Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 10:07 am
Eric Lalor, associate attorney at Boyle Fredrickson in Milwaukee races diesel-powered motorcycles in his spare time
After Eric Lalor crashed his motorcycle on his way to work July 13, 2007, you might think that his biking days would be over. However, the associate attorney at Boyle Fredrickson in Milwaukee decided instead to redesign his wreck into a diesel-powered motorcycle and begin racing it.
"I have been riding since I was about 12 years old," Lalor said. "My wife didn’t want me to rebuild my street bike, but I had enough parts lying around to do it. The only thing I was missing was an engine."
According to Lalor, his father had a couple three-cylinder diesel engines from an old lawn mower that he decided to take apart and fit to work on his bike.
Lalor entered into his first race, held at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.
"We were working on the bike all the way up until the day we left; we had some mechanical problems where I blew up the turbo about two weeks before the race," Lalor said.
Lalor had to re-enter his bike into a lower division due to the mechanical failure and was only able to race the bike in third gear, he said.
The race is one against the clock, Lalor said. "The course is a straight five miles, two miles to get up to speed, then a full mile where they time you at your fastest speed, and then a two-mile slow down."
According to Lalor, racers are timed going in one direction to develop an average speed over the one mile timed track, and then timed again going the other way to account for wind factor and other resistances.
Despite his setbacks, Lalor set the national land speed record of 75.38 mph in his division, and is waiting on the approval notice of the world record.
"It’s a unique experience; racing on that kind of surface is unlike anything any driver has ever experienced," Lalor said. "I took this year to really get a feel for it, and was able to set a record racing only in third gear, so that’s exciting for the future."
Lalor has already started building his bike for next year and is turning his former bike into a street friendly model.
Lalor plans to continue racing his bikes for as long as he can.
"At first my wife (Amie) was really worried, but I named the racing company (El-Conn Racing) after my kids, Ellie and Connor, and got them really involved in the whole process," he said. "They had a lot of fun traveling with me out to Utah, and after the event she was the one already trying to make reservations for next year’s race."