Calvin Kim
by Calvin Kim
Tul-aris Dominates Unlimited GP Trophy Dash, Finishes Second in HeavyweightGP and Comes Within 0.07 Seconds of the Lap Record at Mid-America MotorplexRaces.

The first race weekend at the Mid-America Motorplex saw Steve Johnson on theTul-aris setting the pace from the first practice on Friday. New, solenoidoperated, exhaust port power valves help extend the powerband for thistwisty and technical circuit.

Previously, our powerband ranged from 6500 rpmto 8700, but now extends as far down as 4800 rpm, as was verified by our Pidata acquisition system and dyno runs at Lofgren Racing/Manley Cycle.In the first race, the 20 lap Unlimited GP Trophy Dash, Steve rapidlyoutdistanced the rest of the field and opened up a 33 second lead by the10th lap. On lap 17, with a huge lead, Steve pulled into the pits low onfuel. We use the 20 lap Trophy dash events for extended practice, astypically we do not quite have the fuel tank capacity to run the fulldistance of this mini-endurance event.

During the 8-lap Heavyweight GP race on Sunday, Steve, starting in 10th,moved quickly into the lead on the first lap and on the second lap almostbroke the lap record. The official DBcom track timing device timed Steve ata 1:34:016, with the lap record at 1:33.955, a difference of only 0.07seconds! His lead in the race was short-lived as the power valves (whichworked for all of Friday and Saturday flawlessly) stuck closed shortlythereafter, which cost us about 30 HP on the top end. Even without the powervalves, Steve still turned times in the 1:35 and 1:36 bracket in theremaining laps and finished the race in 2nd place.

We are now at a stage where the Tul-aris has become a dependable racingmachine. Steve ran and finished every practice and race for the 3-dayweekend (except running out of fuel during the Trophy dash). Our initialsetup was close and only improved as we figured out Michelin tire compoundsfor this abrasive track with the help of Tom Manson of Mason Racing Tires.

The Ohlins suspension and our patent-pending shock linkage was working sowell we only made minor damping adjustments. An additional small trailadjustment on the DCM Services adjustable triple clamp made it very excitingto see Steve carry huge cornering speed and lighting fast transitionsthrough the chicanes. Some improvements remain, such as part-throttlecarburetion and power valve reliability, but the strong points of theTul-aris, such as the braking, cornering speed and quick steering arehelping secure consistent podium finishes. The power valve design was brandnew for this event, the electronics built by Jim Hubert of Deux Ex Machinaand the mechanism machined in the Tul-aris workshop with the help ofTul-aris team members Dave Adolfson and Dave Heisserer. We're prettyconfident that we can make these work reliably for us at our next event atRoad America near Elkhart Lake, WI at the end of April. Look for us there atthe Headhunter Racing pit, who are providing our team with freetransportation and pit accommodations. Additional support in the workshopand at the track was provided by our crew chief Dale Athman and team membersIvon Tortosa and Rob Paetzold.

In addition, we would like to thank all of our sponsors and supporters: HotSeat Performance, Nutec Racing Fuel, Walt Schaeffer Michelin, Ohlins USA,MTS Systems, Lofgren Racing/Manley Cycle, Yoyodyne Titanium, GP Tech andHeadhunter Racing. Steve Johnson is sponsored by Delano Sport Center, Hy-PerSports, Mason Racing Tires, EBC Brakes and Lockhart Phillips.

Thanks to Robin Tuluie and Headhunter Racing for providing this Press Release

Look for the Tul-aris at Road America for the CCS Weekend on the 27th and 28th of April. Steve Johnson will once again be behind the controls.

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