In our garage: Kerry’s Kosman Kawasaki drag bike
Kerry Ellis went to his first drag meeting at age 16 and instantly fell in love with the bikes and the atmosphere.
At age 68, with over 40 years of racing behind him, Kerry still loves the feeling of acceleration down the 1/4 mile.
He shares his exciting insight into racing a drag bike:
Q. Tell us a bit about your current drag bike.
It's a Kosman Kawasaki. It was first built over in America, probably back in mid 80s. I purchased it from Jack O'Malley in America in 1991.
I built a motor for it because it was only a rolling frame when it came. The motor now is 1640cc. It's got a Falicon crankshaft, a 3 speed gearbox, centrifugal clutch and progressive nitrous oxide on it.
The bike runs on a V.P fuel called C-23. That in conjunction with the nitrous oxide, makes a lot of horsepower quickly, and this is what we want.
It has wheelie bars to stop the bike from just flipping over backwards.
The tyre is 10.5 x 15. You have to have a tyre that size for the horsepower that you’re making. Sometimes I wish it was bigger depending on the track.
The bike is called Southern Intruder because I live in Bundaberg and if we go south, I am a southern intruder.
If I go north, I'm from the south so I am a southern intruder. My first bike was Southern Intruder I. This bike is Southern Intruder II.
Q. How fast does the bike go and what records have you achieved?
Our best time so far would be 7.38 seconds. That's for the quarter mile. The best speed that we've done on it is 181 mph.
I have held several track records, and some are still current.
Back in 2015, I flew Billy Vose over from America who is one of the most highly regarded gurus for nitrous oxide. This was because I was getting out of my league a little bit with the progressive stage set up.
With Billy’s help, we gained another Australian Record for the AA Modified Bike that still stands.
Last year we went to Gladstone and that was a 1/8th mile track. We did 4.63 seconds at 153 mph, and that was our best ever 1/8th mile run.
Q. What do you love about drag racing?
When you pull up with the lights to do a run, there's no better feeling.
All your concentration is on the lights. I have done a triple zero reaction time, which means getting of the line as soon as the last light comes on.
It is a great feeling and it's very hard to explain because there's not too many people that will ever experience that sort of acceleration.
It only lasts for five, six seconds, but it's exhilarating. It makes you feel good for a long time afterwards.
I'm still reasonably healthy. I'm 68 and I enjoy it. I can remember being at Heath Coat in Melbourne back in the 90s and the Americans came over. Jim McClure was there, and he was in his 70s and still racing. So that sort of inspires me.
I don't do as much racing as what I used to, but it's still good to come out and mix it with the young fellas.
Last week's vehicle: Wayne's Holden HQ Monaro