Marquette Area Couple Inducted into the Dry Lakes Racing Hall of Fame
Nancy and Jon Wennerberg and their team are called “Seldom Seen Slim Land Speed Racing”. The couple are successful land speed racers from Skandia and recently attended the Dry Lakes Racing Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Buellton, CA. The couple entered the Hall of Fame as acknowledgement of the historical value of their racing website, www.landracing.com. They received a plaque recognizing their achievement as well as the congratulations of all of those attending – and others from all over the world (via landracing.com, of course!)
Landracing.com serves not only as a gathering place for land speed racers from all over the world, but also as a repository of more than 30,000 photos and many hundreds of technical articles and even “build diaries” related to their sport. Land speed racing, by the way, is building and racing a vehicle to its ultimate top speed. The vehicles are sent down the race course one at a time and given 5 miles to reach that top speed, so not only must the vehicle be built to withstand the tremendous forces of high speed, but also to be able to not blow up from running at absolute maximum for much longer than might a drag race vehicle.
Landracing.com, a twelve year old website, is home to about 5,000 racers and interested folks that want to know about traveling on land at speeds that seem incredible to many outside the sport. For instance – last year the Wennerbergs saw one car, powered by a single V-8 engine, record a top speed of 462 miles per hour. The couple’s Kawasaki ZX14 motorcycle was timed at just a bit over 200 – because the traction of the pure salt surface was not good enough to allow the tires to “hook up” – that is, get full traction. Nancy has ridden the bike at over 204 in the past (when traction was better), and hopes to exceed 210 mph at the August 2012 event – called, appropriately SpeedWeek. At least 500 cars and motorcycles will be entered in the event.
Landracing.com not only archives the history of LSR but also provides live on-line streaming of audio from most of the sport’s events across America. That allows everyone (including Marquette-area residents) to hear the astounding speeds and other information about land speed racing as they’re happening. The website is open to all and is free – so you can visit and see some of the fastest drivers in history.
Some new photos by Pork Pie
Aug. 10, 2011
Need for world-record speed
Skandia couple head to Utah desert in wife’s quest for records
SKANDIA - Jon and Nancy Wennerberg run in some fast company, but only on the salt flats of the Utah desert for a couple weeks each August.
This Skandia couple is already on their way nearly 2,000 miles west for the annual SpeedWeek held on the Bonneville Salt Flats near the Nevada state line, famous as the site of numerous world land-speed records having been set there for decades.
Wife Nancy Wennerberg, a relative newcomer to the sport at age 51, will attempt to set a world record for the fastest speed clocked for a stock motorcycle of the two sizes she will ride while there.
These are not records set specifically for men or for women or for a particular age group.
These would be the fastest anyone has been clocked on stock motorcycle - one that has had only very restricted changes from the way its normally sold to the public.
Her larger bike, a 2008 Kawasaki ZX14, is in the 1,352 to 1,530 cubic-centimeter class.
She previously set a record with it, going 201.913 mph, the average of two runs on the salt flats measured over consecutive days.
"We're hoping we get to 205 mph this year," said Jon Wennerberg, 63, who proudly displays the "200 mph club" hat he's gotten in the past for setting records over that speed.
To put it into perspective, 200 mph means covering a mile in 18 seconds, or the length of a football field in one second.
The other motorcycle, with much less power, has gone as fast as about 115 mph.
With safety inspections scheduled to take place on Thursday and Friday, attempts at making records go on from Saturday through Friday, Aug. 19, at a specially selected portion of the salt flats that cover hundreds of square miles in desert.
"I suspect the temperatures will be around 95 degrees with around 15 or 20 percent humidity," Jon Wennerberg said.
During the first few days, prospective record breakers may have to wait five or six hours between runs because of the usual 500 to 550 people attempting to make runs.
"Probably about two-thirds of the vehicles are cars and remaining one-third motorcycles," she said, with both Jon and Nancy adding with a laugh that some people really stretch the definitions of those vehicles.
"But as you get toward the end of the week, the waiting time becomes a lot shorter," Jon Wennerberg said. "Some people have already set their records, or they've blown out their vehicles and are done."
He figures Nancy could get in 35 to 40 attempts if needed during the week.
The couple has been profiled in shorts segments on several cable TV shows about motorcycle racing speed records and the Bonneville flats.
"We went out to watch them in 2000 for the first time, and Jon tried racing in 2001," Nancy Wennerberg said. "I wasn't too sure about it at first, and for awhile, my excuse was that my legs were too short to reach the ground on a (stock) bike.
"Then Jon had me try sitting on one, and I could just reach. So I didn't have excuse anymore."
And she gave it a try as a test.
"It didn't seem so hard," she said about approaching or breaking 100 mph.
And the rest has become family racing history.
Since many of the attendees to SpeedWeek return year after year, a camaraderie, a sort of family atmosphere, has built up among racers.
The Wennerbergs host a big picnic every year, one recently serving the Upper Peninsula specialty of pasties to around 400 people.
This year they've planned fried chicken as the main dish of their picnic.
"It was a lot of work to keep the pasties frozen until we were ready for them," Jon Wennerberg said.
They also took over a website dedicated to SpeedWeek, www.landracing.com, which joins their own Seldom Seen Slim Racing website, www.nancyandjon.org.
And the couple owns their own business in Harvey, Kudos Laser Engraving.
Strangely enough, while they have their own motorcycles for around town and road trips, they're not overly avid cyclists.
"It's completely different riding around town than it is attempting speed records," Nancy Wennerberg said.
By Steve Brownlee, Journal Sports Writer (email@example.com)
Check out this article in MotorcycleUSA.com by Rocky Robinson...
Mining Journal Article
Nancy and Jon Wennerberg with their ZX12R racing motorcycle
Seldom Seen Slim – Seen Once Again
Nancy and Jon Wennerberg, land speed racers from Skandia, traveled to the Maxton Monster Mile in southeastern North Carolina this past weekend (May 22-23) for another outing on their Kawasaki racing motorcycle. The Wennerbergs compete in top speed trials both at Maxton and the better-known Bonneville Salt Flats (which are west of Salt Lake City, Utah) at least a half-dozen times each year. This past weekend they were once again concentrating on getting Jon’s ZX12R nitrous oxide motorcycle tuned and readied for an assault on a 36-year-old record, of 232.597 mph, at Bonneville later this summer.
Jon was the rider this past weekend, as he was a month ago – when he took the bike to a best standing-mile speed of 185.8 mph. The bike was “naked” at that meet – that is, there was no streamlining, not even a windscreen, on the bike. This past weekend the Seldom Seen Slim crew chief, Todd Dross, of Twin Jugs Racing in Fredericksburg, Virginia, chose to outfit the bike with the custom bodywork that Jon and Nancy had built for the bike a few years ago. The bodywork makes quite a difference, allowing Jon to race to a best speed of 196.714 miles per hour. “I probably could have found at least four or five miles per hour more”, Jon said, “if the crosswind from the left Sunday noon wasn’t so strong. I was cautious and therefore not as aggressive as I could have been toward the end of that run.” He said that because of the wind he was tilted hard to the left as he was approaching the timing lights – and still was only about 6 or 7 feet from them as he blasted through the 132 foot timed stretched in less than a half-second – while leaned over about 10 degrees to the left. Even at that speed Wennerberg was well below the existing record in his class, but since the goal for the event was testing and tuning the motor – not setting a record wasn’t a big disappointment.
The next event at Maxton is in late June, and then Todd will have the bike set to run with the nitrous system operating – giving the bike a big extra horsepower boost at the touch of a button (well, really, when the on-board sensors tell the computer that all programmed parameters are met and the tuner wants the extra power to begin). The bike has gone 217 mph using nitrous oxide at Bonneville – but with a much smaller motor than it runs now, so the tuning at Maxton is giving Seldom Seen Slim not only plenty of “seat time” to help Jon become more familiar with the high-powered bike, but also to get the bike setup and engine tune up right – to avoid damaging the engine when running flat out for five miles at Bonneville this August.
Nancy, by the way, is patiently awaiting the completion of major engine improvements on her Kawasaki ZX14 – the bike she rode to a best mile speed of 204 mph last September at Bonneville. She’s hoping for a record well over 205 mph this summer. Last year the engine was tested and found to have about 207 horsepower, and the new work should bump that amount to around 225 hp. For more information about Seldom Seen Slim Land Speed Racing you may visit their websites – www.nancyandjon.org and www.landracing.com. The Wennerbergs are supported in their top speed endeavors by Signs Unlimited, Zambon’s Kawasaki, Public Service Garage, CarQuest of Marquette, and their own business – Kudos Laser Engraving.
Riding the Kawasaki ZX12R faired, with nitrous
Video link sent from Maxton after the run.
193.95 mph in the mile.....
Riding the Kawasaki ZX12R naked
Here i am leaving the start line on the last run of the weekend -- when I went through the timing lights at 185.8 mph. You can tell this is not drag racing - by the way I start off so slowly, eventually building up speed.
You can hear the drive tire "spin up" near the end of this video -- because the power of the engine increased so dramatically, so suddenly, that the tire spun even though there's pretty good traction.
Here I'm approaching the finish line at Maxton. The speed is determined by carefully measuring the time it takes the racer to go between two electric eyes spaced 132' apart (that's 1/40 of a mile). The lights are located out of sight behind the big timing tower that you see.
The engine is turning about 11,500 rpm as the bike goes through the lights. Listen to it sing!
April 13, 2010
SKANDIA - Nancy and Jon Wennerberg, otherwise known as the Seldom Seen Slim Land Speed Racing team, visited the "Maxton Monster Mile" racetrack in Maxton, N.C. recently for their first land speed motorcycle race event of the year.
Jon rode the Skandia couple's Kawasaki bike this time, getting onto the 2000 ZX12R for its first outing since late in 2005. The bike has undergone extensive modifications since then.
The bike is being built for an assault on a 232 mph Bonneville record speed later this year, with the North Carolina event mostly for "test and tuneup" riding.
The motor's size has been increased from the stock 1198 to 1349 cubic centimeters, right at the limit of the class that allows motors of up to 1350 cc displacement.
Jon said it's vital to keep the engine size under the maximum since world record-setting engines are measured before a record speed is certified.
The bike's engine is built for operating with nitrous oxide as a power enhancer. But since nitrous oxide can destroy an engine if not used properly, a correct tuneup and build is vital.
Jon entered the bike in a base class for the outing - a class that doesn't allow any streamlining. This holds down top speeds and also makes the engine work hard in order to gather data.
The established record in the class when the weekend started was 175.439 mph.
The Maxton Mile is a WW II glider pilot training strip. It's concrete, with one mile from the start line to the timing lights where the racer's speed is measured. There's then about one more mile to slow down.
Jon's first run -his first time on the bike in 4 years - yielded a speed of 176.75 mph. It was record speed, and per the Seldom Seen Slim crew chief Todd Dross' instructions, Jon never shifted past fourth gear (the bike has a 6-speed transmission) and went more than 176 mph without using the top two gears.
A few hours later, he ran the bike again, pulling harder on the throttle and this time shifting into fifth about 100 feet before the timing lights and recorded a 182.4 mph speed - another record-setting run.
The next morning Dross gave Jon the go-ahead to run at wide open throttle and use fifth gear if the bike would accelerate enough to warrant it. Jon then set his third record speed of the weekend, this time at 185.85263 mph.
Jon is a member of the Maxton and the Bonneville Salt Flats 200 MPH clubs, both of which require setting records over that number.
Jon's wife, Nancy, has been over 200 mph on the couple's Kawasaki ZX14 production class bike. She hopes to ride it into the Bonneville 2 Club later this year, too. Newsite