Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bonneville 2014 Motorcycle Speed Trials with the Kolb Machine Team (125 cc partial streamliner record holder)

The test of a mans character comes not from how he handles success. Not how he reacts to hitting a home run, scoring a touchdown or winning a race. But how he handles adversity….striking out, tackled for a loss or spinning out. Through some extremely frustrating and difficult racing conditions at Bonneville 2014 Scott Kolb remained the positive, confident, humble, friendly team captain…..rest assured we’ll hear more from Scott and his Kolb Machine team.  Kolb Machine Land Speed Racing


Land Speed Racing may be the ultimate challenge for man & machine. The endeavor to not just go fast but to go faster than anyone else.  

There are barriers and challenges that don’t exist in other forms of racing. Think about it, where else is aerodynamics, suspension, gearing, engine efficiency and power more important. All must be in perfect balance. A minor misalignment, a loose fitting or a miniscule fluid leak can be disastrous at 150 mph plus! The racer and his team put in countless hours on every detail of the race bike. Your competition, every engineer, scientist, racer and crazy daredevil in the world who thinks they are faster.
No place to practice: Then perhaps the greatest challenge of all, where and how to test your machine before race day?  The answer is you don’t! Testing requires a 10 mile stretch of perfectly flat surface with restricted public access. There are only a few such places in the world and one in the United States, Bonneville.  So you work all year in the garage and must bring your racer to the course without any live test run. Then, if something is not quite right on race day there is no 2nd chance, you can’t come back next week or next month. It will be another year before you get another chance.
Unseasonable heavy rain
2014 at the Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials was a test of the character, tenacity and resolve for Scott Kolb and his Kolb Machine Land Speed Racing Team. It began with unseasonable heavy rain, followed by high winds requiring course closure. Then came what everyone had been waiting for, a near perfect day………85 degrees, bright sun, light breeze and a smooth hard salt surface………only to have an engine cooling problem rear its ugly head. Not to dismay, the Kolb team reinvents a cooling system and is ready to go only to have the course closed due to poor racing conditions caused by an overnight shower. So now Scott & the gang take down the tent, pack the van and head back to Saugerties, NY. Their 155 mph record set in 2013 remains intact, but their hopes of raising the speed to 170+ unfulfilled.

  Off the Line at Mile 0!

Racing into The Future: Expect to hear much more from the Kolb Machine. At this point it is not certain if they will work to develop the current Kolb Machine to it's potential of 175+ mph, or focus efforts on the Full Streamliner with a goal of 200+ mph!
This is a model of the Full Streamliner
(projected speed 200+ mph)
Kerry shows off the streamliner model and talks about 200+ mph with a little 125 cc engine - more with less.

As the sun sets behind the distant mountains the machines are silenced, the tools are put away and it is time for a transformation on the salt. In stark contrast from the high pitched scream of finely tuned engines the salt flats become eerily quiet and the work bench is transformed into a bar…….. cocktail hour.  For me, this is when the ghosts appear. The ghosts of Bonneville’s past are on the salt. Sir Malcolm Campbell roaring across the salt in his Blue Bird at 301 mph in 1935. I can see Craig Breedlove piloting the jet propelled Spirit of America to 407 mph in 1963 and Art Arfons driving his Green Monster over the salt and into the record books at 434 mph in 1964.

Then there are the motorcyclists daring fate and chasing records on two wheels. Rollie Free who became a legend and folk hero by striping to his jockey shorts to break 150 mph on his stock Vincent Black Shadow in 1948. Johnny Allen in 1956 riding a streamlined Triumph 650cc twin known as the Texas Cigar to a 215 mph record speed. And In 1967 it was New Zealander Bert Munro who rode the World's Fastest Indian into the record books at 183.59 mph. Yes, close your eyes and they are there...the ghosts.

There were hundreds of entries for the 2014 Motorcycle Speed Trials. Each has a story......their inspiration, dreams and goals. Traveling hundreds and thousands of miles to bring their machine to Bonneville to go fast....faster than anyone else.

One great story is that of Auburn, Alabama's Dan Parker. A racer and motorcycle/car builder Dan lost his sight in a 2012 drag racing accident. He did not loose his competitive spirit and his zest for life. He designed a motorcycle to compete in the 85 cc 2 stroke class. He guides his land speed racer with a GPS system that gives him audio signals to keep him on course. Dan recorded an official top speed of 64.8 mph, claiming record speed for his class. 

"I'm not a blind man trying to race. I'm a racer who went blind." ~Dan Parker


Some sights from Bonneville - August 2014 and more photos at this link: https://plus.google.com/photos/101766653797447005675/albums/6054301379625150865

World’s fastest female on a motorcycle, Eva Hakansson piloted her ELECTRIC Streamliner over the salt at a AMA record top speed of 241.901 mph.
View from the riders seat


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Landon High School - Jacksonville, FL - 1927 to 1965

click link for Vintage Landon & Jacksonville Photos:
link to 50 YEAR Reunion Photos:

Landon High School (Duval County Public School #31) was opened in 1927 on the Southside of Jacksonville. As South Jacksonville grew Landon High School grew, prospered and developed to become a leader in academic & athletic achievement. Students won academic honors, sports teams won championships and graduates went on to change the world. I was fortunate to have called South Jacksonville my home in the 50s. I treasure the memories and life long friends from Landon. 

Rose Brothers, all Landon grads,
John 65, Bill 46 & Tom 54


This web page is dedicated to that time & place. I’ll post some stories and lots of photos. I hope you’ll send me your stories and photos so we can add them to the site. Thanks and GO PS 31!




The Landon Hall of Fame

Billy Turney ('54) exemplified the spirit
of Landon. Every body's best friend.
The Hall was established to recognize the famous and the infamous of Landon. Listing in the Hall is at the sole discretion of the web master. Nominations are encouraged and welcomed.
Sgt. John Strickland ('52) represented the Lions in the Black Forest of Germany







































A monarchy! Our King & Queen.

Jacksonville, our town. A river runs through it.  

A settlement of 300,000 on the banks of the St. Johns. Nice suburbs, nice downtown, filthy rat infested waterfront. Our town.

Treaty Oak

Hemming Park
Haydon Burns, our Mayor
Charley Johns, our Governor
Our Theater
Lions at the Fountain

 The LANDON CLASS OF 1954 celebrated a “SIXTY YEARS AND COUNTING” week end


April 25th, 26th & 27th 2014.

The Friday & Sunday events were held at the former home of gunpowder magnate Alfred I. du Pont and his younger wife Jessie Ball. The home, known as Epping Forest, is now a private club. Saturday's party took place at the historic home of Landon '54 grad Joe Ripley and his wife & Diantha. Marabanong was built in 1876 by the noted British astronomer Thomas Basnett.  It is listed on the National Historic Register and is situated on the St. Johns River at Empire Point.  



 Scenes from the 60th Reunion of Landon 1954 (a slide show)
photos courtesy of Diana Rose