DragFest 2009

Online goes Redline

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Drag racing isn’t all going fast as hell in a straight line; it’s a game of concentration and skill. If it were easy, everyone would be breaking speed records.

Star Vmax owners understand the power necessary for such high speed, as they already possess it. And while some enjoy it on their own, others like to be in the spotlight. The forum community is one such batch of speed demons – watching or riding, they know what real speed is!

This past weekend, the online forum hosted what they called a DragFest at a Northern California strip in Sacramento, bringing together a collection of go-fast lookers and go-faster doers. The community, under leadership of site owner Oliver Ratzesberger (fxstein on the, rallied together behind each other to break a recently run ¼-mile Vmax record. That record is held by east-coaster Jay “Pee Wee” Gleason, a legend on the strip. And on this warm fall day, the west-coast crew hopes to beat it.

Displaying both human speed on motorcycles and social networking speed on the iPhone, Oliver tweets ( and posts ETs trackside.

Start ‘er up

Being the gearhead tuner he is, Oliver brought a pair of mildly modified Gen2 Vmaxs to the fight; one belonging to him, the other belonging to fellow speed nut Tony Hagen (ynot1115). For the most part, the bikes are similar is specs and stats, with only a ½-hp difference.

Common Mods to both Oliver and Tony Hagen’s bikes Race application only, not street legal
X- type cat eliminator The only cat eliminator that allows you to run the stock cans
Monster Big Air with filters Removing the variable YCCI velocity stacks, (Yamaha Chip Controlled Intake)
TopSpeed Eliminator Fools the ECU into killing the governor. At 125 mph indicated, it chops the speed in half.
PCV quick shifter Power Commander 5
Primos lowering link
EXUP eliminator
Custom lowering brackets for straps Lowering the front end; fit to 6-piston calipers
MR9 race gas 10 HP gain with gas alone
Evoluzione Cyclesports Powershifter Push-button shifting helps the rookies get the 1-2 shift done quickly
Holeshot's electric shifter
Mickey Thompson drag slip tires with 14psi, 25 / 7.0 X 18 For “traction out the ass.”
15/30 oil
Double disc clutch mod
PCV with custom map No custom tuning on Tony’s bike - accounting for difference between two bikes along with custom verses stock exhaust pipes
All adds up to: 202 HP SAE at the wheel (207 uncorrected)

Dyno Chart provided by fxTuner LLC.

1st run: Stock bike in 4th gear. Speed governor kicks in right after 9000 rpm.

2nd run: Stock bike with TopSpeed. A little electronic gizmo designed to trick the speed signal.

3rd run: With the X-Type cat eliminator built by Mike Caron (blueta71 at Also has the restrictor plate removed.

4th run: With the Monster Big Air - Custom venturi stacks that allow for the installation of individual K&N filters.

5th run: With all of the above plus MR9 race gas from VP fuels.

All runs utilized the PCV with a downloaded map for that setup available here.

Harnessing the power are doubled up stock clutch springs.

Optional: Power Commander Quickshifter.

Mickey/Thompson race slick, a lowering link from Primos USA (eBay) as well as tie-down straps from Schnitz Racing (general purpose).

Engines were completely stock - no valve or head jobs, no big-bores, no high compression. None of the engines were ever opened up.


On the line is the West Coast bragging right to the fastest Vmax on the planet. Rev ‘em up and let ‘em rip! The current 1/4-mile record run is 9.39 @ 146 mph run just a few weeks ago by Jay “Pee Wee” Gleason on VmaxGuru’s ( bike at the Bradenton Motorsports park outside Tampa, Florida. Along with support from San Jose Yamaha and the Motor company, Oliver and his band of track junkies planned to take the title.

In 1985, Pee Wee Gleason set world records for stock motorcycles with a 10.33 quarter-mile after the first generation Vmax’s model intro in Las Vegas. We first met Oliver at the Vmax 2009 model intro last October in San Diego, and he wants to make the next round of history books with this mildly modified Gen2 Vmax.

Staging Lights

Guiding these behemoths of speed at the DragFest were rank amateurs and seasoned professionals alike. If not for the camaraderie of the forum’s readership, the readers and riders came from all over the area to perhaps pocket a timeslip they can frame and hang on the wall.

Along with the face-to-face friendship, the event’s organizer and biker-tuner extraordinaire lined up a ringer (and forum regular) to not only vie for a best-in-show ET, but also to give racing pointers to the attending public. Racing legend and life-long speedster Dale Walker (dwkwlw760 on the forum) was Oliver’s ringer.

FXstein’s ringer goes by the name of Dale Walker. Ever hear of him?

Dale, of Holeshot Performance, loves drag racing. He grew up in a racing family and started young. Subsequently he was the first to do 7s on a gas-powered bike in the 80s. And Dale was around to test the original Vmax, making magazine headlines with ETs unseen from stock bikes at the time -- uncorrected 10.62 ET at 129.87 mph with the mirrors still on it. He then went quicker, a 10.41 ET at 126.82 mph, on a 6-inch slick. Dale and Pee Wee’s rivalry goes way back.

He’s since ridden more than a few Vmaxs at the strip, and he’s got a launch sequence second to only one guy, maybe. Jay “Pee Wee” Gleason and Dale leapfrog records back and forth across the country like the weather. Rider weight and weather conditions create further complications for calling either rider the fastest, but they couldn’t be happier trying for the title.

With 40 to 50 pounds difference between them and similar attitude but variable weather conditions, each of these guys keep the riders, buyers and readers excited about owning a Star Vmax.

To our advantage, Sacramento is Dale’s second home track; Baylands Raceway in Fremont being his first. Not only is the man a pro, he’s been doing this for a while, and he knows the track like the back of his hand. He can tell you how many tenths can be gained or lost depending the wind and temps that day. If anyone was gonna break a record here today, he’s the man. And holding previous records with over 50 production motorcycles and holding four National Drag Racing Championships, he’s just the man for the job! (He also ran a Kawasaki-sponsored drag race school in Fremont in the ‘80s.) Asterisk: Weather permitting.

A race can be won or lost in the first 60 feet.

Red, Yellow, GO!

Concentration + Skill + Money – Weight = Sub-10 ETs!

As with any drag racing (or any competition) event, although the DragFest was meant for any forum reader with any ability to have fun and go fast, many early runs were spent fine tuning the ignition interrupt, changing the shifter peg angles or scrutinizing the tire air pressure with onlookers. By the time the bike was fully set up and Dale was poised on a plan of launch attack, the sun was high in the sky and the air temps were peaking into the 80s and track temps even higher – poor conditions for breaking records unfortunately.

Displaying human speed on both motorcycle and computer networking technology, Oliver could be seen posting timeslips and photos to the forum between runs. Near-live results were available by crazy Austrian’s Twitter feed [] when he wasn’t suited up and making his own runs. I think this guy might be a bigger geek than me!

The best runs start without too much revs, letting the big engine pull ya through and blasting through the 60-ft time. This is better than launching with too much rpm and running the risk of cracking loose the rear tire, lifting the front or bouncing off the limiter. Dale knows that it’s a tricky game.

Dragracing newcomer and San Jose Yamaha-sponsored AMA Superbike privateer Rickey Corey hopped on both the modded bikes and took a stab at drag racing for the first time. The kid wound up taking the fastest time all day. Being the lightest rider at the event surely helped.

  Jay “Pee Wee” Gleason – 10/2009 Dale Walker – 10/2009 Ricky Corey – 10/2009 Oliver Ratzesberger – 10/2009
ET 9.39 @ 146 9.51 @ 149 9.49 @ 149mph 9.74 @ 142 mph
Corrected N/A 9.34 @ 150 mph 9.32 @ 151 mph N/A
Temp N/A 82F-21%-21.98 in. 82F-21%-21.98 in. 82F-21%-21.98 in.
Altitude 34 feet 26 feet 26 feet 26 feet
Rider weight 115 155 140 240

Run out and Return

In the pits, the event saw the gamut of VMaxs; touring-prepped rides to Euro parts-clad speed demons. The most unique might have been the supercharged first generation Vmax – as if 120 stock ponies weren’t enough. The cherry on top of this monster machine was the handicapped license plate, classic!

There’s a fine line between hooking up, looping it and launching a clean attack on the quarter mile.

Dale understands the Vmax well – knowing to let the Vmax’s big motor hook up off the line using lower revs. But finding that perfect launch rpm isn’t easy. Somewhere between rev-limiter, the shift light (and slipping the rear tire), is the perfection he wants. And with better weather (cooler temps), he suspects Oliver’s modded Maxs could pull even lower 9s. “Add that little blue bottle and you’ve some 8s,” declares Walker.

The Vmax is a monster on the street or the track. Even bigger riders like Oliver can pull consistent mid-9s with this bike with a little prep work done to it. Being only his second trip down the quarter on the Vmax, and 5th ever day at the track, Oliver’s best was a 9.74 at 142 mph with 240 pounds in the saddle. “Just lemme loose 60 pounds and I’ll be after next season, Dale.” Dale feels the pressure and replies with, “Damn, now I gotta buy one!”

While not everyone took to the track, attendees to this Sunday’s event definitely went home with smiles on their faces.

A stock Vmax loses more than 10% of its power between the crank and the tire, but with the addition of just a few mods it’s easy to get  200 ponies to the street. Add a big-air kit, aftermarket exhaust and a Power Commander with a custom map and you’ve got a stupid fast motorcycle in your garage.

After his ride on a stock 2009 Vmax, Kevin described it as “ridiculously fast” in his intro report.

The 2010 Vmax, unchanged except for its color, will continue that trend. Shipping only in Candy red with an MSRP of $19,500, contact your local Star dealer before November 30th for a special-order unit. Orders start shipping in December, first come, first serve. Currently they’re build-to-order only! Get one and join us next time we try beating Jay’s best time!

Related Reading
2009 Star V-Max Review/Test
2004 Yamaha VMax Review
2009 Star V-Max Launch

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