MET alumni will attempt motorcycle land speed record
Tyler and Gary Alexander show off the motorcycle they built for the Motorcycle Speed Trials at Bonneville Salt Flats.
Father and son mechanical engineering technology alumni will attempt to set a new motorcycle land speed record at the end of August.
Gary Alexander (MET ’78) will drive a motorcycle built by his son Tyler Alexander (MET ’02) during the 2009 Bub Motorcycle Speed Trials at Bonneville Salt Flats August 30-September 3.
The Alexanders’ entry in the 50cc class is sponsored by their company, Gralex Inc. of Lewis Center, Ohio.
“Our purpose is to determine how much power and speed we can achieve from as small an engine as possible,” Gary says. “What we learn from this exercise will be applied to other more eco-friendly pursuits in our company, such as the development of our high mileage vehicle (HMV), which is a two-seat, three-wheeled car based on a 250cc motor scooter engine and drivetrain.”
The team, known as Gralex MotorSports, hopes to reach nearly 80 miles per hour on their machine, which is comparable in size to a moped. The motorcycle is based upon an Italian made Aprilia RS50 racing bike, and Tyler modified the engine and drivetrain extensively to obtain as much power as possible at a sustained high revolutions per minute. The engine is being rebuilt in collaboration with Fox Valley Karts in Lafayette.
“It is very important that we design the bike and rider as a single integrated unit to make them as streamlined as possible in order to reduce the amount of power needed to obtain high speeds,” Tyler says.
Both Alexanders say they benefited from the hands-on experiences they had as students in the College of Technology.
“It gave both of us the tools to not only design the bike, but also to understand the practical application of the engineering theories,” Gary says.
The famed Bonneville Salt Flats are located about two hours west of Salt Lake City, Utah, in an ancient dried lake bed. The motorcycle-only event is sponsored by Bub Enterprises, a motorcycle after market parts manufacturer.