2012 was a great year for AMA and ATVA competition. Here, some of the national champions and top competitors talk about the 2012 season, look ahead to the 2013 season, and explain why AMA and ATVA competition is the best racing on the planet. No other No. 1 plate matters.
Jim Fischer: 2012 M/PG 1650 land speed record holder
January 31, 2013
My name is Jim Fischer. Most friends and family call me “Jimbo.” I am 65 years young and live in Downers Grove, Ill., with my loving wife of 35 years, Barbara, and our two dogs, Jacob and Zoey.
For the last seven years I have been focusing on land speed racing at the world-renowned Bonneville Salt Flats: A place so steeped in history, I still get goose bumps every day on our arrival on the salt. In 2012, we moved up to a larger engine class then previous years: 1650cc. With the help of my good friend, mentor and Crew Chief Warner Riley and master tuner “Dyno Mike” Witt from Chicago Harley-Davidson, we set out to beat the existing AMA record in the M/PG 1650 class of 156.096 mph (M/PG = Modified chassis/ Push Rod Gas engine).
At the Bonneville Land Speed Trials there is one objective – beat the best and fastest there is in the record book. There is no second- or third-place at Bonneville. You either beat the best or go home and try again next year. Having a mentor like the land speed legend Warner Riley, who attained 24 different land speed records in his career, some of which still stand today, was significant in my education in the sport.
One of Warner’s lessons is be prepared and practice, practice and practice some more. That’s where our dragstrip testing at Union Grove, Wis., comes into play. Another is, at Bonneville don’t waste a minute of time. Get out there and beat that record first day out.
That’s exactly what we did this year. Our first pass turned in a 161-plus mph run, which qualified us for the return pass which brought in a 163-plus mph and a new class record. Our S&S Super Stock Sportster engine was pulling like a mad Missouri mule, so we decided to change gearing and try another pass the next day. That pass brought in another qualifying run of 169-plus mph and the return pass of 165-plus mph, which meant we broke the record for the second time.
Still pulling hard, we decided to take another tooth down on the rear sprocket. The following day we qualified again with a 168-plus mph down run and an astounding 170.552 return pass for a third breaking of the existing record in one week with a two-way average of 169.627 mph on an open Sportster. For those not familiar with Bonneville, you have to make two passes to break a record. A qualifying pass, one that beats the existing record, and then a return pass in the opposite direction. The average of those two passes judges if you break the existing record or not.
So in one week of racing at Bonneville this year we actually broke the record three times in our class. With a final speed of 169.627 for our third AMA land speed record in two different engine classes in seven years.
Like Warner would say – “ The harder you work at it, the luckier you get.”
I have to say thanks to Ken Saillant, AMA track racing manager and Denis Manning of BUB, and all the volunteers, for their efforts in making the event run smoothly.
Our plans for 2013? Go a little faster, naturally .
As for how long I hope to be racing at the AMA/BUB Land Speed Trials: As long as we can afford it, and the support of my wife and friends hold out. In my “free time” I work construction to be able to go racing.
As a closing note for now, I’d like to thank my sponsors; George Smith, S&S Proven Performance Parts, Wayne and Donna Pingel, Pingel Preformance Products, AutoMeter Precision Gauges, Magnetrol Flow & Control, Union Spine Surgical N.Y., Lincoln Park Surgical ,Chicago. My team of Warner Riley and Mike Witt, and, most of all, my loving wife, Barbara. She is the one that got me back into the game after being away from racing over 30 years.