of car to reach this speed over just a mile, it’s an attainable goal on a superbike, so these stuntmen tend to aim a little higher. When we heard of Don Hass and his Hayabusa setting out to conquer a dazzling 300 mph in a standing mile we had to dig into the engine that would propel him.
“We kinda kept it a secret for three years — why we were building it. We took it out last year and made 10 test passes with it to figure out what we needed to learn,” Hass announced coyly. “I have an ’04 GSXR 1000 and it all started with building turbo bikes for the street, somebody said why don’t you go to Maxton and see what the bike will do?’ My first day down there I set a land speed record at 210 mph on a streetbike.”
This windfall in turning his engine building passion into a motorsports endeavor triggered a cascade of escalating events, learning from the challenges inherent in keeping a 1,000 cc engine together at high-boost, high horsepower operation, Hass set out for a new platform — the infamous Suzuki Hayabusa. Being the turbo-man he is, Hass wanted to try something special for this new project.
“I came up with the concept of doing a compound turbo setup, and originally it was going to be on a 1000 cc. I started thinking that my ‘1000 now is at the limit, between me and my fabricator we decided that instead of just building the fastest ‘1000 bike in the world, why don’t we just build the fastest bike in the world? It will actually be cheaper. I saw a diagram online, and thought that as a land-speed racer, the faster you can get a bike to build boost and not be limited in the amount I could make the better,” Hass stated modestly.
In order to withstand the punishment Hass intended to throw at the engine a litany of internal customization had to be engineered. With a very busy work life Hass decided to turn over engine building for this project to established land speed engine builder Steve Knecum of Knecum Performance Engines. The engine had been previously adorned in the turbo setup and basic architecture but Knecum saw fit to put his brand of improvements on the Suzuki.
“Internally on the motor most all of the parts are custom, it has a Marine billet crankshaft, custom Carillo rods, custom JE Pistons, custom grind Web Cams, one of my buddies did the port work on the cylinder head. My seat spring pressure is around 110 pounds, and they only make 70 pound springs for it so they’re all shimmed up to increase the pressure,” explained Hass.
“It’s an 81 mm bore, with a stock 63 mm stroke, ZX14 journals on the rod bearings because they’re a little wider than stock — it spreads the load a little better and helps the bearings survive. I run special Teflon coated bearings from HMLE in North Carolina, we have three different choices and have to compensate for the extra thickness of the coating. The compression ratio is around 10.5:1, we can run a high compression with the forced induction due to the alcohol. The Web cams are a turbo grind with a 110 lobe center and the valves are 28.5 mm exhaust and 34 mm intake Vance and Hines stainless steel,” continued Knecum.
The forced induction arrangement on this 1,400+ cc engine comes in the form of a pair of COMP turbochargers, with the high pressure turbo measuring 64/65 mm, and the low pressure turbo measuring 71/72 mm. This compound setup means that Hass can get the bike off the line and build boost quickly once he has a good roll already going. Excess is the name of the game here, as Hass illustrated, “I built it to make 70 pounds of boost even though I know the motor will never hold it, and I’ll never need that much power.”
Engine management electronics come from MoTec and include an M800 computer, coupled with a C125 dash, an AMS2000 acts as the boost controller. In order to get everything to work together Hass got MoTec wizard Shane Tecklenburg to do all the tuning. Tecklenburg will accompany Hass at his next event at Limestone, Maine at Loring Air Force base.
Running on pure methanol M1, and ignition being provided by an 18-volt system and 30-amp ignitor from Energy Coil, the ‘Busa put down incredible numbers on the dyno, and the limiting factor always turns out to be a combination of traction or clutch clamping force. “The Hayabusa last made 564 horsepower at only 18 pounds of boost, any more we put to it, it was blowing off the tire and going through the clutch. We’re tuned up to 72 pounds of boost and we’ve since changed the whole clutch setup. It had a multi stage for leaving the line, now we’re going to set it up through the traction control,” recalled Hass.
“My friend and sponsor Steve Serafini does all my fabrication work,” Hass attributed. With the engine and management system in place as best as they can put to the ground the Hass-Serafini team turned to the wind tunnel to develop the body work that will make the bike slippery enough to crack 300 mph.
“Our goal for this event all depends on weather, we went to the wind tunnel and got the body work to where we’re happy with it, but we’ve only run it three passes. If there is any type of wind at all it disrupts the run. I see the bike going over 260-270 mph with no fairings on it, since the motor is getting freshened up, if we get the right wind conditions with the fairings and I can make a half dozen passes our goal is 300 mph in a mile,” Hass concluded.
We wish Hass the best of luck at his upcoming event, and hope to see more incredible engine building like this!