Friday, December 30, 2011

Vintage Drag Press Release

Wayne, head honcho over at the NVMDRA recently sent this press release my way. Looks like a great venue and one to put on your schedule for next summer. As for "The Knuckledragger" and me, all I can say is "God willing, we'll be there!

Vintage Motorcycle Drag Bike Nationals to be held at Eddyville Raceway Park.

Eddyville Raceway Park an 1/8th mile drag strip at Eddyville, Iowa will have an all motorcycle event on Saturday, August 25, 2012. This event will be called Motorcycle Mania. This event will include a double header race for Eddyville`s Pro Bike class, a Street Bike class, and other classes TBD. The track was contacted by Wayne Skinner of the National Vintage Motorcycle Drag Racing Association about an event for vintage drag bikes. This race for vintage drag bikes has been added to the Motorcycle Mania event. There also will be a charity motorcycle ride from various places ending at the track. The charity ride will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project.
Gerald Kramer, co-owner and general manager of ERP was a motorcycle drag racer for 20 years and is super excited about having the vintage drag bike event. He started racing bikes in 1968 at Eddyville and in the 70`s & 80`s raced at IDBA and Dragbike all bike national events in sportsman classes including events at Bowling Green, KY.

Gerald feels that there is a potential for this to become a very big event but will take time to grow. Wayne has laid the ground work to promote the vintage bikes and hopefully together we can grow this type of event. We are going to need the support of guys out there with the old drag bikes looking for a place to play or just display if not race ready. This event is all about having fun not about racing for big money! The persons working on the charity ride also hope to make that an annual event and if we get some cool bikes for them to see it will also grow.

Eddyville Raceway Park is located about 60 miles S.E. of Des Moines, Iowa right off of Hwy 63/163 a four lane road and is easy to get to from all directions. It is a nice 1/8 mile facility with a state of the art Musco lighting system, clean restrooms, showers, good race track, plenty of parking, and a friendly staff.

We are still working on details of the event such as times, entry fees, classes, payouts, etc.There will be a test and tune on Friday night and Sunday will be a raindate. Gerald can be reached by email at or cell # 641-780-3534.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

As I sat down to write this, I realized that what I was about to put into words was probably quite similar to what I wrote last year at this time. I checked, and sure enough, the main point is the same, only some details were different.

Christmas is perhaps the one time of year when nearly everyone gets a little sentimental, gets a little "merrier" than usual, maybe even an little more religious. For some, it may even be the only time during the year that their shadow will darken the doorway of a Church.

But what's it all about? To the sentimental it may be a time to get warm fuzzy feelings as they recall or re-live Christmases past. To the "merry" it may be the one time of year when they can count on most others to be in a good mood, when everybody is a little more friendly. To the religious though, its more obvious. Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus.

I don't know about other cultures, but here in America we seem to be big on honoring important people by celebrating their birthday. A quick look at our calender shows George Washington's birthday, Abraham Lincoln's birthday, Martin Luther King's birthday ...and of course Christmas. No one would suggest that we honor George, Abe, or Martin just because they were born. We honor them because of what they did during their lifetime. The same is true with Jesus. The only reason to celebrate his birth is because of what he did during his life. And what he did was the most monumental, loving act of all time. He died as the acceptable sacrifice for our sins. The prophet Isaiah tells us the story better than I could:

For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:2-12)

So have a wonderful Christmas; get sentimental, be merry, but don't forget the reason why we honor the one whose birth we celebrate!

Monday, December 19, 2011

At Long Last ...

It certainly seems as though this has taken an awfully long time. More than once I have wondered if the rapture would arrive first ...but I finally have, in my possession, the production version of the oversize Knucklehead intake valves that have been in the works for well over a year. At a 2.060" diameter, these are a full 5/16" larger diameter than the stock valves they replace.

Bigger intake valves in Knucklehead motors has been a "speed trick" for nearly as long as Knuckleheads have been built. These valves are the proper diameter to "do it old school" by removing the existing seat insert and grinding the new seat directly on the head. By blending the material from the bowl into the I.D. where the old valve seat was, you will wind up with a "choke" of 90% which is just about right for good flow on a Knuckle head.

Back "in the day" automotive valves were typically shortened for use as oversize Knuckle intakes. While period correct, they have a few drawbacks. Shortening the valves require the use of a lash cap on the valve tip to prevent premature wear, which can throw off rocker geometry. Often automotive valves have a lot of "tulip" which requires the bottom of the already short Knuck guide to be further shortened. They also tend to be very heavy, which does nothing for performance. These 5/16 stem valves address all of those problems.

For some time now, savvy engine builders have been aware that a late model Iron Head Sportster valve was a good choice for an oversize intake valve for a Knuckle due to their similar length. Though the XL's 1.940" diameter valve was easy to come by, its thinner (5/16" vs 3/8") valve stem still left it a "not so easy" upgrade. No problem getting valves, but few engine builders are inclined to machine their own valve guides. That's why I took the initiative to have a production run of 5/16" bore valve guides manufactured for Lee's Speed Shop recently. Of course that still leaves an issue with the stock valve seat inserts. A 1.940 or a 2.0" intake valve does not fit onto the stock Knucklehead valve seat insert, and requires machining for an oversize valve seat insert.

Not so with the 2.060" valve. As mentioned above, once the old seat insert is removed, a seat for the new valve can be ground or cut directly on the cast iron of the head (just as Iron Head XLs have always been). This 60+ year old performance mod for Knuckleheads has never been so easy! They are now in stock, and ready to ship.

Now, chances are, if you are paying close attention you will have caught on to another logical use for these valves. If an Iron XL intake valve is a suitable upgrade for a Knuckle, then it follows that an oversize Knuckle intake valve may be a suitable upgrade for an Iron XL! That's right, a 2.060" intake valve may (I have not had a chance to try it out yet) be a good bet for a maximum effort Iron XL drag motor. In case anyone is interested in trying it, the overall length of the 2.060" valve is 3.675 as compared to the R series XL intake at 3.690.

If you are wondering why anyone would set out to produce and market performance parts for a motor that has been out of production for over 60 years, then you are in good company, for I often wonder that myself. Still, it does seem that I have a corner on the market least for the moment.

Friday, December 2, 2011

History Book

Way back in the dark ages, when I was a schoolboy, History was not one of those classes which I disliked. In fact, I believe that I could actually admit, if pressed, to enjoying History classes. That said, when a book comes along with a title like "Motorcycle Drag Racing: A History" it is not hard to see why it might grab my attention.

Motorcycle Drag Racing: A History, by John Stein is a 240+ page book jam packed with photos and a lively text which documents motorcycle drag racing from its 1950 birth at Santa Ana, right down to today's NHRA Pro Stocks. The size and quality put it in the category often referred to to as a "coffee table book" (yeah, I know; I don't have a coffee table either). If you are a fan of motorcycle drag racing, this is a "must have" item!

Chapter titles include: The Pioneers: 1950-1960, The Sixties: The Golden Age of Motorcycle Drag Racing, The Pioneers: 1960-1970, "Congratulations, You've Got Twins." (which of course deals with the rise of dual engine drag bikes), and many others. Legendary racers such as Lloyd Krant, Louie Castro, Chet Herbert, Bud Hare and Tommy Auger are some of those highlighted from the '50s. Clem Johnson, Leo Payne, Joe Smith, Boris Murray, and Sonny Routt are just a few of the other "shakers and movers" to earn a spot in this "who's who" of motorcycle drag racing lore.

My only complaint is that I wish Mr. Stein had expanded every chapter into a book of its own ...and I do understand what an unreasonable complaint that is given the large size and scope of the book as it is. But the book is sorta like motorcycle drag racing itself: its so good you just want more of it!

Seriously, the photos alone are worth the price of admission. Likewise the text could stand on its own and I doubt that anyone would complain about the price; add those together and its a bargain!

"Motorcycle Drag Racing: A History" can be purchased direct from Gearhead Publishing . Buy it; read it; you'll thank me for the heads up.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving: Psalm 147

Psalm 147 serves as a wonderful list and reminder of things for which we can give thanks to our God.

147:1 Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.

Verse 1 explains why we should give thanks to the Lord. For one thing, it is good. It is a good and right thing to do. Another reason for giving thanks to God is because it is pleasant to do so. When you join in singing a song of thanks to God, isn't it something that makes you feel good? Just as the Bible tells us here, it is pleasant. A third reason is that giving thanks is comely, or fitting as some translations render it.

147:2 The LORD doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.

What does that have to do us, you might ask. Building up Jerusalem? Well, like many things in the Bible, even if there is not a direct application, there is still something we can take away from it. Just as God placed his temple in Jerusalem in Old Testament times, he has done much the same with believers under the New Testament. In that sense, we can be thankful that God builds up his Church, and gathers in his people.

147:3 He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.

it is the Lord who ultimately heals both body and soul. How can you not read this verse without thinking of the passage in Revelation that says he will finally wipe away all tears from our eyes? That is a great promise that we can be truly thankful for!

147:4 He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names. 147:5 Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.

Have you ever considered thanking God for his wisdom and power? I, for one, am very thankful that it is Jehovah who is in charge. I am thankful that God is all powerful so that we can trust that what he has foretold, will come to pass.

147:6 The LORD lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground.

When the Bible tells of the LORD blessing the meek, it speaks of those who understand their own sinfulness before God. Those who do not trust in their own righteousness, but rather put their trust in the righteousness of Christ.

147:7 Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God: 147:8 Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains. 147:9 He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.

These verses show us more things about the LORD which are worthy of our thanks and praise; He controls all of nature. He provides for all of his creation, and makes the world a thing of beauty.

147:10-11 He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.

Aren't you thankful that God takes pleasure in those who have placed their faith in him. Aren't you thankful that you are one of them.

147:12-14 Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion. For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates; he hath blessed thy children within thee. He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat.

In the past I have made the case that Zion, as the place where God dwelt in Old Testament times, is now the New Testament Church by way of the Holy Spirit indwelling believers. Certainly we can be thankful that God provides the strength which defends the Church from its enemies, and he blesses the children who are raised in the Church. As his Church he also gives us peace and provision to serve him with.

147:15-18 He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth: his word runneth very swiftly. He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes. He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold? He sendeth out his word, and melteth them: he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow.

We can be thankful that God is the one who controls all of nature. He sends the snow and the cold and ice. But it is also God who melts the snow and ice, and I know we are all thankful for that.

147:19-20 He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD.

And finally, this psalm ends with one more thing we can be thankful for. God has given us his word. At the time this was written, only Israel had the great blessing of having been given God's word. And it is that word that shows us who the real creator God is. It is in his word that we find his law, which condemns us for our sins. But it is also his word that gives us the good news that Jesus Christ came into the world to pay the penalty for those sins. And it is God's word that calls on us to repent of our sins and put our trust in Jesus. That is certainly the number one item we should be thankful for, not only on Thanksgiving, but every day of the year!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fear and Forgiveness

But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared. Psalm 130:4

On first glance, that seems like an odd statement, doesn't it? But think about it...

Isn't there an old saying about there being no one more dangerous than someone with nothing to lose? The book of Romans tells us that we are all condemned sinners without excuse, and most of mankind, when caught in a moment of truthfulness, will admit to such. But where does that leave them? If there were no forgiveness from God, then they would be without hope and with nothing to loose. No point in fearing that which is inevitable. May as well go out defiantly!

Ah, but there is forgiveness with our LORD. Now there is hope! Now justice is not inevitable. Now there is the possibility of not receiving the wages of sin. And since this is the case, it does rightly lead to a holy fear of him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. As the book of Proverbs tells us, the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I Was Wrong

Not exactly ground shattering news, huh? As they say: we all make mistakes. I certainly have to plead guilty, ...but sometimes being wrong about something is a little easier to take than others.

On the several occasions I have been asked about doing further porting work on Harley's Screamin' Eagle CNC ported heads, my answer has been "not enough material left to gain much." That was based on the annoying (to me at least) habit of the factory making the "choke" (the necked down area just below the valve seat) too large. The best and brightest porting minds in the world will tell you that in most cases 89 to 90% (choke diameter to valve diameter) is as big as you should go for best flow. They will add that in few rare cases you might go as large as 91% but absolutely no more! Harley seems to be fond of percentages somewhere north of that limit. The Screamin' Eagle 110 heads are a good example with a choke percentage of 91.7%. Their CNC ported MVA (Maximum Valve Area) remain true to form with a 1.950" choke working out to 92% of the 2.120" intake valve.

Recently though, I had a long time customer ask me to see if there was anything to be gained on the CNC MVA heads from his brand new Screamin' Eagle 120R engine. A careful perusal of the S.E. catalog revealed that the next step up from the 120R heads (aka the CNC MVA heads) is their "Pro Hurricane" head sporting a 2.175" intake valve. Hmmm ...that same 1.950 choke with a 2.175 valve would give an percentage of 89.7%. At least that would give me something to work with. On the chance that the overall length of the Hurricane valve would be usable in the MVA head, I ordered a pair. When the valves arrived, I was happy to see that they would work out well.

After some careful measurements and calculations for valve to valve clearance at the cams TDC lifts, the next stop was the Kwikway 044 seat and guide machine. Machining my usual multi angle high performance seat to the correct depth for the larger valve took only a matter of minutes, and then on to the flow bench. I intentionally skipped the one other modification I had planned in order to see what the larger valve by itself would do. The results were encouraging: a 19 CFM increase at .400" lift! However, at .550 and .600" lift it showed a 5 CFM loss compared to the original valve. Not to worry, though, I was pretty confident that it was turbulence that caused the loss in flow, and I would address that with the other change I had planned.

And this time I was right! Coupled with my second modification to the heads the result was a nice increase in flow at all lift points except .100 & .200". Not too shabby for a glorified valve job.

.100"----before 74.8 -----after 71.3 (-3.5)

.200"----before 145.0----after 144.2 (-0.8)

.300"----before 201.7----after 210.8 (+9.1)

.400"----before 251.7----after 270.9 (+19.2)

.500"----before 292.0---after 299.7 (+7.7)

.600"----before 311.1----after 315.5 (+4.4)

.650"----before 314.8----after 323.0 (+8.2)

So what was that second mod, you ask? Sorry, but if I am going to stay in business, I can't give away all my speed secrets. Suffice to say the picture below is an "after" picture, and you'll be hard pressed to see anything except the factory CNC machined surface

Which leads to the next question: is there more to be gained with more work to the rest of the port? Guess I'll have to change my answer to "probably."

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Heart of the Matter

"I just know in my heart that its what I should do..."

"Yeah, I know I don't live like I should, but God knows my heart..."

"I know in my heart that God wouldn't send anyone to hell..."

"I know I'm saved because I invited Jesus into my heart..."

Consider each of the above statements in light of what God says on the matter:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9

There is only one solution to this problem of your desperately wicked heart:

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26

That's right; a heart transplant performed by the Lord God Almighty! This would be a good time to seek him for your preoperative evaluation. You'll find it in the Holy Bible.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Another Couple Pieces of the Puzzle

Last month I had the opportunity to attend one of performance guru David Vizard's two day seminars. This series of seminars focuses on David's latest book "How to Build Horsepower." In fact the book is, in essence, a compilation of the lecture notes for the seminar. For those of you unfamiliar with Mr. Vizard, he has been modifying engines for performance for over 50 years. In that time David has proven his proficiency in nearly all facets of performance modification in a wide variety of engine designs with an impressive list of wins, records, and accomplishments.
The host for the particular seminar I attended was Myron Cottrell of TPIS Inc. and held at his facility located a convenient 10 minutes from my home. The local event was partially underwritten by Goodson, a top notch vendor of engine rebuilding supplies.

In deference to Mr. Vizard and the labor that he has invested in research for this seminar/book, I won't detail any of the specifics from the seminar, however I can heartily endorse it (both the seminar and the book). Truth be told, most of the specifics would be of little value to my regular readers who, like me, tend to be Harley oriented. Don't expect to buy this book and find which particular cam or carb is the correct one for your Harley, however you can expect to find valuable information that will point you in the right direction in a number of areas.

As one who has been building performance Harley engines for 30+ years, and porting heads for over 20, I must admit that much of the info in the book is quite basic, but it provided enough of those "Aha!" moments to make it quite worthwhile. In fact, the title I gave to this post reflects that fact. In many ways a high performance engine can be like a jigsaw puzzle. One can work on a single area and pretty much complete it, but it still has to fit into the whole picture in the proper place in order to get the "full effect." Any time you can add another piece of the puzzle, it gives you a better chance of connecting the individual sections properly into the overall picture.

Sometimes the new found piece of the puzzle may be as simple as info that explains why a relationship works the way it does. A good example of this from the book/seminar is the relationship between compression ratio and exhaust flow. Another piece might be the widely held belief about exhaust system back pressure which Vizard not only sets straight, but explains how the fallacy gained such wide acceptance. I believe I may have found at least one useful tidbit in every chapter of the book.

One of the main reasons for my attendance was to learn about Mr. Vizard's seemingly controversial method of cam selection. During his lecture David polled the audience as to what criteria were the most often used for camshaft selection by their customers. I believe the two most popular answers were duration and the timing of the intake closing. I am a little embarrassed to say that in the Harley industry, one might have to go a little further down the ladder and answer valve lift. Just to be clear, I am not saying those were the criteria that the engine builders present used to select cams, but rather what their customers came to them with. David's answer as to the most important factors in cam selection were quite different. Overlap and lobe centerline angle. For more details, I suggest you buy the book.

Perhaps the best reason to read this book lies in its ability to get your brain in gear. How can I apply the knowledge that David has gathered to the engines I work on? Is there a part that can be improved upon with those tidbits of new info I picked up? Suffice to say the wheels are turning (in my head) and more horsepower is within sight on the horizon. I can hardly wait to get back to work on the puzzle.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Daniel and the Lion's Den

Everyone knows the story of Daniel and the lions den. It is another of those Bible stories that is a favorite of Sunday School teachers everywhere. But, of course, like every other story from the Bible, it is equally edifying for adults.

The background to this story is that Daniel was one of those who had been brought as a young captive from the tribe of Judah to Babylon during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. But soon Daniel and his friends found favor in the sight of the Babylonian rulers.

Daniel 6:1-5 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.

You see, Daniel had come to his position of importance in the government without compromising or hiding his belief and trust in the God of Israel. How different that is from most politicians today. They will dodge questions and do their best to avoid giving straight answers about their beliefs about God, lest they should offend anyone who might otherwise vote for them. But not Daniel.

Knowing that Daniel would not hide his faith, those princes who were jealous of him, found it easy enough to set a trap for him. They went to king Darius and convinced him to make a decree that for the next 30 days no one was to make a petition to any man or any god except to Darius himself. I have to think that they were playing on Darius' pride, flattering him into going along with it. So without considering the consequences for his friend Daniel, Darius signed the decree ...and the penalty for not observing it was to be thrown into the lion's den.

Daniel 6:10-11 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God.

Daniel didn't just fall into the trap. He saw the trap as if it were set in broad daylight, and he walked willingly into it! Now, couldn't Daniel have just followed the decree and given up his prayers for 30 days? After all, it would not be a permanent thing - he just needed to take a month off from his prayers. Or he might have even continued to pray, but done it in secret.
But there is a phrase in that last passage that make a big difference: "as he did aforetime." Daniel was in the habit of praying 3 times a day, and he was in the habit of doing it with his windows open. Everyone knew he prayed in such a manner. If he had stopped, it would have been tantamount to his denying his God.

In Matthew 10:33 Jesus said "But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."

[In modern day America, facing the possibility of death for refusing to deny Christ is a little hard to relate to. Such is not the case everywhere however. Nearly every day, Christians in other parts of the world face the very real possibility of dying for their faith. If you think "that could never happen here," you are naive. The religious freedom we enjoy here has never been the norm throughout world history.]

By continuing in prayer, despite the decree, Daniel displayed two things. One was that he feared God more than he feared man. He would rather face death than deny his God. The other was his faith that God was able to deliver him, and when I say deliver him, I don't necessarily mean from the mouths of the lions. There is really nothing in the text to suggest that Daniel knew that God would stop the lions from eating him. But we do know that Daniel shared the same promise all Christians have: that no matter how difficult our fate here in this world, we have a glorious future awaiting us in heaven. As Paul said, "... the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."

Daniel 6:16-23 Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him. Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. Then was the king exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.

"No manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God." There we have the gospel message from this story of Daniel and the lion's den. Daniel was saved because he believed in his God. The same is true for you and me. We find it over and over in the New Testament:

In Luke 7 we read of the woman who anoints Jesus with costly perfume. That incident ends with these words from Jesus, "... Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace."

In Luke chapter 18 we have Jesus healing a blind beggar, and in verse 42 Jesus said to him, "...Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee."

In Mark 16 Jesus tells us: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."

In Romans 10 verse 9 Paul tells us that "... if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."

God has told us, by means of the Bible, that he sent his Son to pay the penalty for our sins. He told us that his Son, who was without sin, died on the cross in our place. Do you believe him? Daniel was saved because he believed God. You too can be saved if you believe God.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

More Thoughts on Vintage Drags

Back in the old days (or old daze as some I know, put it) drag racing had heavy participation by car clubs. Most often it would take the form of club members "chipping in" in building a race car, which members would often take turns piloting. With the economy in as questionable shape as it has been, perhaps it is time to bring back that particular form of camaraderie.

As you know if you follow this blog, I am involved in the fledgling National Vintage Motorcycle Drag Racing Association (NVMDRA). At the moment, the largest hold up with the association seems to be a lack of numbers. Lots of enthusiastic talk, but ready to race drag bikes ...not so much. Perfectly understandable. Had I not started building my "Knuckledragger" project several years ago, I too would be in the same boat, i.e. lots of enthusiasm but not much progress, and it would be largely be due to not having much expendable income for such a project. That always makes the going slow, especially if you are doing your best to stay fiscally responsible.

That's where those interested in vintage motorcycle drags could take a cue from those gearheads of yesteryear! What if you and a couple buddies formed an informal drag racing club? Could you get something together to put on the track if it only cost you a third or a quarter as much money? And how about if you only had to devote one third the time to it. Even better yet, if you are an old codger (like me) this would be a good way to mentor a younger guy or two by bringing them in on it. On the other side of that coin, if you and your buddies were not born back in the "dark ages" why not hunt up an old time drag racer to bring on board to show you how it used to be done. I am pretty sure there are a lot of them out there who would jump at the chance to share their knowledge; as long as you are willing to politely listen to their "war stories" that is.

Along those lines, I had already contacted my friend Kevin "Teach" Bass, founder and instructor of the Bloomington Kennedy High School "Chopper Class", to see if they would be interested in building a vintage style drag bike as part of this year's curriculum. Teach was enthusiastic about the idea, as he is with almost anything to do with motorcycles.

Of course that meant we needed to find a bike to transform into a vintage style drag bike. As luck would have it (course I personally don't believe in luck; I know who is really in charge) a bike found me. A gentleman stopped at my shop last week with a motorcycle on a trailer. Would I be interested in buying it? Depends on the price, was my answer of course. Now, in reality he was looking for a specific shop that specialized in metric bikes. However that shop had recently closed its doors and left no forwarding address. That's right, its no Harley. But that's OK. The NVMDRA is not a strictly Harley association. Nor is it a strictly Harley/Triumph association, though one might jump to that conclusion when looking over the present membership.

The bike is an early '70s Honda 350 Four. Vintage for sure, and best of all was the initial investment: $50. The seller told me that he thought (rightly I believe) that it was worth about $200 parted out, but when he heard my plans for it, he accepted my $50 offer. That also saved him from hauling it around to other potential buyers since his parents were moving and the Honda was loosing the resting spot it had occupied since 1984.

Maybe I have a gift (or weakness, depending on how you look at it) for seeing the potential in an old piece of junk like this. I can already see the bike stripped of a whole bunch of excess baggage. The front fender, fairing, gas tank, seat, luggage rack, etc. will all go (and hopefully be sold on eBay to help finance the project). The swingarm can go and be replaced with a rigid section that will also serve to lower the bike down to a suitable drag race stance. The Chopper Class's new tubing bender should help facilitate that. The front fork can be lightened and shortened and set up with two inches of travel. The front disc brake will be a good item to keep. The speedo can go, but they will probably want to keep the tachometer. The rear wheel is an 18" which would look killer with one of the new run of M&H 4" drag slicks currently in production. Top it off with a vintage look aluminum tube gas tank, and it would be cool as could be. In fact, it'll be all I can do to keep my grubby hands off it and leave it for the high school kids to work on!

Yeah, its pretty easy to get one of us old gear heads going. So, isn't it about time you rounded up your buddies and brainstormed about what old relic one of them might know of that would look better and provide more fun if it were transformed into a vintage drag bike?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Shedding of Blood

Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

As our Pastor was preaching through the book of Hebrews in our Sunday morning services, the subject of animal sacrifices inevitably came up. He made a point that I think is well worth repeating (of course he made more than one point worth repeating, unfortunately I only have time to relate one of them here).

But first, a couple comments of my own. In modern day America, cruelty to animals has come to cause of more outrage than aborting babies. While I find that fact both shocking and disgusting, my attitude tends to swing too far the other direction. Because I see the hypocrisy of those who put animal life above human life, I tend to look at the abuse of animals a bit more cavalierly than is proper. As an example, I did not think Michael Vick should have gone to jail for the whole dog fighting scandal. That does not mean I condone what he did, I just did not see it as offensive enough to warrant jail time. It also does not mean that I lean toward disregard for animals in my own actions. Far from it; our dog is in the midst of allergy season with an accompanying disgusting odor, and yet I feel guilty about making her sleep in the garage. Yes, I can be pretty cruel!

I think a lot of Christians may be like me and wind up giving the impression that they have no regard for the welfare of animals, when in reality they are just overreacting to the perceived hypocrisy of groups such as PETA. Truth is, the Bible is clear that none of God's creation should be abused.

Which brings us to one of our Pastor's points from his sermon. The whole issue of animal sacrifices as instituted in the Old Testament law was NOT evidence of a lack of compassion for animals, but rather evidence of a huge amount of compassion for sinners. The shedding of the blood of those animals, far from placing a low value on their life, was to show just how utterly life and death serious the matter of sin was!

If you go to Hebrews chapter 9, you will read how Jesus' death on the cross was the fulfilment of the sacrifice for sins pictured in the Old Testament. That is how serious sin is!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I am reproducing the following here with the permission of Bob Grimes:

Why would a 64 year old Grandfather build and ride a Blown NitroTop Fuel Bike? Some times I ask my self that same question. I have been drag racing for 30 + yrs, mostly Pro Gas. Top fuel I was afraid to try it was too dangerous, Ha Ha. Dec.20 2006 I was diagnosed with Met static renal cell carcinoma - kidney cancer! It had spread to the pancreas, kidneys, adrenal glands, thyroid, lymph nodes and lungs. My wife Pam and I were stunned beyond belief. All we could do was hug each other and cry Pam being a critical care nurse new I was dealt a death sentence. After we hugged a long time she asked me is there any thing you would like to do or see before you die. I didn’t hesitate and said, I would like to go 200 miles per hour on a Top Fuel Bike. Then we cried together. Feb 23 I had a total nephrectomy of the right renal bed. A soft ball size cancer was removed, along with My right kidney and adrenal gland, because the mass was cutting off the blood supply to my heart. The doctors sent me home and told me I had 6 months to 1 year left on this earth. They told me there was no cure for stage 4 renal cancer, and it grows fast!. At that point I thought It was the end of the line. I wept and give myself to Jesus. I asked for forgiveness of all my sins against God and Man, I asked the Lord to use me to do His will until the day I would leave this world. That fall I was still here and my father in heaven sent me to a little Pentecostal church in Pen valley Ca. Then the Lord blessed me with musical talent I never new I had so I wound up on the worship team singing, playing harmonica, guitar, banjo and writing songs To the lord. Pam and I went to a Harley race in Sacramento. While there we purchased a used Top Fuel chasses built by of all things hell racing. We started building the Blown Fuel Bike I thanked the lord for every day and the strength to go on. The Lord blessed me with the time and the talent to build this awesome Blown Nitro Harley and we named the bike THE MESSENGER. We finished the Bike November 09, we worked hard trying to get it to go that 200 mph in the ¼ mile. Aug 28 2011 at Woodburn drag strip THE MESSENGER Amazed us all when I rode it to an 1/8 mile time of 4.2 sec at 191 mph and ¼ mile et time of 6.59 Sec. at 181 mph. looking at the data collecting computer showed I had clicked off the throttle at 5.2 sec. and The MESSENGER was going 217 mph. On the return road as the crowd cheered I looked up to heaven with tearing eyes held up my hand to the LORD and thanked Him for blessing me in so many ways. You know he loves us so much, He made us in his own image. He wants to hold you in his arms, He wants to give you strength to make it through what ever trial the world throws at you, He wants to forgive your trespasses, He wants you to be free, He wants you to do your best to sin no more, He wants you to love him with all your heart with all your soul, with all your strength, with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. Luke 10:27. If this Testimony has touched your heart God is reaching out to you, now is the time to take his hand and Say this simple prayer.

Father in heaven the time has come I want to know you. I want you to hold me in your arms, show me the way father, I pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit. I ask for your forgiveness for my many trespasses against you and my neighbors. Help me to forgive those that have trespassed against me. Help me to walk in your Son’s footsteps in Jesus Name I pray. Amen.
Welcome to god’s family. Every race we run on in this world means nothing unless we honor the Father and the Son in everything we do. I know I’m going to heaven cuz this bike scared all the hell out of me. God bless you and keep you.


I would like to just add a couple comments. For you gearheads, did you note that he closed the throttle only 1 second past the half track point and he was already at 217MPH? Any guesses as to how fast the full 1/4 mile would have been? Wow!

And for those of you who are not yet Christians, note that Bob's number one priority became proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. I can only speculate that it is part of God's plan to get someone's attention by means of the performance of "The Messenger". Someone who perhaps would have never heard of Bob Grimes or his testimony of salvation without this bike.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Knoxville Half-Mile 2011

Tonight (Friday Sept 9th) vintage flat track bikes will take to the Knoxville half-mile for some exciting dirt track action bringing back memories of past glory. Josh Koch's win there last year resulted in this year's poster featuring him along with the Bill Hofmeister owned Iron XL which he rode to victory (with porting work by yours truly). On Saturday the AMA Pro Flat Trackers will follow suit and battle it out for current bragging rights.

And just in case you are having a problem seeing the "Lee's Speed Shop" on the side of the tank, below is a larger version of the bottom half of the poster:

If you are in the area, you won't regret taking time to attend!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New Kid on the Block

The fledgling National Vintage Motorcycle Drag Racing Association has been in need of a sort of clearinghouse/communications center since its inception. Well, due to the wonders of the Internet, there is something now in place.

With the blessing of NVMDRA founder Wayne Skinner, I just finished setting up an online forum for the association. Initially, at least, it will be a place for updates, suggestions, clarifications and information. As such, I would urge any of my readers who have an interest in vintage motorcycle drag racing to follow this link: NVMDRA Forum

Please register, give us your thoughts, and bookmark the site. We need your feedback as to what you would like to see, what you think should be done to draw in more participants, and please let us know if you would be interested in participating in an event if one is held in your area.

And maybe, just maybe, we can finagle some of the old timers to let loose of their long guarded speed secrets!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Why the Rage?

With this post I am instituting a new category on this blog (for those few who may notice such things). Not of sufficient length to be considered "Lessons from the Pulpit", I have decided to label the new category "Short Shots" - not to be confused with the Harley exhaust pipes known for looks and not performance - but rather something more along the lines of "Short Shots in the War Against our Sinful Nature.

Psalm 2:1-3 "Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us." ...

Certainly what is laid out here in this section of Psalm 2 is as true today as it was the day it was written. History shows us that with very, very few exceptions those in the positions of kings and rulers have always followed the example of the father of lies in rebelling against their Creator ....and it is not the leaders alone.

Submit to God and to his laws? NO! Truly God's word is as burdensome as a slave collar riveted around their necks; constantly bearing witness against their sin. They are far too proud to submit to Jehovah, and they love their sin far to much to admit it as sin. Better to rail against those who would follow the Lord and to rail against the fact there even is a God. Their hearts are set against truth as if made of stone. But plotting against the Lord is a vain thing. Nothing changes the fact that there is a Creator and there is a coming day of judgment.

The good news is that it doesn't have to be that way. The Psalm ends with this point of gospel light; "Blessed are all they that put their trust in him." Turn from your sins, put your trust in Christ's payment for those sins and you will no longer be counted among those who rage against God.

Friday, August 19, 2011

What I Did on my Summer Vacation

Well, ...not really.

I did take a few days off recently to attend the NVMDRA vintage nationals in Harrisburg, Illinois though. We have to enter that story at a point about a week earlier though. A week ago Sunday afternoon, I decided it was high time that I started the Knuckledragger to check out a few things.

Number one was how it would react to dropping the clutch at RPM on dry pavement. Due to various minor setbacks since I did the initial start up on the Knuckledragger late last summer, the only running under power has been in the "burn out pit" here at the shop. Now, the Knuckledragger is set up to replicate a mid '50s drag bike as much as possible. As such, it has a vintage transmission which had been converted to a two speed (third and fourth gears only). Along with the lack of gear reduction in the transmission, it was also outfitted with a 28 tooth VL trans sprocket necessary to fit the early '30s VL frame. Add a new M&H 5" drag slick with traction capabilities exceeding '50s era tire technology by multiples of 10 and you can begin to see my concern.

The second item I wanted to get a better feel for was how good the brakes work. Stock springer front drum brakes are notoriously bad. Often, they will do little more than hold your bike from rolling backwards when stopped on a hill. I had done my best to make this one work to the best of its capability, but did it? The rear brake is of course also a stock '40s era drum. These rear brakes maintain a much better reputation than the fronts, but they are after all still just a rear drum brake. It would be nice to know in advance how well the brakes would (or would not) stop me.

The third item I wanted to check out was the shifting. The original (to this trans) set up was just not something I could make myself like. So, even though the bike only needed to be shifted once, I thought it important to know it would happen.

But, of course things did not go exactly according to plans. Somewhere along the way of making all these plans I neglected to put a fresh charge on the starter batteries. Strike one. Although the Knuckledragger did start, before I got it off the rollers, I managed to let the motor die. That is when the weak state of the batteries manifested itself. After a quick charge we managed to get the bike running again; only to do a repeat performance of stalling it. A few more repetitions of a three stooges type starting drill and I finally got the bike to the end of the parking lot and turned around. But now the engine was audibly running "sour." Now what? A valiant attempt to bring the RPMs up and drop the clutch resulted in stalling the engine ....again!

Well no sense in beating a dead horse, so to speak, so it was back up on the bench to sort things out ....much to the disappointment of a couple of the grandchildren who had been lured to the shop with promises of a daredevil riding exhibition. The excitement obviously over for the day, they went home with their parents. After only a few minutes of fruitless troubleshooting, by chance as much as anything, I felt one of the carb needles. Loose as could be. The idle mixture and the power mixture needles on both carbs were similarly loose and badly out of adjustment, having turned themselves out from engine vibration. Now, if only I remembered what the final adjustment I came up with on them last summer was ....

Which brings us up to the vintage race this past Saturday. Once we were set up in the pits, I would still need to start the Knuckledragger and adjust the low speed mixture. I had a pretty good idea of where I had adjusted the high speed, and so was less concerned with that. Most of the alcohol for the high speed circuit is supplied by fixed jets inside the float bowl, so I was using the "power" needles more like trimmers, even though with the M35 bodies it is capable of supplying a goodly amount of fuel.

Once the carbs were back in adjustment, I was ready for a pass down the track, still with the same three concerns that I had not addressed the previous weekend. Would the bike launch, would it shift, and if it did those two things, would it stop? They say with age comes wisdom ....yeah they say that, ...but "it ain't necessarily true."

The whole issue of shifting, while it would have been nice to test ahead of time, was not something that I was too worried about. Stopping on the other hand, is a fairly important part of drag racing, though to be honest it was not something that worried me too much. I have been off the end of the pavement enough times on a dragbike with good brakes that I was confident that the speeds involved would not make it an issue.

The "launch" however, was a whole 'nother matter. My biggest fear was standing the bike straight up. I had never been on a bike with a drag slick and no wheelie bars. Like I said, the tire on this bike provides way, way, way more traction than anything available back when drag bikes were built the way this one is. The chances of recovering from such a launch without major damage to the bike, not to mention myself, are pretty slim. Nearly as scary though was the flip side of that equation (no pun intended) where I bog the motor or even kill it. That would indicate a lack of power and reflect poorly on my engine building ability. Talk about embarrassing! Now that's something to worry about!

I wound up making two passes down the track on Saturday. I must say, I have mixed emotions about the results. First I'll describe how it felt from the pilots seat. On the first pass, I decided to throw caution to the wind and rev the motor pretty good before dropping the clutch. It felt like I was spinning the rear tire hard with just a hint of fish tailing. Somewhere between 100 and 200 feet it seemed that the tire finally found traction and the bike pulled like a freight train. When I shifted to high gear I had to let off the throttle (due to an unsolved issue with my shift mechanism) and when I got back on it the clutch broke loose badly, only starting to grab again just before the finish line. I fully expected to receive reports of at least a haze of tire smoke from the first part of the pass.

After wearing gloves to remove the now blue steel clutch plates and laying them out to cool, John Endrizzi (my volunteer pit crew for the day) and I found a fairly flat piece of concrete to "resurface" the fiber plates on. A little adjustment on the shifter and we were ready for one more pass, just in case our back yard clutch repair was successful.

This time my second to worst fear was realized. I stalled the engine at the starting line; no fault of the engine, I had forgotten to open the petcocks and ran the float bowls dry. Quickly back to the rollers and restart the Knuckledragger.

The second pass was much like the first, with the sensation of a lot of tire spin, though not quite as much as on the first pass. Then, again the feeling of the engine pulling like a freight train.
The shift into high gear worked essentially as designed this time, or at least a slow motion version of it. This time it took most of the shut down area to get the bike stopped, owing to the mediocre brakes.

So what's to have mixed emotions about, you ask? Well, there is this. My wife, after helping to start the bike each time, grabbed a video camera (one she had never used before, no less) and managed to record the passes. The video shows no tire smoke, in fact it is inconclusive as to whether the rear tire is spinning at all. Is it possible that what I perceived as tire spin was only clutch slippage? Don't know.

If you watch the video closely, on the second pass you can see what looks like a significant wobble in the rear wheel. It's not. After checking the bike over closely since seeing the video, I have come to the conclusion that the rear section of the frame was twisting from the combination of traction and horsepower. I hate to give up the look of the 5 inch slick, but I believe the best solution is to put a tire on the bike that more nearly mimics the traction capabilities of the era. After all, the frame is at least 75 years old.

Overall, the weekend could really only be counted a success for my wife and myself. We finally got the Knuckledragger down the track, and left with only minor issues to sort out. We had a great time and did a little sight seeing on the way home. The down side is that turn out for the race was what one participant called "a disaster." Taking place at the end of Sturgis week may have been a big factor, as well as glitches with the advertising. But, just as the Knuckledragger came away in need of some "fine tuning" to work better next time, so the NVMDRA came away with some fine tuning to be worked out. Plans are already in process towards both those goals.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Another Dual Carb Manifold

It's not every day that somebody walks into my shop with a really cool piece of vintage speed equipment ....but it did happen recently. My friend Teach came in to finish assembling a set of Knuck heads that I had reworked for him, and with him he had a Seeley manifold that had recently found its way to him. To be perfectly honest I had never heard of a Seeley manifold, and at first glance I thought it was the same as a manifold that I had built 15 or 20 years ago. At the time, I assumed that I was the first one to come up with the idea. Of course the truth is, there is no new thing under the sun (a very wise man said that a very long time ago).

Judging by this vintage ad someone beat me to the punch by about a half a century!

Closer examination of the Seeley manifold, however revealed that it was indeed different than what I had built. You see, the Seeley has the clever addition of a diagonal plate which separates the manifold into two equal individual runners, whereas mine was simply open so that both carbs fed each cylinder.

It's little difficult to photograph the actual divider (as shown above), however in the photo below, a straight edge placed on the outside of the manifold shows the orientation of the internal wall that separates the two intake tracts.

So, how well does the Seeley manifold work? Well, the proof will be in the pudding, so to speak. The vintage advertisement claims a 20% increase in horsepower. Is that accurate or is it hype?

It is obvious examining the manifold that the cross section is visibly smaller at the divider wall. Not that there is anything that Mr. Seeley could have done about this; there's only so much room between the heads. So, while Teach was installing the rocker boxes on his heads, I took the opportunity to put the Seeley manifold on the flow bench. The bench confirmed that there was a restriction in the Seeley manifold. How much of a restriction? Well, comparing it directly to a stock Linkert manifold, (each checked with a velocity stack directly attached to the manifold - no carb) the Seeley is 22 cfm down. That's not the whole story though. Flow testing both manifolds with an M35 carb attached showed it was only down by 5 cfm (because the carb was more of a restriction than the manifold).

Now, 5 cfm at a 28 inch test pressure is not a huge amount. It could very well be that a better "tuned length" effect of the individual runners on the Seeley manifold could indeed lead to more power despite the slight loss of cfm. Or not. We'll just have to wait for a report back from Teach as to real world performance!

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Walls

My guess is that anyone who grew up attending any kind of Church/Sunday School would recognize a children's song that goes like this: "Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, and the walls came tumbling down."

Joshua 6:1-5 Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in. And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valor. And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams' horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.

The children of Israel, after wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, had recently crossed the Jordan River into the land that God had promised to Abraham over 700 years earlier. Now it was time for them to occupy the country as God commanded them. But the first obstacle in their way was the city of Jericho and its walls. The inhabitants of Jericho had decided to trust in their walls to keep the Israelites and their God out, rather than to come out and fight or to negotiate.

What about these walls? Earlier Moses had sent scouts into the land and they had brought back word that "the cities are great and walled up to heaven". Now, obviously this was a bit of an exaggeration, however, the fact that they used such a description gives us a pretty good indication that these were very formidable walls. Certainly the inhabitants of Jericho felt that their walls were impregnable. With that in mind, what do you think the natural reaction of the Israelites to the method that was presented to them for overcoming the city of Jericho would have been? It just does not seem reasonable. Bringing the walls of a city down by marching around it, and then blowing horns and shouting just doesn't seem to make sense. No ladders, no ropes, no battering rams. Just horns and shouting.

Why would anyone believe that would work? Only because God said it would and they believed God

Joshua 6: 15-16, 20 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times: only on that day they compassed the city seven times. And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city....So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.

The children of Israel were obedient in following God's instructions as to how they were to take the city of Jericho, and God fulfilled his promise to them. Despite how impossible it seemed, how miraculous, it all played out exactly as God had said.

Clear at the other end of the Bible it says this: "By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days." (Hebrews 11:30)

The bringing down of the walls of Jericho was an act of God, but it was also an act of faith. Had the Israelites refused to follow the Lord's directions for overcoming the city, the walls would not have come down. That's what it teaches us in Hebrews 11: by faith the walls of Jericho fell down. It was required of them that they believed God would do what he said he would.

The same it also true of salvation. In fact, you might look at sin as a towering wall that separates you from God.

John 3:14-18 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

The question then is, do you have faith? Do you believe what God said in these verses? Do you believe that whosoever believes in Jesus will not perish, but will have eternal life? Do you believe that God sent his Son into the world that through him you can be saved?

If you have a biblical understanding of your own sin, then you will see salvation from that sin, and gaining eternal life, to be as monumental a task as bringing down those towering walls of Jericho. And God's plan for how to rid yourself of that sin may seem just as unlikely as the method he gave the Israelites to bring down those walls. Man's natural inclination is to try to make up for sin by doing right; to try to earn eternal life by doing good. But what does the Bible say?

Romans 4:2-5 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

In the Bible, God makes it clear we are not to follow our natural inclinations to try to earn our way to heaven, but rather that the only way is by faith in the fact that Jesus Christ paid for our sins.

A little further in the same chapter and still speaking of Abraham we read this:

Romans 4:20-25 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

Faith is the simple answer to that towering mountain of sin that is on our shoulders. It doesn't seem to make any more sense than God's method of bringing down the walls of Jericho does it? But God has promised it, and if you believe, he will deliver forgiveness of sins and eternal life just as he delivered the city of Jericho to the Israelites.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

2nd Vintage Nationals August 13

2nd Vintage Nationals set for August 13

cars for kids accelaquarter raceway park Harrisburg Illinois)

Last month's inaugural running of a National Vintage Motorcycle Drag Racing Association event was a success on many fronts. Kosman Specialties was there with their new vintage style drag chassis on display. Also in attendance was Don Rothwell, fabricator of a reproduction of the legendary Yetman drag frame. M&H had a couple prototypes of the new run of 4" x 18" drag slicks which are in the works (these have been out of production for longer than most of us can remember, and having them available again should be a major milestone in vintage drag racing). It is my understanding that initially these will be available through Kosman. New billet crankcases for pre-unit Triumphs were on display courtesy of Donny Racing Engines in Australia.

All that said, despite pre-registered total of 72, the turn out of actual vintage drag bikes was lower than expected, though that did provide a silver lining of unlimited passes for those able to make the trip. Those of us who are interested in the success of a vintage motorcycle drag racing sanction can be thankful that Wayne Skinner, the mover and shaker behind the NVMDRA, is a man of vision. His plan is to run this and possible one more race this year, and hopefully a full schedule of six races next year. The plan is to have them in different sections of the country so that everyone will have easy access to one, and then one larger centrally located event as a grand finale. Sounds like a good approach to me!

With a little more preparation time to get those vintage racers out of mothballs, this event should be even bigger and better than the first one, and next year should be phenomenal!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ten Lepers - Part Three

.... the final installment of this three part series based on Luke 17:11-19

Verse 14 "And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed."

Jesus told the lepers to go and show themselves to the priest. The priesthood and the command for the leper to show himself to the priest was established by the law of Moses
Notice that Jesus did not tell them "I am here now, you have no use for the law, you're cured!"
Instead, it might be said that in a sense, he sent them to the law. Isn't it our duty likewise to send those who are seeking a cure for their sin problem to the law?

Romans 7: 12-13 "Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful."

Here we see another purpose of the law: the blackness of sin shows up best next to the holy light of the law.

It seems that much of modern Christianity wants to give a cure without a diagnosis. They want to give you the answer to your sin problem without ever telling you that you are a sinner!
You may say "only the doctor really needs to make the diagnosis, not the one with the disease." But verse 19 of our text says "thy faith hath made thee whole." If this was what we might call a real live "faith" healing in the purest sense of the term, then the one with the disease does need to agree with the physician's diagnosis in order for him to have faith!

also in Verse 14 "As they went, they were cleansed."

These ten lepers were cleansed of their leprosy. Does this mean they were saved, born again, cleansed of their sins? If the leprosy here is a symbol of sin, then perhaps the cleansing from it is also symbolic in nature, however that does negate the lessons we can learn from it.

Verse 15 "And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,"

One of these ten, when he saw that he was healed glorified God. This one leper recognized that only God could have performed this miracle of healing. Did he recognize that Jesus was God? I don't know. He certainly at least recognized that Jesus got his power from God.
Recognizing God's mercy in salvation will certainly cause a saved man to give God the glory!

Verse 16 "And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan."

This one leper fell down on his face and gave Jesus thanks. We can only assume that this leper saw how lowly he was in relation to Jesus. True salvation causes one to have a right view of where you are in relation to a holy God . This leper was truly thankful for the cleansing that he received. True salvation will cause one to be ever mindful and ever thankful for that salvation. True salvation will cause one to be ever mindful and ever thankful for being saved from sins. Not just the penalty for sins, but the bondage of living in sin.

Verse 17 & 18 "And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger."

The other nine were cleansed, and they did as the law commanded, in fact as Jesus commanded them, to go and show themselves to the priest. I find it interesting that they went to the Jewish priest, the one who was the administrator of the ceremonial law. Could this be a symbol of those who merely trust in the trappings of religion, but never stop to worship Jesus. How many are there out there today who find their comfort in the rituals and ceremonies of religion, in their baptism, in communion, but never stop to truly worship Jesus?

Verse 19 "And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole."
faith hath made thee whole. Jesus does not say this about the other nine. The other nine were cleansed, but I suspect that they were not made whole. How many today come to Jesus "asking him into their hearts" in what has become known as "easy believism". 1, 2, 3, pray after me. Do you think some of them may only receive an outward cleansing, but are not made whole?

I think we've all known at least someone who has made a change in their life; they have "cleaned up their act. Maybe they started attending church and to most outward appearances they have turned their life around, but then something happens and they return to their old ways, or you catch them off guard and find that maybe they haven't changed as much as it appeared. Perhaps those were just outward changes, a cleansing, but there is never any inward change, no new heart.

2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

All things are become new; could that really be the cleansing that happened to the nine of these lepers? Could you really become a new creature in Christ without it causing you to return to Jesus to worship him? The one who was made whole turned back to worship Jesus.

In closing I would just like you to consider a few questions. How do your experiences compare with those of these 10 as touches leprosy being a symbol of sin? Have you ever experienced a cleansing?

If so, did you do as the one out of the ten and glorify God with a loud voice? And when I say with a loud voice, I mean that symbolically. Its not a matter of volume so much as sincerity and boldness. Have you ever testified to someone about the miracle of God making you whole?

Have you ever fallen at Jesus feet? And again, I mean that symbolically; have you seen your lowliness compared to a Holy God?

Or, instead have you gone on to find your comfort in the ceremonies of religion like these other nine lepers did?

Are you sure that you didn't just receive an outward cleansing, rather than being made whole?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ten Lepers - Part two

....continuing with part two on the story of ten lepers as found in Luke 17: 11-19. Part one is here.

As stated earlier, we cannot make the leap that every disease is a punishment by God, but I would also not take the stance that a disease is not ordained by God. We need to find a balance between these two passages:

2 Cor. 12: 7-10 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

we see some type of "thorn" in Paul's flesh, whether it was a disease or weakness or ailment, it seems to have been ordained by God to show God's strength through Paul's weakness. But that needs to be balanced against this:

Amos 3:6 Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?

Taken in context, this verse from Amos is just one small part of God's promise that he would punish the nation of Israel for their iniquities.

So when others suffer through some disease or tragedy, the only thing we can always be sure of is that God has his purposes in it.

Verse 12 "And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:"

Note that they stood "far off" as they were commanded in the law of Moses. Leviticus 13: 45-46 "And the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry, Unclean, unclean. All the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be." A leper was to live away from the rest of the people, and to cry "unclean" to keep others away so the disease would not be spread

These lepers had some knowledge of the law, whether they understood its purpose or not.
Today all men have some knowledge of God and his law, whether they understand it's purpose or not. Romans 1: 18-20 "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:"

Today many have some knowledge of the law of Moses, though they may not grasp much of it or understand it's purpose. Some gain this knowledge through "religion" where they are taught things such as the ten commandments. Some obtain this knowledge through our legal system which is largely based on the second table of the law.

For instance, laws that put a child under authority of parents are based on God's law which states honour thy father and mother. Laws against murder come from thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not steal gives us our laws against theft and robbery. Likewise slander and libel laws can be traced back to thou shalt not bear false witness.

But did these lepers from our text really understand why they were to keep their distance; why they were to cover their mouth? Probably not.

What about today? Do men understand why we were given the ten commandments? Certainly many of the Jews of Paul's day believed the law was a measuring stick that they could measure up to, and that they would be judged on a scale with their good deeds in one balance and their sins in the other, and if need be, their circumcision or keeping the feast days thrown in to tilt the scales. Not much has changed since. The same could be said of many Christian denominations today; they just substitute their baptism in place of circumcision, but they are still trusting in their own right acts of measuring up to the law.

They still can't hear Isaiah when he says all of our righteousness are as filthy rags, or they would see their true condition. Sin on one side of the scales and filthy rags on the other! But that is not how it works. Those filthy rags belong on the same side of the scale as the sin. The only thing that tilts the scale in favor of forgiveness and eternal life is the blood of Jesus, and that blood alone! So what is the purpose of the law for us? Galatians 3:24 tells us "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith."

Verse 13 "And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us."

All 10 of these lepers acknowledged Jesus and called him "Jesus, Master". Jesus means "Jehovah saves." Master means an appointee over, a commander or a teacher. When I put them together I get something like this: "the one appointed by Jehovah to be both commander and Saviour." Do you suppose these ten lepers understand all that was in the name Jesus? Did they recognize him as Lord and Savior?

How many today truly recognize all that is meant by Lord and Savior? Did these ten lepers all understand the title Master in the same way? Or, were they simply calling him teacher?
Do you realize that nearly every false religion in the world honors Jesus as a teacher?
Muslims call Jesus a prophet even though they deny his teachings. In order to call Jesus a prophet and not call him a liar, they have to edit the bible down to the point where only texts they agree with remain. But isn't that the same thing liberal "so called" Christian denominations do today?

I'll wrap this up with part three within the next couple of days.