The Adventures Of The Tularis At Mid-America Motorplex

The Adventures Of The Tularis At Mid-America Motorplex

© 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.

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From a press release:

Tul-aris Dominates Unlimited GP Trophy Dash, Finishes Second in Heavyweight GP and Comes Within 0.07 Seconds of the Lap Record at Mid-America Motorplex Races

The first race weekend at the Mid-America Motorplex saw Steve Johnson on the Tul-aris setting the pace from the first practice on Friday. New, solenoid-operated, exhaust-port power-valves help extend the powerband for this twisty and technical circuit. Previously, our powerband ranged from 6500 rpm to 8700, but now extends as far down as 4800 rpm, as was verified by our Pi data acquisition system and dyno runs at Lofgren Racing/Manley Cycle.

In the first race, the 20 lap Unlimited GP Trophy Dash, Steve rapidly outdistanced the rest of the field and opened up a 33 second lead by the 10th lap. On lap 17, with a huge lead, Steve pulled into the pits low on fuel. We use the 20-lap Trophy dash events for extended practice, as typically we do not quite have the fuel tank capacity to run the full distance of this mini-endurance event.

During the 8-lap Heavyweight GP race on Sunday, Steve, starting in 10th, moved quickly into the lead on the first lap and on the second lap almost broke the lap record. The official DBcom track timing device timed Steve at a 1:34:016, with the lap record at 1:33.955, a difference of only 0.07 seconds! His lead in the race was short-lived as the power valves (which worked for all of Friday and Saturday flawlessly) stuck closed shortly thereafter, which cost us about 30 HP on the top end. Even without the power valves, Steve still turned times in the 1:35 and 1:36 bracket in the remaining laps and finished the race in 2nd place.

We are now at a stage where the Tul-aris has become a dependable racing machine. Steve ran and finished every practice and race for the 3-day weekend (except running out of fuel during the Trophy dash). Our initial setup was close and only improved as we figured out Michelin tire compounds for this abrasive track with the help of Tom Mason of Mason Racing Tires.

The Ohlins suspension and our patent-pending shock linkage was working so well we only made minor damping adjustments. An additional small trail adjustment on the DCM Services adjustable triple clamp made it very exciting to see Steve carry huge cornering speed and lighting fast transitions through the chicanes. Some improvements remain, such as part-throttle carburetion and power valve reliability, but the strong points of the Tul-aris, such as the braking, cornering speed and quick steering are helping secure consistent podium finishes. The power valve design was brand new for this event, the electronics built by Jim Hubert of Deux Ex Machina and the mechanism machined in the Tul-aris workshop with the help of Tul-aris team members Dave Adolfson and Dave Heisserer. We’re pretty confident that we can make these work reliably for us at our next event at Road America near Elkhart Lake, WI at the end of April. Look for us there at the Headhunter Racing pit, who are providing our team with free transportation and pit accommodations. Additional support in the workshop and at the track was provided by our crew chief Dale Athman and team members Ivon Tortosa and Rob Paetzold.

In addition, we would like to thank all of our sponsors and supporters: Hot Seat Performance, Nutec Racing Fuel, Walt Schaeffer Michelin, Ohlins USA, MTS Systems, Lofgren Racing/Manley Cycle, Yoyodyne Titanium, GP Tech and Headhunter Racing. Steve Johnson is sponsored by Delano Sport Center, Hy-Per Sports, Mason Racing Tires, EBC Brakes and Lockhart Phillips.

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