2011 CHASING 200 MPH
World record-setting racer Alp Sungurtekin has been a Lowbrow Customs sponsored racer since 2011 when he started competing in land speed racing. Since then, Alp has gone on to be the fastest person ever on a 650cc pushrod engine motorcycle, with a record-holding speed of 175.625mph at El Mirage Dry Lake. Alp, along with his Crew Chief and right-hand woman, Jalika Gaskin, holds a dozen land speed records set at El Mirage and the Bonneville Salt Flats. NBC captured Alp in the process of building his Lowbrow-sponsored race bike, the T200, an all-aluminum-bodied bike with a very unusual riding position, and a top-fuel burning 650cc, iron head, pre-unit, vintage Triumph engine from the 1950s. Alp's ultimate goal with this new bike is to break 200mph. In the initial first test runs, he has already broken records and is at a top speed of 149mph. Not bad for a bike with half a dozen runs on it, and lots more to go!
Film courtesy of NBC News
Producer: Jim Seida
Editor: Brian Oh
Alp Testing his sitting position.
2015 - VINTAGE TRIUMPH 175+ MPH RECORD-SETTING RUN
We are a proud sponsor of land speed racer Alp Sungurtekin. Alp hit an all time high speed record setting run on his 650cc pre-unit Triumph at El Mirage this past November 14th, 2015. The record he set is an amazing 175.625 mph two-way average on a 1950's pre-unit Triumph! El Mirage is a standing 1.3 mile course, meaning Alp and his Triumph went from 0 to 175.625 mph in 1.3 miles! Alp continues to push the limits and races with the passion to be on top not only in vintage Triumph, but motorcycle land speed racing in general, regardless of make and model. We can't wait to see what he comes up with in the next up and coming race seasons.
- Tell us some brief history of where you grew up, where you are currently living and wrenching.
I grew up in a town called Sande which is near Wilhelmshaven, Germany, I went to high school and college in Istanbul, Turkey, after I got my bachelors in Industrial Design I finally came to Southern California about 15 years ago. I live in a small equestrian neighborhood called Shadow Hills which is within the Los Angeles county, I do everything from my home office and I have my little garage where I design and build bikes. Currently I’m running a contracting/consulting business and I am a SCTA Motorcycle Tech Inspector.
- How long have you been racing, and how did you get involved with it?
I started drag racing when got my first car which was a 63 Chevy 2 , My second car was a 70 Nova and then I had couple 68 Camaros, all were small blocks except my first car, they all were pretty much stock but I learned a lot from them. In 2007 I decided to sell my last 68 and turned my garage into a motorcycle workshop. Soon after I figured out that the pre 80’s Triumphs are very suitable for racing so I started my race bike projects. Racing with Vintage Triumphs was my first real experience in competitive racing.
- How long did it take you to build your current bike? What are some of your favorite features about the bike?
My current bike took about 4-5 months to fabricate but the concept development and the design phase took much longer. The motorcycle frame has a unique design that accommodates the Triumph twin very well especially at high rpm and speed, these engines are notorious for vibration, you don’t want that at high speed. The axle plates are adjustable, you can change the ground clearance/ the height and the wheelbase length when changing classes, The adjustability is a nice feature when changing to APS (partial streamline class)
- What goes through your mind just before a run begins?
I’m just concentrating and trying to make sure I stay relaxed. Once you mix up gears at El Mirage you’re screwed, they call it the 1.3 mile drag race. The Triumph gearbox is one of the worse it has 4 forwards and 3 neutrals.
- For those who have never gone over 100mph on a bike, what does it feel like to you? Is it so fast it’s a blur or is it something that time feels like it stops and lasts forever?
Interestingly it doesn’t feel too different, 120 mph at 7000rpm feels kind of the same when 150mph @ 7000rpm, but the bike’s stability/geometry is a big factor too. And with a stock rigid Triumph frame you do not feel safe at high speed.
- What is your dream racing goal, or have you already attained it?
Every pre season my friends ask me how fast I will go and I tell them what I am aiming for, so far I achieved all my goals.
First I wanted to build the fastest 650 Vintage stock frame bike “132mph” , then special construction “140mph” etc… After I built the fastest 650 triumph “169mph” I built the fastest 650 pushrod engine in the history of Land Speed Racing “175.625MPH” naturally aspirated with a open bike (no fairing) which is now faster than all 750/1000cc Harleys, including partial streamline bikes.
I've now started designing the first 650cc Triumph that will go 200+mph, not a streamliner I am talking about a sit on bike, I probably will finish the bike for 2016/17 but I will need a major sponsor for the project, this will be a beautiful bike with very special fairing design so the main sponsor can apply their graphics/theme.
- Any individuals or organizations you would like to thank?
Living here in SoCal is great but I feel especially fortunate that I am part of the southern California tradition the SCTA… It is like a family and the experienced racers are always helpful. First of all my Crew chief and my everything Jalika, her efforts made everything happen! I’m also thankful to my Millers club president Doug Robison “BMR Roadster” , Howard Allen from Monrovia, and Tom Evans SCTA Chief Motorcycle Tech for their willingness to spend time sharing their expertise.
My sponsors are also a big part of our success
Especially Lowbrow Customs supporting us since 2011.
Amal Carburetors from England, Yes we are the only North American race team sponsored by Amal and we’re proud of it.
Morris Magneto, they're always friendly and helpful, thank you Dave you're awesome.
Klotz Synthetic, our first choice for engine oil when it come to air cooled racing engines.
Thunder Engineering, they were very helpful too, we use their connecting rods and cases in the pushrod class.
Check out onboard video of Alp's 175+ mph record setting run!