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Track record Broken and confirmed quickest ever motorcycle at Melbourne Raceway

The season Finale at Melbourne Raceway was a rollercoaster event for the team.

Having found a small steam leak coming from a 1/4 BSP thread on the vent pipe, we were faced with a dilema of how to overcome this.  Either stop the heating process and vent the steam pressure off, drain and re fill the vessel and start the heating process again or, wrap heat shield around the area and absorb and deflect the leak as it wasn't afecting the heating process.  We decided on the latter and wrapped the area in insulation .

This worked fairly well but after 1 hour it became apparent that the temperature was creating issues with the Polyurathane nitrogen tubing, and just as we got to the line an air line burst due to the heat.  We hastily repaired the leak and came back to the holding area but it happened again! so it was decided to abort the lunch time run and run in the afternoon, make the repair more permanent, and drain the tank of water and steam and do the job correctly!.

We did just that and had organised to run last thing to close the days racing. Annoyingly even though we had removed the offending union and replaced with a new fitting and sealed it correctly with PTFE and 577 Locktite, it became apparent we still had the tinest of leaks. We decided to run with as it was so small and under the body and not near anything that could be damaged.

The run was not without its problems, I was doing the riding and was getting myself ready for the run in stage and given the count down. I decided to go on the count of 2 as I was ready and didn't want to hang about. The acceleration was immense and my thumb slightly came off the "go" button but I managed to get back on it, losing just 1/10 of a second because of it and running the bike out of fuel at the 1/16th mile marker having just 3 seconds of power in the bike.

We ran through the 1/8th mile finish boards at 124 mph which is quite slow for the time we ran.  An amazing 5.09 second 1/8 mile time.  Frustatingly this could have been a 4 second 1/8 mile run if I hadnt come off for that fraction of a second.  Theres alwatys the next time.

We were also resposible for organising the fireworks that evening and had an absolute blast.  #

It was an early start for the team on Sunday morning repairing the tiny steam leak and changing the nozzle size to make sure we definitely had the capacity to run a 4 second pass. We were ready a good 1 hour before lunch and the heating process worked really well cutting in every 15 minutes for a few minutes to maintain pressure temperature till til was time to run.  

The riding duties were on Phil Wood this time so I could observe the plumes on the run.  Unfortunatly as we got to the line things took a turn for the worse with the main valves not wanting to open. After a second attempt and a re pack of the parachute as phil pressed the kill button which disarms the rocket but pops the chute, we decided to abort the run as there was something more amis.. We have since found out it was an actuator seal that was causing the issues but we had run out of time to run again so that was our season over.#

Not a bad way to end the season putting our name on the board and becoming the fourth ever fastest vehicle to run at Melbourne Raceway and landing ourselves into the 5 second club. (Watch out the fours!)

We are, we think, unofficially the fastest and quickest Steam Rocket powered motorcycle as well with that run

Next year we have lots of plans: basically improve the firebox and make the turnaround times shorter. Put the bike ( and me!) on a diet. Slowly keep increasing the power and duration in incremental steps and aim for the magic 200mph run.

A massive thank you to the team:

Diane: My very understanding wife best friend and Chief Starter!.

Will Formosa; for all the hard work and effort put into getting the bike running

Alec Vallance; for everything,far too long to list! 

Billy Hudson; for his dedication and attention to detail on the bike and especially the firebox and burner

Jim Dickman; for his proffesional aproach and work and his insistanse on torquing every bolt !

Phil "Woody" Wood: For helping myself with riding duties and diagnosis of data.

Ian Staves for everything electrical.

John Hansell for everything carbon Fibre. 

John Alan Huson; for the long distance calls advice, contacts and experience from the USA

All the people who have helped me along the way, You all know who you are.


IMI Norgren  For the help advice and pneumatic products 

Thorite For all the products and Hydraulic fittings and HP Tube

Mial coachbuilders for keeping the race trailer in top conditon and products

CPE Pressure Vessels for their immense knowledge in everything pressure vessels and products.

DSG Apicom for the calculations and knowledge

Straightliners  UK&ITA for all their assistanse in testing and timing.


Thank you all and see you next year!

Graham Sykes



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