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Parkland men conquer Bonneville Speedway


For two friends from the Eastern Parkland, a love of old motorcycles has made them two of the fastest men on the planet.
Ted Hector of Alonsa and Gary MacDonald of McCreary joined forces to build a 1942 Harley Davidson UL motorcycle that they coaxed to an average speed of 129.459 MPH and a new AMA National record in Vintage Class at the Bonneville International Speedway in Utah, Aug. 26.
“Both me and Ted have had these old motorcycles going way back and have always been building and ,you know, putting things together,” MacDonald said.
“I think I started in about 1980 and Ted, he probably started in the ‘60s building choppers out of old Harley’s.”
The men’s latests effort, with sponsorship from Dean Capp of Capp Transport in Alonsa, achieved a speed of 132.242 MPH through the measured mile on the down run and 126.675 MPH on the return run to set the new land speed record.
Hector piloted the machine on its record runs.
The trip to Bonneville was not the first for the two men, who started making the trek to Speed Week in 2005.
“It was 2004 that Ted saw somebody had gone with a Triumph flat head and set a record at Speed Week and so that sort of got him and me talking,” MacDonald said.
“So we built this Indian, it was a little 500. So we put that together and then we went out and we did almost 80 miles an hour on it which was pretty good for a little bike. Like this thing was really meant to putter around on it. You know top speed would be about 50.”
The partners then built a Harley 750 WL, which they used for a number of years before selling it to a motorcycle collector in Winnipeg three years ago and “retiring” from the Bonneville trips.
It was a trip out west that the wheels were put in motion for a return to Utah when MacDonald ran into some trouble with his big twin flathead which he used as a daily rider for about a decade.
“We were coming back and we were going through all this bad weather and I was having trouble with the ignition points. So I finally got a good new set of points but I didn’t reset the timing when I put them in because again it was raining hard on us and I was exhausted so I just took off. And then I ended up burning a hole in one of the pistons,” MacDonald said.
Unsure of what to do with the motorcycle, MacDonald approached Hector about building another racer.
“He was all for it, so that's the latest one,” MacDonald said.
The first year, running pump gas, the partners achieved a speed of 127 MPH on less than ideal track conditions to set a new record.
“Which was really quite amazing because you take say a restored version of this bike on the street and biking around Manitoba where the elevation isn’t too high you could probably coax it up to about 90 miles an hour,” MacDonald said.
“So the modifications we did really worked well, but the track last year was just terrible. It was all full of potholes.”
This past August track conditions were better and the bike was equipped with nitrous oxide to push the record even further.
“But then our nitrous oxide failed. We didn’t have the pressure we needed because the temperatures were really cool and that was something we didn’t expect because usually Bonneville it’s hot. Usually like over 90 degrees Fahrenheit a lot of times it’ll go over like 105 degrees,” MacDonald said, adding the temperatures on race day were only 68 degrees.
“So we couldn’t get pressure out of the bottle. And then we thought maybe they were under filled and we were sort of second-guessing ourselves. We kind of got it to work on a few runs, but then, and I guess those would be the higher runs where it was 132.”
And while they were able to improve on their original record this year, it is still not enough for the friends who intend to return to Bonneville next year and go even faster.
“The plans are already in the works,” MacDonald said,
“Ted thinks probably 140 MPH next year.”