Nancy and Jon Wennerberg, Marquette’s only land speed racers, recently completed their 2004 season, racing at Maxton, North Carolina. Both Nancy and Jon set records during the Halloween weekend event.
Nancy rode the Snart Racing team Cagiva 125 cc two-stroke bike, owned by Mark Amrhein of New York City, to a class-record speed of 107.611 mph on her first-ever ride on the bike. The Italian motorcycle currently holds eight production-class records at Maxton, in the East Coast Timing Association, and also a record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Nancy was thrilled with the run: I’ve now ridden that bike about 1/2 mph faster than the owner has!" she remarked after her record ride.
Jon upped his record in the Modified ("naked bike", or unfaired) 1350 cc class from last years’ 181.840 to a new mark of 185.491. The naked bike class requires that all streamlining in front of the rider, including the windshield, be removed before making the record attempt. The record was set with the engine operating on 110-octane race gas. Jon also holds the 1350 cc naked bike "fuel" record, set while using nitrous oxide injection to boost performance -- but, rather than switch fuels and attempt a higher speed with no bodywork, Jon’s next runs were planned to be made on gas, but with the bike’s custom AirTech body in place.
His first run didn’t go quite as planned -- a minor misadjustment of the bodywork made the bike lean to the right more and more as the speed increased -- and "going at a buck-ninety-five (195 mph) listing seriously to starboard is a little more adventure than I wanted, so I backed out of the throttle", Jon said when he returned to the pits to readjust the body’s mounts. His timing slip for that run showed a speed of 195.741 mph. After moving the body mounts around a little Jon made another pass down the 9/10-mile paved course that’s called "The Maxton Monster Mile". The racecourse is actually an abandoned WW II glider-pilot training runway.
His next run yielded a 198.255 speed (and no handling problems) -- but was the last run of the event for the bike when the engine management computer’s ignition system failed and the bike would not restart for further runs. "It’s too bad -- I felt that the 202.247 mph record was within reach, especially since I ran 204 mph on gas at Bonneville earlier this year. Oh, well -- Next Year For Sure!!" was how Jon summed up the weekend.
Both Jon’s ZX12R and Nancy’s EX250 Turbo Kawasaki motorcycles have been returned to Lee’s Performance, in Charlotte, North Carolina, for continuing development and enhancements to ready them for the 2005 season. Nancy’s bike will be getting custom pistons and connecting rods, Jon’s two-wheeler will get enhanced computing power and a new wiring harness, and both bikes will receive appearance upgrades. The bikes will be displayed at shows and in showrooms in the UP during early 2005, and Seldom Seen Slim Land Speed Racing souvenir t-shirts and posters will be available then (at the shows) and now at the team website. Seldom Seen Slim is supported locally by Public Service Garage, Signs Unlimited, Viosport, Johnson’s Printing Service, Raven Graphics, Superior Collision, and Star industries. If you’re curious to learn more about this sport you can also visit www.landracing.com, which is the home site for most land speed racers. Both Nancy and Jon want to thank all the folks that have shown interest and support in their racing adventures during the last few years.