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Why Do Speedway Bikes Run on Methanol?

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50 minutes ago, Rich said:

Nothing new, I rode in the South West Speedtrack Championship (for Grasstrack bikes)  at Exeter in 1990 and my son rode in a couple of Meetings at Stoke in 2004/5. Next round of the World Longtrack Championship is at Rzeszow Speedway track in Poland. 

Yes I can remember seeing them at Wolves but the recent meeting at IOW put it on a firm footing. They tried it at Stoke (Grassway Challenge) a few years back and it was cancelled in the end. There is definitely a place for different classes capacities and combinations in a wider format Speedway Meeting that could support the current set up.

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Back in the 70’s I think Crewe had Saturday morning sessions for grass track bikes. Cheshire was a good area for grass meetings and by holding open sessions Crewe were no doubt benefitting from the potential. Maybe how Barry Meeks came to be riding for them, he was good on grass.

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Slightly off topic but…

Belle Vue rode during the Second World War even though industrial  methanol could not be used due to the war effort.

Wood alcohol was produced for the meetings which was still methanol .. just not produced industrially.

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5 minutes ago, KIRKYLANE said:

Slightly off topic but…

Belle Vue rode during the Second World War even though industrial  methanol could not be used due to the war effort.

Wood alcohol was produced for the meetings which was still methanol .. just not produced industrially.

Moonshine :rofl:

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Was it one of the Boococks, perhaps Nigel, that was testing out a BSA B50 engine (500cc) in a speedway bike.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, OveFundinFan said:

Was it one of the Boococks, perhaps Nigel, that was testing out a BSA B50 engine (500cc) in a speedway bike.

Alan Grahame also tested a BSA in 1974

Edited by MARK246

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1 hour ago, MARK246 said:

Alan Grahame also tested a BSA in 1974

Alan Grahame actually raced it at the old Perry Barr track and it was successful unfortunately it was at the time when BSA was facing closure and the project ran out of money. Cheap stock petrol engined bikes could be very successful in providing the next generation of riders?

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I believe methanol was the chosen fuel, due to the additional power you get from methanol and the use of high compression pistons. When you take the head off a speedway engine, there is virtually no carbon deposits on the piston, the head or valves. And the ports are clean. Methanol used to be more expensive to buy, but I think it might be the same as petrol or even a bit cheaper now. As for the environment, it wouldn't surprise me if methanol is cleaner. It's used in power boat racing and speedway engines (2 valve Jawas and JAPs) used in pre 65 scrambles, they can and many do, use methanol.  

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Posted (edited)

The main problem is methanol engines are specialised consequently it becomes expensive. A mass produced petrol engine put into a speedway frame is an ideal opportunity to create cheap racing for those who want to compete in all forms of oval racing bit of a no brainier for novices.

Edited by Pieman72
Grammar

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My mate had a bike that ran on Calor Gas 

First time he rode it he did a wheely for 4 laps because of the weight of the bottle on the rear mudguard.

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I think Rich is spot on, methanol allows high compression and big flywheels which not only gives the right sort of power needed but a lot of engine braking too.

The problem with road engines (or MX etc) on Speedway has always been the lack of flywheel effect.

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Posted (edited)

good topic on the fuel used by the bikes . i would say all the replies are correct and as one poster said , petrol burns at a higher temp . meth requires a jet in the carb as big as the average mans a**e .

i do think that some of the large four stroke engined are very reliable (KTM) and could well take a place in speedways revival . you dont need all the latest stuff to make money at speedway.        get a part time job ! ! !

 

do they have flywheels on speedway bikes., are they not built into the crank ?

 

Edited by jenga

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I'm not mechanically minded at all so a lot of this talk is going over my head regarding compression and fly wheels etc.

If methanol has been used as the fuel since Speedway's birth, which I assume it has, hasn't technology caught up now to provide the same effect/power from petrol engines. Doing a quick google search it says a Speedway 0-60 is 3 seconds, a Superbike 0-60 is 2.5 seconds. Probably a lot more to it than that...

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Methanol is a bio fuel so any thoughts of using petrol instead should be binned straight away. 

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10 minutes ago, OGT said:

Methanol is a bio fuel so any thoughts of using petrol instead should be binned straight away. 

Wood is a bio fuel. Perhap we should try steam power?

 

I'll get my coat :oops:

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