Speed

u13347176While I was in the U.S. Air Force, I worked part time as a Yamaha motorcycle mechanic in the nearby City of Del Rio, Texas. One day a young man from Mexico came in and ordered a 750TZ road race motorcycle.

At the time, Yahama was selling race motorcycles. These were specially built motorcycles, designed to be driven only on road race tracks. These bikes were true race bikes: no lights, no kickstand, no starter, slick tires front and rear, full cover fairings with number plates.

About a week later, the specialty motorcycle came in, and the boss told me to PDI (pre delivery inspection) this bike and he will call the man to come and pick it up. When I finished the PDI, I asked the boss where the hell was I supposed to test drive this bike, which was the final test of the PDI.

He just walked away telling me to “take it to Bracketville and back”.  Bracketville, Texas was about 30 miles down Hwy 90 east of Del Rio and about 15 miles past the Air Force base I was stationed at.

It was a sunny day, about 2PM. Well, I figured that I would just take it down the road a little way just to check out the running of the bike. I was just cruising easily when I realized I was within sight of  Bracketville. I turned around and stopped on the shoulder of the road pointing toward Del Rio.

I looked over the gauges to see if everything was normal, and then decided to see what this bike would do. (This bike had 6 gears, and a 750cc inline 4 cylinder 2 stroke high performance engine. The Tachometer STARTS at 6,000RPM to a redline of 18,000).

Well, I took off and accelerated through all the gears, right up to the redline in each gear. A short time later I was back in Del Rio. I pulled into the shop, and looked up the chart that shows SPEED vs. RPM and found out that in top gear at redline the speed was 205 MPH! That was by far the fastest I have ever been on a road! That WAS fun.

About two weeks later, I was on duty on the flight line of the air base changing a rear stickgrip in a T-38 talon trainer aircraft, when the pilot, a Captain, was on the ladder watching me and waiting for his plane with a student in the front seat, when he mentioned a funny thing he saw a couple weeks earlier. I asked what was that?

He told me that he was coming in for a landing with a student when he looked down at the Hwy 90 that parallels the runway, and saw someone on a yellow motorcycle traveling faster than he was landing. (The T-38 landing speed is 150 MPH.) I told him in uncertain terms that I thought he was lying, but he assured me he was being truthful. I didn’t have the nerve to tell him it was ME on that motorcycle.

I just walked away with a big grin.

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