Was it wheel alignment? Steering? Håkansson's inexperience as a racer in general and with streamliners in particular made it impossible for her to sense the source of the problem while she was driving — and her compartment was too small for anyone else to enter. To an outside observer, the initial run of the KillaJoule looked like a complete failure.

For Håkansson and Dubé, though, just getting there was a success. "We kept the rubber side down and the shiny side up," Håkansson wrote in her racing blog.

While attending the World of Speed, they rediscovered that generous, cooperative spirit that once followed the KillaCycle at every event. They had the opportunity to spend several days entirely immersed in the world that they love — without the distractions of work, publicity or competition — and mingle with like-minded folks who believe in their mission to bring awareness and respect to the world of electric vehicles.

Bill Dubé and Eva Håkansson fell in love with speed — and each other.
Bill Dubé and Eva Håkansson fell in love with speed — and each other.
Tracy Helmhold goes electric with the KillaCycle at Bandimere.
Tracy Helmhold goes electric with the KillaCycle at Bandimere.

The two returned from Utah with renewed vigor and a plan. They've spent the last seven months completely revamping the KillaJoule, bringing it up to speed. The entire steering mechanism has been redesigned with the help of Håkansson's father. While she will still drive the KillaJoule for record attempts, the driver's compartment has been extended an extra eighteen inches to allow a larger professional driver to take it for a test ride. And they've also added a sidecar wheel, which is permitted under land speed rules, to overcome any balance issues and serve as a training wheel for Håkansson until she gains more experience.

Jim Corning at Novakinetics, a composite airplane-part manufacturer in Flagstaff, offered to completely rebuild the KillaJoule's body. Right now, the exterior is being shaped to resemble a hybrid of the original design and the body of the Ack Attack, the reigning fastest streamliner motorcycle in the world. The result will most likely be a lot more sexy and a little less sexual.

Once the body and steering modifications are complete, Håkansson and Dubé hope to find a private airstrip here in Colorado where they can conduct tests. They plan to return to the World of Speed this September, when Håkansson will shoot for "a more modest goal" of 217 mph, the current world record for streamliners with sidecars. If she exceeds 250 mph, she will need to buy a second parachute. If she surpasses 265, she'll have to drop $4,000 on special land speed tires.

Meanwhile, the KillaCycle will spend the summer trying to get back on top.

******

Back at Bandimere, the Galileo crew wraps up filming as the first tiny drops of rain tap against the pavement. The Mitsubishi Evolution X smells like a burning clutch. The KillaCycle's work here is done.

Dubé and Håkansson roll the KillaCycle up the ramp and into the trailer as soft thunder rumbles overhead. Dubé grows solemn. "We're going to build that new battery pack and have a little fun with it, see what it can do. We're negotiating for sponsorship with Evo Motors in the U.K. We're going to get back our records," he says. "But after this year, unless someone wants to fund all of this, I'm hanging it up. I'll still do the occasional exhibition race, but otherwise we'll just focus on land speed, on the KillaJoule."

But Jeff Sipes, the media and marketing director at Bandimere Speedway, believes the KillaCycle has already succeeded in its objective: It's become a crowd favorite. "We're all thinking of a Prius that can barely go sixty," he says, "and out comes the KillaCycle, as quiet as a cordless drill. People aren't sure what to think." He's seen attitudes change in one night. People who are unfamiliar with electric vehicles "go wild when the KillaCycle hits the sevens and eights." And they go home with a newfound respect for alternative energy.

The KillaCycle may never again dominate the drag strip, but records are not the point: The bike is a vehicle for a message, and messages can be delivered in a variety of shapes and sizes. "After the KillaJoule, I want to build the KillaGram," Håkansson says playfully, holding her hands about one foot apart. "It will be the world's fastest, smallest electric RC motorcycle."

Dubé and Håkansson's ultimate message? Do the right thing for the planet, but remember that you're living on it. Have fun, go fast, but do it in a way that doesn't make you feel guilty. "Today's hybrids run exclusively on gasoline until they sense guilt; only then does the electricity kick in," says Dubé. Guilt is not what they're about.

"You wanna know what this is all about?" Dubé asks. "It's about those stupid little 'Turbo' stickers people buy at Auto Zone and stick on their cars so they can pretend to be cool."

He wants to walk into an auto parts store someday and find similar stickers that say "Hybrid" and "EV" because electric vehicles are coveted, the hip thing to drive. "I'll walk in, see those stickers, and know I was part of something big," he says.

A flash of electricity streaks across the sky, tearing a cloud open. Fat drops pound on the trailer. It's a downpour.

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3 comments
Visualeyes108
Visualeyes108

Wow. I better go through my change jar and find enough quarters to buy a KillaCycle t-shirtWonder if they have KillaJoule T-shirts yet?

the_punnisher
the_punnisher

From someone who worked on the FIRST Killacycle power pack:

Everyone left out the OTHER local story that involved EVs and the packs that were produced for the Dodge Intrepid ESX...as well as the Original Killacycle.

Bill owes a bit of thanks to the BOLDER TECHNOLOGIES TMF ( Thin Metal Film ) power cell.

Bolder Technologies was ahead of it's time. And was allowed to be outsourced. Golden lost a potential energy hub.....

I spent quite a few hours of company time working on the packs....

And the Killacycle was the first thing you saw when you entered the Lobby of our building......

I HATE revisionist history. Especially when it involves my former employers..like Cray Research and Bolder Technologies.....

Rmkpower1
Rmkpower1

Tracy is an awesome choice to ride that motorcycle he is a mutli winner of Division5 drag racing,,

 
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