FERRET HAS been an avid sand drag racer for many years, racing on such tracks as Beverly, Westdale, Northam, Northhampton, Bindoon, all in Western Australia. Racing bikes such as GSXR 750 solo and trikes, GPZ900, VF1000, just to name a few.
His latest is a X1 Buell Lightening—what a weapon!
These sand drag bikes are handmade and crafted mostly by the racers themselves. They are created with all the elements of drag racing on sand taken into consideration. Some ideas work; some don’t.
Being a Harley rider himself, Ferret started with a damaged Buell that already had a Screamin’ Eagle race chip, pipes and air cleaner. He then sourced the front-end configuration using a XR350 headset grafted over the Buell one to give it more rake so it could sit better and run straighter allowing a better start at the lights—weird but it works!
Front wheel to handlebars, including the upside down forks, are from a KLX650 trail bike.
A gearshift air shifter was fitted for controlled gear selection. He also turned the gearshift lever around, allowing him to shift downwards while going through the gears; smart move in anyone’s book.
The rear swing-arm was modified to suit the new 18-inch rear rim and tyre which was opted to enable a better tyre selection.
The rear suspension was removed and made rigid, allowing for a better hole-shot at the start line. Getting power to the sand and not wheel spinning is an important strategy; these races are won or lost at the start line; any sag in the suspension or rear wheel spin will bog you down and loose you the race.
The main advantage Ferret has with his Buell is that he’s up against heavier Harleys. His Buell is half the weight and so is he; being skinny sometimes comes in handy.
Building and racing a bike like this starts around $3000 and soon climbs to around $14,000 with not much effort, still making this an affordable exciting sport to enjoy.
This Buell is exceptional at hole-shots, then you hold on for your life and steer it down the track, commonly using the whole lane; these things rarely run dead straight and the ride can become a bit wild at times.
Ferret is not one to keep his knowledge to himself. He is always eager to have a chat and advise fellow racers on how to improve their bike’s performance over a beer or two.
Good on ya, Ferret, and best of luck with your Buell.
Words & Pics by Gazza