Category Archives: Motorspurts

Because racecar.

Tesla Model S Plaid Beats Hayabusa in Drag Race

As a general rule, pretty much any motorcycle can beat pretty much any car in an acceleration run. That’s part of the fun. But as with many things, Tesla turns that assumption on its head with the Model S Plaid. It beats not just any bike, but a Suzuki Hayabusa, one of the premier drag bikes there is. Edmunds proved it.

OK, we know the Tesla Model S became stupid fast when it’s “gone to plaid,” yet another thinly veiled reference to high-speed travel in Spaceballs. But this beast has 1,020 horsepower in a rather ordinary four-door sedan. That is, to one might say, ludicrous.

MotoGP Malaysian GP Canceled

MotoGP has announced the cancelation of October 22-24 Malaysian GP. As with everything else, the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent entry restrictions to Malaysia are to blame for the cancelation.

Instead, MotoGP will return to Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli for the October weekend. This will give Italian fans one more chance to see Valentino Rossi in action before his retirement at the end of this season.

This Subaru Outback Survived a 500-Mile Desert Race

Say what you will about Subaru’s rust issues and disposable head gaskets. They’re also tough. And not just WRX rally cars. John Frana and Ryan Brumund just ran their mildly modified Subaru Outback (the old Legacy-based wagon, not the modern SUV) in the Best of the Desert race — and finished. Dead last, but hey, they finished! Many off-road-built trophy trucks and UTVs can’t make that claim.

Read all about it at The Drive.

Don’t Be This Guy

Racing is supposed to be about how fast you can go, not how well you can keep a faster driver from passing you. The Drive brings us an example of one guy who clearly didn’t get this memo.

Christopher Ball, who shot this video, is doing all the right things. He’s clearly the faster driver. He’s giving his competitor room when they go side-by-side through the turns. He’s attempting to make good clean passes. The other guy, though, seems more interested in blocking, weaving, and pushing him into the wall than having a good race. DON’T DO THAT!

One of my best karting experiences was at Bushnell Motorsports Park. I was ever so slightly faster than this other guy, but not so much faster that I could divebomb him in a turn. We ended up side-by-side for half a lap, which is an eternity in race time. At no point did we block each other or even make contact. Eventually I made the pass, but he sure made me work hard for it. THAT is how racing is supposed to be.

Travis Pastrana Sets New Mount Washington Record

Nothing is ever fast enough for Travis Pastrana. That includes his previous record time up Mt. Washington of 5:44.72, which he set at the 2017 Climb to the Clouds event. After shooting the Gymkhana 2021 viral video with a custom-built, no-holds-barred, 862 horsepower Subaru WRX STI, he knew he could improve on that time with this car. That’s exactly what he did, setting a new record of 5:28.67 on his first official run up the mountain.

Some people claimed that then-teammate and previous record holder David Higgins was the faster driver. Pastrana himself agreed, as well as the data, as Higgins’ split times were faster than Pastrana’s. Some say Pastrana only got the record because Higgins crashed out on the turn at Cragway. This time, Pastrana proved he has what it takes on his own.

Of course, having the Airslayer STI at his disposal helped. This car was built specifically for Gymkhana 2021 to be the most awesome STI ever, and to no racing class rules whatsoever. It sounded like an angry bumblebee streaking up the mountain. Don’t blink, or you’ll miss Pastrana going by.

Absolutely perfect weather conditions all the way up and down Mt. Washington helped, too. While it rained during Saturday practice and clouds enveloped the top (where I was) during the lunch break between runs, it was dry with clear visibility from bottom to top when it mattered.

Pastrana’s second run was actually slower than his first, 5:41.71. Though it still broke his 2017 record, his faster first run was the one that counted. My theory is that since the new record was already in the books, Travis drove a little harder on his second run. From what I saw 1/4 mile from the finish, his first run was smooth and controlled, while he bobbed and weaved a bit more on his second run. That’s certainly more like his regular driving style, but ironically it was emulating the calm and clean Higgins that made him faster. Travis openly credits Higgins for teaching him most of what he knows about rally driving during their time together at what is now Subaru Motorsports USA.

My question is, what now? The massive effort that Pastrana and Subaru Motorsports USA put in broke the record, but only shaved 13 seconds off his previous time. There can’t be much more time he can drop at this point. More power is great for the straightaways, but there’s only so much grip you can get for the nearly constant turns. The Airslayer STI has massive aero enhancements, but even their usefulness is limited in the tighter corners that require slower speeds. We’ll have to wait and see what other tricks Travis and Subaru Motorsports USA have up their sleeves to pull out at the next one.

Pike’s Peak Drops Motorcycle Category

It’s official. Motorcycles will no longer be included in the Pike’s Peak International Hillclimb, according to an announcement on their website.

“After two years of research, deliberation, thoughtful consideration and advice from colleagues in the motorsports industry, the Board of the Directors of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has made the decision to discontinue motorcycle competition as part of the annual Race to the Clouds.”

This isn’t really surprising. The tragic death of Carlin Dunne at the 2019 event brought a suspension of the motorcycle categories. This isn’t even the first time motorcycles have been banned from Pike’s Peak, the previous time being from 1920 to 1954. Bikes have only gotten faster since then, and the fully paved road increases speeds even more. There is no margin for error.

As sad as this is for motorcycle fans, it’s probably the right call.

Behind the Scenes of the New England Forest Rally

I volunteered to work amateur radio communications for the 2021 New England Forest Rally. It was fun. My camper van served as an excellent mobile communications center. I got to catch up with old friends, from competitors to other volunteers and everyone in between.

You can read all about my adventure at FIXD. You can also watch my Smokey Da Van video about NEFR.