Suzuki GSX-R Motorcycle Forums banner

Twin Engine GSXR Land Speed Racer

55869 Views 337 Replies 83 Participants Last post by  Beairsto Racing
Hi everyone,
This my first post. I was slacking off and surfing the net hoping to find race parts for early GSXR's and ended up on this site and then was surprised to see a recent thread on one of my race bikes. I just enjoyed my 8th year competing at the Bonneville Salt Flats, I've had some success with very large displacement Hayabusa's. I still own my first race bike, a 1986 GSXR 1100 built as a period endurance racer.

One of my mentors, Larry Forstall built my twin engine GSXR back in the early 90's. Larry built it to run in the "naked" classes without any bodywork. Other than a couple of shake down passes which were aborted due to vision problems and salt conditions, the bike has never run. The Double sat for over a decade in Pennsylvania. I met Larry in 2002, the year that I got inducted into the Bonneville 200 MPH Club and he mentioned having a twin engine GSXR in storage. I was after Larry for several years to either sell it to me or let me fix it up and race it. Bonneville has such a rich history of multi-engine vehicles, I thought the Double was very cool. I was teased with pictures at first but Larry finally agreed to sell it to me and I had it shipped up to Alberta, Canada. I will always run it as a "Beairsto & Forstall" entry. Larry is an innovator and I'm proud to own a piece of his work.

The Double uses a pair of 1986 GSXR 1100 engines, they are now 1255cc with Cosworth pistons, ported heads, Carrillo rods, Falicon cranks, Megacycle cams, 40mm flat slide Mikuni's, all the good stuff that was available at the time. Older technology for sure but horsepower is horsepower. The engines are coupled together, both transmissions are engaged.

I work overseas in the middle east and Africa, I'm not home much and it was hard trying to get 3 other race bikes ready for Bonneville. As anyone who has run at Bonneville knows, corrosion is a bitch. It doesn't seem to matter how much you clean up afterwards, it ruins everything. Having sat for so long, the bike needed some attention. I also wanted to be able to run the bike with bodywork and decided that an early GSXR competition fairing was the right choice. We replaced the wiring harness, spark plug wires, cleaned the carbs and got the front engine running fairly quickly. The rear engine gave us a little more grief but we sorted through the electrical gremlins. A seized rear custom clutch slave cylinder almost kept the bike at home, we fixed that the night before we left.

I had never driven the bike until I let the clutch out for the first time on the salt. Its very stable at speed but it is a bit of a stretch even laid out over it and the gear shift pattern is backwards.
The front engine is started using a battery cart, with the bike on a stand, I shift into 1st gear, rev it up a little and drop the clutch. The rear engine fires up and the bike gets alot of attention. I put it back into neutral, the stand is removed and I wait for the starter to give me the ok to run on the course.

I did a couple of passes on the short course to get familiar with the bike but we soon discovered a weak link in the engine's coupler. I knew with the weak idler gear that I would only be able to make a few runs. My top speed was 203mph @ only 7000rpm, the bike has alot of potential in it. I like it because its different, my Hayabusa disappears in a sea of other 'Busas at Bonneville. On my last run, we actually broke the coupler's idler gear and the loose chain caused a bit of damage but nothing that can't be repaired. There's nothing like running 200 mph and hearing bad crunchy noises coming from the coupler.

I hope to be able to run it again this year at Bonneville or El Mirage, work permitting. The bike is in a shop right now getting the coupler modified. I also need to improve the rear suspension and add some ballast for traction. It just spins the tire hopelessly at anything over 3/4 throttle. Over the winter I'd like to throw some more power at it and upgrade the 1255's, its a shame they stopped making the big blocks. We are entertaining the idea of adding fuel injection as well.

Well I should get back to work.



See less See more
241 - 260 of 338 Posts
Awesome, make sure to post us some updates, lots of photos and videos of the beast. I love this stuff! :D
Safe travels and we will see you on the salt.
Speed Week was August 10th-16th.

I changed the oil in the engines a couple days before we left. When I fired the engines up, I discovered that the new bottom oil cooler for the front engine was now leaking! WTF! I decided to leave it until we got to the salt, as I still needed to pack the truck and trailer.

We drove down on the 8th. We left my house at 6am but only got about an hour into the trip and the EGR valve in my truck acted up, resulting in a 3 hour delay at a Chev dealer in Calgary. It was 2:30am before we checked into our hotel in Toole, Utah.

Friday morning, we continued on to Wendover and arrived at Bonneville!
We set up our pit area along with a few Canadian car teams. Tech inspection went very smooth. I had to start the engines and demonstrate that I could shut them off without my hands leaving the clip ons as well as the tether switch. It was very congested, lots of people checking out my stuff and way too many photographers getting in the way.
We spent the afternoon replacing the leaking oil cooler. The core had failed, it appeared to be distorted. We made minor changes to the mounting brackets, it looked like someone had over tightened it.

Saturday morning, we attended the opening ceremony and drivers meeting.
Afterwards, we made our way over to the short course for a shake down pass. After starting both engines and slipping it back into neutral, the bike was lowered and the rear stand taken away. While waiting for the SCTA official to release me on to the course, I shifted into 1st gear and held the clutch in. While doing so, the front engine crew had already put away the start battery and stand, I seem to be the only one aware that I lost an engine and the guys are busy taking pictures...still waiting for the official to let me go and holding the clutch in...rather than screw up our first trip to the start line, I am hoping that I can slip the clutch and bump start the front engine. Finally, I get the signal that I can a lame cat dragging its ass, I manage to skid the bike for a few feet, get the front engine started and pull away. Not a great run and I find out just how little I can lean the bike without scraping the bottom edge of the fairing, when turning out on to the return road.


See less See more
great pics
We discovered that the front clutch slave cylinder was not working. We tried bleeding both cylinders and the master cylinder, but still no action. Although I have been able to start the engines and put the transmissions into gear and neutral, this was always on the stand. I have not been able to ride the bike, this would have revealed the clutch issues.

Unfortunately, the coupler had to be removed in order to get to the slave cylinders. The piston is seized, I tried an air gun but ended up threading in a grease nipple and using a grease gun. The seal is ok, we polish up the bore and piston. We connect the hydraulic lines, bleed everything and confirm that the slave cylinders are working ok now.

Three of my crew are sick, they figure it was the fish they ate the night before.
Most of Sunday is spent cleaning parts and reassembling the bike, progress is slow...guys are puking.

We decide to make a run on Course 1, a long course. I find the course really slippery, lots of wheel spin. The bike also rocks from side to side with a 12mph cross wind. I only run @150mph, I am too scared to go any faster, the bike is not stable, I abort the run and pull off the course after mile 3. To add to my disappointment, the bottom oil cooler that we just replaced is leaking.

We get back to the pits and remove the oil cooler. Earls state that they pressure test the coolers to 175psi and that they are burst rated to 375psi, my engines have 75psi cold...WTF! We are starting to grasp at straws...are we getting it vibration etc. Finally, we see that the 90 degree fittings are adjustable for depth, they are going in too far and bottoming out against the core itself, causing failure. We install a new cooler and test run the bike.
...Hopefully Monday is our day.


See less See more
My buddy Carl has been working in Papua New Guinea, I brought his turbo GSXR 1000 down with us. He arrives and we run his bike through tech and complete the registration formalities. We are anxious to see how his new traction control system will work, I want to use a similar set up in the future, to take some timing out of the engines when the Double spins.

By Monday, there have been a few bike and car crashes, also more car spins than any other event in recent history. The course is wet, soft and conditions deteriorate quickly. None of the fast bikes are laying down any big numbers, the wind is holding many back from running.

We decide to try Course 2, the other long course. I make another run, traction at the start line is better and the wind is calm. I am still trying to get comfortable on the bike, not going fast enough yet, but actually having fun this time around. I run 180mph and pull off the course after the 5 mile marker. As I am headed to the return road, I can see a little smoke coming off the valve covers. Once stopped, there is quite a bit of smoke, I can smell oil. I start to think that I will have to wave someone down with a fire extinguisher.
I see there is oil on the valve covers, along the inside of the fairing...another oil leak!! I also realize that my gloves, leathers and helmet are covered in oil.

We get back to our pit and find the upper oil cooler for the rear engine has failed...oh well, at least it is a different cooler this time. This time, the fittings are not to blame for the core failure but we feel the cooler has been distorted in the mounts. All the coolers get rubber cushions.


See less See more
Misery loves company...many of the other teams that we know are experiencing there own challenges. The pits are starting to thin out.

I can not seem to get a break with the wind, the long body and tail are really venerable with cross winds. Although the start line might be calm, I encounter wind gusts further down the course, the bike rocks dangerously and I am forced to abort every run.

By Thursday afternoon, I have had enough and we decide to pack up.


See less See more
When working in the pits, often in 110 degree heat, the high light of the day was when the ice cream truck came by.


See less See more
You sure suffered some frustration there. That must have been pretty stressful. I was cheering you on as I read of your troubles. You fought through it all, but I guess you need the conditions to cooperate too before you can get a good run, even if you have handled all the mechanical issues. It's too bad there isn't an easy way to get a test run in before you load up to go to the flats.

I was thinking maybe even a drag strip run would at least get you half way there. Perhaps you would discover at least one or two issues before hand. I know you'd barely get it rolling before you'd have to stop at the end, but maybe the clutch slave issue would have showed up. It seems like part of the game is just having everything sound, so that you can take advantage if conditions are good. This time, it sounds like they were just not very good at all, and it wasn't not really the mechanical issues that scrubbed the effort. You guys must have worked relentlessly to get it all back and ready to run.

Thanks for letting us know how it all went. The pictures are pretty cool.
See less See more
Thanks guys...

I am currently making plans to return for the World Finals in early October.

We will make some minor changes to the body and tail. I will also bring the old stubby drag bike fairing and a Hayabusa tail section to run if we need a body that can cope in cross winds.
The swing arm will get provisions for adding more ballast if necessary.

The only frustrating part was not being able to twist the throttle, knowing that we had more than enough power to set a record. Otherwise, it was just "racing"...break stuff and fix it. I would not feel any better, if we had thrown rods or I returned home in a back brace. I made the call to stop before we were sorry, I have to be able to return to work this week. There were more crashes after we left.

I always view Speed Week as my vacation, a week spent with family and friends. I do my best to remain level headed and am grateful that these guys choose to spend their time off with me. I try hard to keep the stress low, there might be some thrashing to get the bike ready, but it has to be fun. Lots of banter back and forth.
I am usually more worried that everyone is eating and staying hydrated. The heat kicks your ass.

My sponsors know that Bonneville is always a crap can rain and get cancelled...sometimes we work all year on a bike just to go down and spin the tire.

We are far from finished this year! Hopefully October will provide better conditions to run in.

See less See more
That sounds like a good way to approach it. Do everything you can, but keep it in mind that the main thing is to enjoy the people around you and the experience. It can be all too easy to get caught up in the fight when you are competing, but it sounds like you are enjoying the ride. Good luck for the next set of runs!
Good luck next run Scott. The bike looks awesome this year and once you get the bugs worked out and some good conditions, she's going to fly. Glad to hear you came back in one piece and look forward to hearing more in October.
Well World Finals were cancelled due to the Rain and lots of it.

I'm the guy with The red Bike pictured up there.

Good read Scott

Always next year...:cheers
Copied from the SCTA's site:

World Finals - Oct 1 - 4 2013


The salt flats are presently covered in water and more rain is expected. The water levels have gone down since the big rains and occasionally we can see dry spots, but with the temperatures being so low, there is just not enough time for the salt to dry up enough to make racing possible.


We had planned on driving down this weekend.:sad
We knew the salt was wet, but were really optimistic that conditions would improve. Far better to know now, rather than making the trip, only to see it scrubbed once there.
So...I've cancelled our hotel rooms, let my local Chev dealer know that I won't be needing a truck, my brother & his wife have cancelled their flights from Nova Scotia, I notified my other sponsors, let my wife know that she doesn`t need to worry, etc.

I'll still take next week off, I guess I can find some motivation and make some more progress with my basement renovations...I`m building a man cave with lots of Bonneville memorabilia...go figure!

When you are chasing a number, its easy to lose sight of what we actually did accomplish this year. It took a visit with my machinist, Richard, to be reminded of that.
At Speed Week, with all of the new changes, my primary goal was simply just to see if the bike went straight. The Double has lots of potential, but it is a big project...2 engines & 2 transmissions, 8 carbs and pretty much 2 of everything else...and like all big projects, there is some research & development involved. We have to take small steps and identify the next weak link.
The first runs were just to test the stability of the modified chassis, new body, rider’s position etc. I was really worried about how little leverage I would have with the narrow clip-ons, but I was pleased with how it felt once I got underway. The new suspension worked well. I had some initial concerns about the jackshaft and its short chain, but these appeared to be up to the task. Also, we were unsure how the enclosed engines and oil coolers were going to operate with reduced air flow, but temperatures remained normal.
So, its all good...when the salt and wind conditions are right, we will be ready to make a fast pass.

We are in very good shape for 2014. I want to do some more work with the tail section, it needs to continue straight back from the main body. I`ll start off with cardboard templates and go from there... I have a couple of cool tachs to mount, they will replace the Vapor clusters that I have always struggled to see...a few little projects, low stress.

As always, thank you for your continued interest and support!:cheers

See less See more
Most people don't know, and those who do well, they will always know what Burt Munroe said
"You live more in 5 minutes on a bike like this going flat out than some people live in a lifetime"
Our trip to 200mph took four years and the money,,, well we won't talk about it. What I will talk about, mymWife ran 201.456mph at the Texas Mile on a nitrous Busa, but after seeing on board footage from Bonneville, she vowed to never race on the salt! Good luck guys! Hang in there and above all else,
STAY SAFE, STAY ALIVE, to race another day. No opines, no shortcuts, no rush. Just right everything right.

Jim Kelsall, an engineer with our team, is also a photo enthusiast.
Here is a link to his Speed Week photos, with lots of other weird racers.
Love those pics!!

Thanks for the link. :cheers
Blocked as usualy here at work.

I'll guess I'll have to wait till I get home.
The Double has been at Richard's shop for a few months now. He got a new CNC mill and lathe for Christmas.

Since the Busa is retired now, I pulled the shaved tires off it and mounted them on a spare set of PM Chicanes. I have no idea what these Chicanes originally fit, but Richard machined up a set of spacers for the front to fit the Double's CBR forks and then sprocket and rotor spacers for the rear wheel.

So now I have 2 sets of wheels with 250mph legal tires. I prefer the Chicanes over the Cyclones, so they can stay on.


See less See more
241 - 260 of 338 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.