Kalle Lyrén’s USA tour, his first 6-second pass and so much more

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Kalle Lyrén saw a dream come true in racing at Las Vegas and Pomona, the last two rounds of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Although the 2014 EDRS Pro Nordic MC champion did not qualifying in the largest and most competitive Pro Stock Motorcycle field in more than a decade, he came close at Pomona, made his first ever 6-second pass, and reset his personal best top speed! “Of course, as a racer you always want to do better and qualify, but the experience and everything we learned, is worth so much more”, said Kalle Lyrén, looking back at his weeks in the States. 

The NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the penultimate round of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, was the first stop for Kalle Lyrén and his Veidec Lyrén Motorsport team. But before they went to the track, they visited Bates Leathers and Classic Graphix, the company that designed and made their T-shirts. As expected, the Veidec Suzuki passed technical inspection without any problems.

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Friday it was time to make the first qualifying runs on American soil. “In the first round we had some vacuum pump and fuel issues, and went 7.23 seconds.  We managed to fix the problems, and with 7.15 seconds the bike went a bit better in qualifying two. But as we still could do a lot on the tuning, we expected to get the bike into the 7.00 seconds on Saturday, even though the weather was extremely hot. With 7.10 and 7.11 seconds at 189 mph, we really stepped up from Friday. It was the fastest we had ever been in this type of weather, 4200 altitude and over 40°C temperature ”, says Kalle. Unfortunately it was not enough to qualify in the largest and most competitive NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle field in more than a decade, but the team learned a lot and was very happy with the progress they made.

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Next stop on the USA tour was Auto Club Raceway at Pomona for the Auto Club NHRA Finals. With 28 entries, the final round of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series had an extremely competitive Pro Stock Motorcycle field too. Lyrén had a perfect start of his Friday qualifying, as with 6.98 seconds, straight out of the trailer, he recorded his first ever 6-second pass. “Finally we were starting to find our tuning window and we could see that there was still a lot more left. In the second qualifying run the bike launched very nice, but right after I shifted to second gear, the engine blew up. As we blew up the first engine in Vegas, we didn’t have any engines left for Saturday qualifying. But we were very lucky to get the possibility to rent a motor, so we could at least finish qualifying.” The team managed to get the bike together for another two passes on Saturday. “It was a bigger engine compared to what we usually run, so we had no idea what to expect. But we managed to get the bike to a 7.004 seconds at almost 193 mph, which was a personal best in top speed. With the data from that run we made some changes to the set-up. The last run was much better and almost perfect, but the track and the weather affected the bike more than we thought, and we ran 7.000 seconds.” In the 28-bike field Lyrén ended qualifying in 19th position, only 0.031 seconds short of qualifying for Sunday eliminations.

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“I think we have to be quite satisfied with the two races we did in the USA, even though we didn’t qualify. But the experience and everything we learned is worth so much more. And just to be a part of the biggest field in a very long time, was very cool. We finally got our 6-second pass and we were very close to do it two times more, and I reset my career best top speed. Unfortunately we did break both our engines and had to rent an engine for the last two qualifying rounds. We had never run that type of engine before, so it was very hard to find a tuning in only two runs. Of course, as a racer you always want to do better, but it was a very good experience both as a rider and for the tuning. No matter what people say, NHRA is the highest level of drag racing in the world, and just to have been part of it, has been a dream for a long one, and now we finally made it. We will leave the bike over the winter and do some testing in March. The plan is to do the Gatornationals in Florida before we ship the bike back. We really want to thank the team and our families that was with us during the trip and also for the wonderful treatment and hospitality from Underdahl and Stoffer Racing. Also big thanks to Eddie at Vance & Hines for helping us out at the track.”

Text: Remco Scheelings

Photos: Lyrén Motorsport

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