[Features]

211KM/H ON A CRF100 … WTF?!

2 weeks ago | Words: Simon Davidson | Photos: Simon Davidson

Back in 2014, in Issue #44 of Transmoto Dirt Bike Magazine, we ran a fascinating feature article about the Afflick family – four enterprising backyard mechanics from Byron Bay, who took an 8hp bog-stock CRF100 child’s toy all the way to 94mph along the Lake Gairdner salt flats (check out the PDF of that article below). And guess what? Yep, they’re still at it. These days, after squeezing an astonishing 131mph (that’s 211km/h!) from their little red rocketship, they’re preparing for a full-blown tilt at Bonneville Speed Week in 2023. And more records on home salt!

Thanks to Simon Davidson – one of Australia’s most illustrious motorsport photographers, and a bloke who’s stayed in touch with the Afflick posse over the years – we’re able to bring you up to speed with these ingenious Aussies’ latest Land Speed exploits and find out what’s next on their fast-as-f#@k radar.

Take it away, Simon…

Speed Week and the sport of Land Speed racing is to many a religion where you’re consumed without reason. Consumed by something so deep that life makes no sense without it. Ruined for reasons both good and bad.

The racers and teams come back year after year for personal and emotional satisfaction. There are no trophies. No novelty checks. Just a timeslip and the chance of a record. This beautiful addiction is commonly known in Land Speed as “Salt Fever”.

And nothing exemplifies Salt Fever like AAA Racing’s Afflick family … and their now notorious little CRF100.

EVOLUTION OF THE (100CC) BEAST

2014…

  • Back in 2014, we met the Afflick race team at Australia’s Speed Week held at Lake Gairdner in South Australia. Jean-Paul Afflick, along with his old man Warren and brother Mitch, had taken a bog-stock Honda CRF100F and converted it into a record-breaking, blown fuel, supercharged salt racing weapon running 16psi forced induction boost.
  • The bike was putting out 21hp at the rear wheel, way up from the factory 8hp. On the back-end of their maiden super-successful six-run week, team Afflick bagged a final record of 94.5mph (152.08km/h).
  • That smashed not only the Australian record, but also both the Bonneville and World 100cc Land Speed records!

2015…

  • On a high and feeling confident after upping their previous record to 109.2mph (175.74km/h) at Gairdner in March of 2015, there was only one decision to make: ship the bike that year to the US to race Bonneville Speed Week in August. But mother nature had other ideas and event was rained out.
  • Like good Aussie battlers, they kept at it; adding to their records at Lake Gairdner before returning to Bonneville in 2017.

2017…

  • The 2017 bike had gone through some engine mods: new aftermarket top-end, big-valve head, short crank stroke to up the revs; now running 30% nitro and 70% methanol, the same fuel mixture as a top fuel drag car. The horsepower was 40hp up on the 21hp in 2014.
  • The Afflicks decided that at each event, only one rider steers the bike. With the bike running on the limit of detonation, this helps ensure the rider and bike is in sync all week. Jean-Paul was in the hot-seat at Bonneville. Qualifying for the record at 92mph (148.06km/h) at the beginning of the week with a back-up run to seal the deal, the team weren’t satisfied.
  • JP continued to bump up and back up records all week, walking away with a final record of 111.335mph (179.12km/h). This also gave them the bragging rights of fastest 100cc sit-down bike in the world.

2018…

  • Returning to Lake Gairdner of March 2018, Warren rode the bike to a record speed of 121.1mph (194.89km/h), only to be just beaten later that year the French Team Bidalot Espresso, who would run 121.19mph (195.03km/h). to take the title from them at Bonneville.

2019/’20…

  • During 2019 campaign in Australia, they battled an electrical gremlin.
  • In 2020, a global pandemic cancelled all events.

2021…

  • Yep, another Land Speed Record. Read on for details.

ANATOMY OF A LAND SPEED RECORD

We caught up with AAA Racing’s JP Afflick to talk about their latest Land Speed record at Lake Gairdner, plans for Bonneville Speed Week, and the next elusive record they’re eyeballing…

SD: Tell us about Speed Week Australia 2021.
JPA: To be the fastest, you not only need great preparation and a fast, reliable bike; you also need mother nature to play her part and give you good hard salt, no wind, and her blessing. We felt we were ready, and the salt was the best we had seen for years. After my first qualifying run, Dad pulled up in the truck where I was waiting on the return and looked at me smiling. I had just made the perfect run. Dad’s first words were, “What was the RPM?” I said, “14,800”. He said, “That’s going to be really fast”.

We headed back to the pits to find out exactly how fast. The timing slip read 131.6mph (211.78 km/h). Dad and I just smiled and knew we were halfway there. To get the record, we now had to back the run up. In Land Speed Racing, you must first run faster than the current record. Then you have a back-up run, and the combined average of these two runs must be higher than the current record for it to be officially yours. We headed straight for impound and went through our ‘between-run’ maintenance.

What’s impound?
Once you qualify for a record, you head to impound where the bike will remain overnight till your back-up run in the next morning. This is where we do all our maintenance in readiness for the next morning. This includes checking the valve lash, plug, tyres, refuelling and dropping the oil. When we dropped the oil, we saw some aluminium sparkles that made us think about how to attack our back-up run. Not quite sure where the aluminium had come from, we made the decision to short-shift the bike in each gear at 12,000rpm instead of the regular 13,000rpm. High RPM is a lot of hurt on an engine and this little single was singing. Everything else checked out okay and we were ready for the next morning’s run.

How did that next morning play out?
Everyone who’s going for a back-up record run gets to go first. In the dark, we headed for the lake. At Lake Gairdner, no one is allowed on the salt until first light. Around 7am we were in the queue to run. Dark storm clouds were rolling in from the south and looked threatening. On the long course for our back-up run, we bike fired the bike into life. It’s a loud little unit and sure gets people’s attention. Rolling forward, Dad checked my helmet and patted me on the back. On the starter’s signal, I took off down the course. All the gear changes were to 12,000rpm, but as I hit the two-mile marker – the start of the measured mile – the bike was at 14,300rpm. I tried to get myself as small on the bike as possible. You see the quarter-mile and half-mile markers fly by. The whole time I am focused on the temp. Three miles flat out is hard on any engine. The temp was creeping slowly up but looked good. At the three-quarter-mile mark, I always say, “Come on baby; not far now!”. A little later, I buzzed by the three-mile marker, rolled off the throttle and sat up with a huge smile on my face, then pulled off the track and onto the return road. The 130.8mph on this run, plus our first run 131.6 (211.78 km/h), got us the record at 131.228mph (211.17km/h). One hour later, the rain came and washed out the remainder of Aussie Speed Week 2021.

You only just snuck that in.
Before the record could stand, the head motorcycle scrutineer requires the engine to be pulled down. To validate a record, the bore and stroke need to be measured to ensure they are within the class rules. With most motorcycles, this can be measured through the sparkplug hole. But with our bike, the only way to measure the internals is a complete strip down. After finding sparkles earlier in the day, we were curious to see what we would find. Turns out the sparkles were from a clutch shim. Besides that, the engine was perfect. We had done it! A little family team from Australia was now the fastest ever on a 100cc motorcycle. To put our speed into perspective, it would equate to 286mph (460.27km/h) on a 1000cc motorcycle, and only a few have ever done that. The bike is basically a CRF100F running Kitaco SE2 Pro Short Stroke kit and an Aisin 300cc Supercharger making 24psi boost at 14,000rpm. The fuel we ran was a mix of 50% methanol and 50% nitro through an Amal Carb making 54hp. That’s 9hp per cubic inch. And that would equate to your 450cc making 250hp!

So, what’s next?
We plan to be back at Lake Gairdner in 2023 with a few more mods to chase 141.5mph (227.72km/h) that was set by the Costella 100cc Streamliner. Adding a tail and enclosing the front wheel will take care of aero mods. The fuel mixture will be upped to 60% nitro and 40% methanol. Once we’re satisfied with the 100cc record, the next step is to take a CFR150 and turn it in to blown 175cc to chase the 175mph (281.63km/h) record. Salt fever has no cure [laughs]!

Anyone you’d like to thank?
All this could not have been done without the help of many. To the team: Dad, Jo, Mitch Jacko, and sponsorship partners. Hare & Forbes, Powerhouse Dyno, East Point Signs, Top 1 Oil, Barnett Clutches, Amal Carbs, Minimob, Peter Leahy Imports, Jax Tyres, Kabuto Helmets, Kitaco Engineering & The Bay Seafood.

Check out the original ‘Salt Fever’ here.

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