Saturday, November 29, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
If a picture's worth a 1000 words, this next video will surely be a mouthful! Click on the link and watch as we make our record setting runs at the famed Bonneville Salt Flats.
After viewing the video leave a comment and let me know your thoughts...
Sunday, September 28, 2008
We had our share of problems: handling issues and instability on the salt; gusting winds that nearly blew the Ack Attack off course; and a blown mainshaft that required an engine change that challenged the crew which came through with flying colors. Leo Hess, driving a big inch nitro burning V Twin streamliner crashed Thursday afternoon right before the Ack Attack was scheduled to run, ending the meet for the day. With one day left, and a lingering weather system, we hoped we would get one more chance.
Friday morning came and we were on the salt before the sun came up. The final day officially started at 7:30, and the crew had the Ack Attack already staged at the far end of the course. The machine looked a little different than when we arrived as the rear doors were removed (they were added for streamlining, bringing the rear of the machine to a point tapering like the wing of an airplane). Winds were steady and within our requirements. It wasn't fully daylight when the motors were fired and Mike Akatiff pushed me off heading torward Hwy 80.
From the start I felt confident the bike could do it. We just needed a little luck. With the doors removed the bike ran very stable and I was able to pin the throttle and race flat out for the first time since 2006. The end result was a one way pass with a top speed somewhere around 361 mph! The hairy part was as I entered the measured mile; at peak speed the right side of the cannopy popped open and caught me off guard. Imagine rolling down your window at 60 and then multiplying the effect 6 times greater. Wow. I rolled out of the throttle, which unfortunately minimized our fastest speed. Still, it was the fastest run recorded on two wheels...
The turnaround went without a hitch. Mike instructed me to run the bike all the way to the 0 marker right beside Hwy 80. I did just that and we prepped the bike for the turnaround with time to spare. I told Mike about the canopy. He was surprised that there was enough negative pressure created at that speed to pull the canopy from its perch, but assured me it couldn't come off and that it may open again, but try not to worry about it...
The return run was a lot of fun. Got to take off and race between the pits with crews and onlookers lining the course on either side at the start. Speeds were about the same. Entering the mile the ride side of the canopy popped open again. This time (because of the turnaround) there was water and salt inside the cockpit that swirled in the air and also sprayed against the windshield. Again top speed was compromised slightly, but it was plenty fast enough to beat the current record held by Carr in the Bub streamliner.
Sam Wheeler had already gone 352 earlier in the meet, and he gave us one last run for our money. On his final start his mainshaft also let go and his chain dislodged, causing further damage. Sam was done and the record was ours! (pending ratificaton by the FIM congress at their upcoming meeting in October)
The Top One Ack Attack team achieved their goal. World's fastest motorcycle. The new number that tops the chart is 360.913 mph. Thanks to Top One Oil, Suzuki, and a host of others who made this possible. I'm not used to typing with an ear to ear grin, but for some reason it just won't go away.
Enjoy the ride...
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Conditions play a huge role in this sport. Wind, rain, salt conditions (we compete at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah) and of course the machine itself, all are important factors. You need good "mojo"; the stars have to be aligned properly, you have to wear your lucky underwear, and the Speed Gods have to be having a good day. It looks like this just may happen the last week of September 2008 as a new event is being planned to allow the fastest of the fastest to test their "mojo" in a league of their own...
Fastest of the Fast...
story by Motorcycle.Com Staff, Created Aug. 13, 2008
The world’s fastest two- and four-wheeled machines will gather this fall to decide which is the fastest of them all.
The TOP 1 Oil World Land Speed Shootout will take place Sept. 22-26 at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Bonneville, Utah. Ten teams, five on motorcycles and five automobiles, will compete in the event sanctioned by the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) and the International Automobile Federation (FIA) to set official land speed records in their classes.
The World Land Speed Shootout is organized by Mike Cook of Cook Motorsports. Cook will assemble a panel of judges who will select the ten entrants to the competition.
“We’re providing a platform for top contenders,” says Cook. “Land Speed Racing events like Speed Week have become very popular, which is great for our sport, but the number of entries makes it difficult to set new records, due to time constraints.
“This competition isn’t for amateurs – it is only open to the best qualified and most experienced teams in the world.”
The Bonneville Salt Flats is a popular location for high-speed record setting due to its extremely flat terrain. The 159 square mile area is the final remnant of an ancient lake in what is now northwestern Utah. The ground consists of up to six feet of densely-packed sediments with alkali salts. The surface remains flat and nearly perfectly aligned with the shape of the Earth by rain.
Sam Wheeler-left, Dave Campos-center, and Rocky Robinson-right, three of the four fastest men on two wheels.
Dave no longer competes, but myself, Wheeler, Chris Carr and others will compete head to head for bragging rights and a chance to prove whose got their "mojo" on...
Enjoy the ride...
Friday, February 29, 2008
I've recently forced myself to step outside my comfort zone for self improvement and more importantly, self promotion. I've had the opportunity to do a live radio show recently, where the topic was the subject matter in my book, FLAT OUT. I was convinced nobody was listening until we had a caller phone in that knew me and wanted to contribute to the interview. He added a new dimension to the interview, and I was able to interact with him, as well as the talk show host who graciously invited me in to share my story.
That was probably the easier of the two times I stepped outside my little box. Recently, I had the opportunity to work on a television pilot for a 10 episode series that may or may not ever see the light of day. Talking to a bug-eyed camera lens with potentially millions of viewers lurking on the other side was unnerving. We did retakes, redoes, and get outs. I'd never felt so nervous about anything before. I was told to "just be yourself", or "act natural". How can you be yourself if you've never been in front of a camera before?
Thankfully the people I worked with were real pros, unlike myself. They had plenty of patience and kept cheering me on. We were all in on this together. Now that it's behind me, I'm glad I did it. I still don't know if the show will see the light of day, but I gave it a shot, and there were those in the industry who thought it was a good idea and provided the outlet to give it a try. The TV series isn't based on my book, but it is on the subject matter covered in my book. I'm hoping people who tune in to watch it will make the connection.
I already have the usual myspace page, web page www.rocky-robinson.com , and a couple of blogs. That's not enough if getting brand recognition is goal. As a writer, brand recognition is your name and your work. They don't necesarily have to be presented together for people to connect the dots. Time will tell, but in the meantime, I'm looking for the next place to leap. Besides, boxes are for squares...
Monday, January 28, 2008
If you have to wait for New Year's for an excuse to do something you wouldn't normally, or because a date on a calender means from this point forward things will be different... guess what? It probably won't. There's a huge difference (at least in my mind) between New Year's resolutions and goals. A person who is goal oriented or goal driven will strive to hit his mark, regardless of those around him. Whether he reaches his goal or not, there is no certainty. But at least he or she is self motivated enough to have a plan of action.
Like the New Year's resolution, those who only think this way during a certain time of year because it's "safer in numbers" and "everyone else is doing it", are usually the first to fail.
I'm no different.
I've visited my archived Word files and seen resolutions from years gone past:
Lose weight and be more physically active
Get that book published
Insert your personal wish list here
Like trying to quit smoking, will power alone isn't enough. You have to have a "bigger reason" to actually make change stick. A number on a calender won't do it. I gave up on my resolutions years ago, but not my goals, defintely not my dreams. After countless years of failure I've concluded there has to be something inside you that wants it (whatever it is) bad enough that whatever sacrifices you must make in order to achieve it, you've decided that's the road you're going to take.
Failure alone is not enough to deter anyone from trying. Everybody fails, but everyone is also capable of winning. Look at it this way:
Every morning when you first get up you haven't had a cigarette all day, you have no guilt from eating too much, and so far... your significant other hasn't got a reason to be angry with you... You're already winning. But once those feet hit the floor, the choice is yours...
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Teddy Nugabaur (I'm sure I butchered the spelling) was the hottest 6th grader you ever laid eyes on. I remember trying to get up the nerve to ask her to dance. Then American Pie came on and I had to give it a shot. Favorite song, favorite girl, wow...
All she had to do was sit there. I came over, palms sweating, knees shaking, and in my deepest adolescent cracking voice, I asked her to dance. Even Don McLean was proud, his lyrics telling the story of our time. It was a wonderful moment. Had she said no, I think I would have picked a new favorite song...
The greatest rewards usually come with the greatest risk. I had a fantastic streak going, as far as my professional life is concerned. But I find myself once again, with sweaty palms and fearing rejection of a different sort. My first book, FLAT OUT has done great. I love the craft of writing, and I'm trying to capitalize on the success of my first book by trying to put my foot in the door of the publishing industry to have another look at this wannabe with pen and paper.
My goal is to, when asked what I do for a living, one day proudly state "I'm a writer," and to have a few books to my credit to back up such a bold statement. Talk about nerve racking. I could continue on in the manufacturing trade and live my entire life making ends meet and being the responsible father and husband. But I'm the same (outside the box) guy who drives a motorcycle at 350 mph. Taking the safest route doesn't always appeal to me. People said I'd never break the world land speed record. It took me 8 years, two teams, and a myriad of close calls and some disasters, but I did it.
And now I'm working on becoming a successful writer. I hear the same negativity from some, surprisingly, even from close relatives who think it foolish to have such lofty goals. But that's not enough to stop me now. This is the only life we get, and if we don't take chances and strive to find whatever it is that makes us happy, we're just putting in time. Hell, goldfish can do that.
So here I sit, palms still sweaty, a knot in my stomach because I'm not sure I'm doing the right thing, and even though I have support from some, others think I'm crazy. Its a feeling I'm unfortunately learning to live with. Rejection sucks, but giving up sucks more. Eminem's hit, Lose Yourself is the song I relate to today: You get one shot, one chance, do you take it, or let it slip away? Your one shot isn't that if you don't succeed your first time, you've taken it and you move on. The way I see it, your one shot is this life. Take your shot, no matter how long or hard it may be. Rejection be damned.
Nobody said it would be easy...
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Where is the volume knob on this thing anyway?
For starters, I'm a published author, and my first book, FLAT OUT The Race for the Motorcycle World Land Speed Record hit the book store and internet retailers in late July of 2007. I've had good reviews and the book was nominated for the Dean Batchelor Award for automotive journalism by the Motor Press Guild. What makes that special (at least to me) is that only 3 books were chosen out of all the motor sports books published in 2007.
So much for beating my own drum. I was lucky enough to be put in a position (driving for a world class racing team) that allowed me inside the world of land speed racing, microphone in hand, shit-eating grin permanently attached to my face. In 2006 we actually broke the record, my best run being over 349mph.
I was living my dream, only to have it taken away 2 days later by my former team. My shit-eating grin was surgially removed and reattached upside down. Wah.
At least it gave me something interesting to write about, and it was a true labor of love on my part. I've always loved the craft of writing, and am spreading my wings, having a go at fiction with the same bull-headedness and determination that brought me a world record.
It seems agents and publishers can sometimes be even more challenging than a nasty sidewind or sudden loss of traction. They can be down right brutal. At least at the end of a 10 mile record attempt, you know where you stand. My agent seems to like my work and has submitted it in hopes of landed that next publishing contract, but I somehow fill like I got left in the pits after the meet was over and everyone went home. There's no trophy girl to kiss, no dog to kick, and no cameras or reporters waiting in the wings to be the first to report that latest success.
And yet I'm hooked. My land speed racing career is still moving forward, yet I find the writing world every bit as thrilling, if not even more challenging at times.
My helmet's on, I'm strapped in, and my mouse is at the ready...