Lookit the turbo! Never met this guy, but it's good to have such a resource so close to home.
the article said:Bloom-area racer sets record on his 1937 Harley-Davidson
By LEON BOGDAN
Press Enterprise Writer
SOUTH CENTRE TWP. — Paul Friebus says reaching speeds of up to 150 mph on a vintage Harley-Davidson is no more risky than crossing a downtown street.
"I was happy to do 110, 115 mph. It took me five years to get to 150, 152," the veteran motorcycle racing enthusiast notes.
"My goal is to hit 200 mph on a single motor," says Friebus, the 56-year-old owner of American Cycle Fabrication Inc. here, where he specializes in rebuilding vintage engines for clients around the world.
Last week, Friebus set a land speed record of 150 mph racing his turbo-charged 1937 Harley-Davidson Flathead bike at Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah during the annual Bonneville Speed Week.
Friebus had set a previous speed mark of 148 mph in 2009 for piston-driven classic motorcycles, and usually finds his vintage Harley 1,000-cc exchanging top marks with a 1947 Indian motorcycle driven by a California enthusiast.
"One year, it's the Flathead. Next year, it's the Indian. Then the Flathead again. It's a friendly competition," he says.
South African native
Friebus says he got his start racing Harleys in his native Cape Town, South Africa, where he also worked in marine electronics and sailed with crews on boats between South Africa and America before settling in the states.
"One year, I took a van 26,000 miles across 42 states, and thought Pennsylvania's hills and trees were the perfect place to be. San Francisco was too crazy and Texas was too hot," he recalls.
His speciality is restoring and rebuilding vintage engines for motorcycles built between 1929 and the early 1970s, always trying to get better performance and reliability by varying fuel mixtures and additives.
At any one time, Friebus is working on "dozens" of engines. He currently has 30 motorcycles in his shop sent to him from around the world, including one bike from Australia and others from 15 different states.
But the racing and land speed marks he's been actively seeking since 2005 keep him energized. Of the 500 participants racing at the Salt Flats, 175 involved motorcycles and the rest were cars, he says.
"Wind resistance is the big thing. Just the pressure of what happens as speeds go up. It's like when you stick your hand out of a window in a moving vehicle and the wind pressure just snaps your hand back," he explains.
" ... You won't believe how much effort it takes to get just 5 more miles per hour."
'Quite the feeling'
Late summer is the best time to race at the Salt Flats since the salt is driest and hardest at that time of year, he notes.
"It's interesting, especially on salt. It's like running on a half-inch of sand on top of asphalt," he says of the course.
Safety is always a priority at the Flats. Friebus says he's never wiped out, and he doesn't expect to, crediting his "tremendous" crew chief and pit crew that includes Ed Botsford of Berwick and Albert Pepe of Long Island, N.Y.
"It's quite the feeling. There's definitely a big difference between going 130 mph or going 150 mph," he says.