(Editor’s note: As we travel to the Bonneville Salt Flats today we’re thinking of one of the best stories from Speed Week 2017. This is the epitome of why we love this place, why we love the people, the scene, and the determination every racer has when they get to the hellish paradise of the salt. If this does not make you smile, you’re in the wrong place. We cannot wait t get back.)
(Photos by Bret Kepner) – It was a couple of years ago that we introduced the BangShift reader universe to Alp and Jalika. To me more specific we’re talking about Alp Sungurtekin and his crew chief Jalika Gaskin. They have been running killer bikes at the salt for years now. Alp’s specialty is building pre-unit Triumph style machines and his latest creation is a literal masterwork of engineering that combines the old school tech of a 650cc upright twin “pre-unit” style Triump drivetrain with a gorgeous frame and an equally stunning aerodynamic body. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the “pre unit” designation, we’re talking about style of motorcycle drivetrain where the engine and transmission are not bolted together but are divorced and connected by a chain. Alp happens to run his on a stiff load of nitromethane.
The first time Alp and Jalika made the pages of BangShift we saw them wrenching on their bike in the impound area, preparing it for a record run on the salt a couple of years ago. Amazingly, they used part of a freaking pen to fix the sucker and then they went on to set a record the next day. READ THE FULL STORY OF THAT RIGHT HERE.
The other night, Bret Kepner contacted me and told me that Alp and Jalika were in full thrash mode again because the 650cc Triumph engine went blazing through the traps at 149mph on a 125mph record, which was the good news. The bad news is that the 70% load of nitro that the bike was running on took a toll on the classic mill and because of that, the bike needed some serious attention. Because you cannot work on your stuff overnight on the salt, the motorcycle was loaded into a pickup truck, hauled to the hotel, and completely torn down bare. The pair worked late into the night to get the thing race ready again. We’re going to find out how their efforts went on Wednesday at the salt because we happened to bag out early on Wednesday am so we’ll update our story when we see posted results to find out if Alp, Jalika, and their band of merry men were able to set themselves a new record.
Alp has big plans for this bike and frankly what we’re talking about here is just the beginning of what he wants to do with the creation. For now, you can follow Alp and his skills through Facebook BY CLICKING RIGHT HERE
What follows are the photos that Bret Kepner took of the couple thrashing their stuff in the Motel 6 parking lot. This is the true nature of Bonneville. The real heart and soul of land speed racing. It is gritty, it is grassroots, and it is the kind of inspiring story that we all love!