Syko Information

Syko breaks British Land Speed Record

The British Land Speed Record for three wheelers was broken on Monday 14th of May at Elvington, York, by Graham Sykes riding The Syko.


The Meeting was held at Elvington on the 13th and 14th of May and was organised by Straightliners and was overseen by the ACU.


There were new class records to establish and existing ones to break.


There was a new three wheeler class for trikes up to 5000.00cc and this is the class that we were going to attempt to not only establish a British land speed record but try to break the existing outright record of 163.19mph 2 way average, which is no mean feat. This record was set by Stan Whitton 12 years ago in his three wheeler Triovad.


We turned up on Saturday afternoon with the bike as ready as it could be, and got our pit set up.

Sunday we had to try and get under the 105Db noise limit requirement for Elvington with the new silenced exhaust system which incorporates 8 silencers! the reading was 104.1 Db!!!  unbelievable.


So we readied ourselves for the first flying run which was to be East to West with a 19mph head wind.  Having launched the bike it was apparent that the clutch was not behaving as it should and was slipping, so back to the pits where we completely rebuilt the clutch pack and re set the air gap and added more weight to the clutch. 

We joined the riders back at the East end and tried again. I set off using only 1/2 throttle and kept the revs below 4000rpm and took a steady ride East to West to familiarise myself with the course and in doing so ran a 133.0mph pass, we turned the bike round within the hour and this time I gunned it but I could feel that all was not well with the clutch feeling it slip through the course so I throttled off and coasted to a 98.0mph pass and established a new record but that wasn't what we went there to do. Our aim was to try to be quicker than anyone else on three wheels.

Having got back to the pits we had a team meeting and decided to fit the old clutch set up back into the Syko and re-fit all the old primary drive and final drive but leave the new ratio in the Bentec as that was working well.

I hurriedly set off back home to get all the old parts and left the team stripping the bike down.

A 90 mile round trip Sunday afternoon back home and to Elvington again took the best part of 2.5 hours and we all worked late into the evening refitting all the old transmission, ten hours later it was all back together again and a well deserved beer was had by all.


Monday morning was very windy with a 20 to 25mph gusty head wind and once again we headed for the East end of the runway to make our first run of the day into the wind.

Every thing started up ok and all the drive belts were running straight and behaving themselves.

I set off and the old clutch set up felt really strong so I wound open the throttle and let the bike pull all the way up to the first gear change at 125mph then carried on accelerating into the wind and ran a 153.0mph run straight as a die.

There was nothing major to do to turn it round for the return run except pressures and levels so within the hour we set off West to East with the wind behind us. This time I held it hard open all the way changing at 7000rpm and entered the mile really tramping on. I felt very comfortable on the bike keeping my head just low enough so I was behind the rev counter so my helmet wasn't being pulled off but high enough to stop me getting double vision with my helmet touching the air intake, I found that turning my head to one side was the best option.


The end marker boards came very quickly and I slowed easily within the 1/2 mile breaking area to the super news that I had just run 180.39mph meaning we had broken the record for the average speed but it was very close to the 1% ruling, so close that none of us could work it out, so there was nothing more to do than return East West into the wind and try improve on the first run.

The third run went just as well as the second but the wind proved to be a real problem battering me from side to side but the bike was more of a match to the buffering and ran real straight and recorded a 157.07mph pass meaning that we had broken the outright British Land Speed Record for a three wheeled vehicle giving us a 2 way average of 168.73mph beating the old record of 163.19mph by 5.54mph.


Well done to every body involved and to all the people who have helped me get this record.

Diane my understanding wife and team-mate, Jack Graham World land speed record holder himself. Roger Goring and Helen Rusling for crewing for me and taking time out from rebuilding the Firestorm Jet Funny Car (watch this space for the new 21st century version of the car, its amazing!!)  Alex Macfadzean who himself held the British land speed record and took it over 200mph with the streamliner "Penetrator" (and who also had taken time out from his World land speed record project) and Mike Ellis from BDR for all his help.


The Syko will go much faster as I ran out of gearing hitting the limiter on the middle run (The gearing was set at the highest we could go with the old set up at 178mph) so who knows what may happen in the future.






The new torque tube and clutch set up is coming together and after a long time of designing I feel that all the hard work and money is coming together. The torque tube is now turned and milled and fitted to the Bentec 

torque tube

The next job is to make the shafts and the clutch housing, centre and finish off the drive line into the torque tube. I have increased the belt pitch from 8.0mm HTD to 14.0mm HTD as belts were starting to be a problem and to make things stronger i am going to run a larger idler pulley to engage more teeth into the pulleys and keep the idler rpm below 8000rpm

torque tube rear 

The new low ratio 1st gears for the bentec have arrived . thanks very much Per Bentson from Bentec Flexoart who makes the Bentec 2 speed Top fuel and Super twin gear boxes.


I have always struggled with a tall 1st gear in the gearbox which is 1.33/1.


These gearboxes are designed for Nitro engined Drag bikes and run high first gears to load the engines and make more power.


I have not got the same power as the Nitro bikes and need a lower first gear so I can change into 2nd around 80.0mph as opposed to 120mph or there abouts  so Per has made me some gears to reduce the ratio to 1.49/1 which is just what I need.

I am very excited about fitting these as the 60 ft times will be much better than before and this is the area where the bike has always struggled.


The new trailer was built last year and here are a few pictures of it under construction.  thanks go out to Jack Graham and Roger Goring (Firestorm) for giving there help and Smithy from Mial coachworks for all his assistance during the build.


The Stainless chassis is fantastic. but I wasn't saying that after 4 days of Tig welding!!



trailer build


The Axle arrangement is designed to be either single or double axle. I have got it as a single at the moment but as we start to carry more stuff with us (which always seems to happen) then I will fit the second axle.



After Kirkbride it was pretty obvious that some thing was wrong with the engine and after close inspection it was found that the PTFE buttons in the pistons had completely disintegrated letting the gudgeon pins in 5 of the 8 bores wear deep grooves into the cylinders. So bad that you would mistake it for a 2 stoke!!


Not only had 5 bores been damaged the remains of the PTFE buttons had blocked the oil ways to the oil pump and also filled the pump up with so much debris that the gears cracked.  This in turn let the crank run without lubrication and because of this ran all the big ends and mains.


So back to the drawing board and remove the engine and strip the block and send it to Turner Engineering in Surrey who bored the 8 liners out and replaced them with much thicker and more rigid SG Iron liners (Spherodical Graphite Iron). They then bored cylinders to my spec and then decked the block head faces again to my spec.  All in a 2 week turn round an made a superb job making the old block better than new.

New Block

 The Crank has been sent away to be reground and balanced by EDS in Essex and I have just recieved the crank back and a very nice job they have done too.

The crank has been re balanced to take account of the new drive pulley and Aluminium gudgeon pin buttons I have made which are 1 Gram heavier per piston.


The new clutch set up is coming on really well but time is against me at the moment 

boring bar

16 hours of turning and the torque tube is nearly complete! (Just Kidding)  Still a long way to go.


Having successfully run The Syko on Motorscopes rolling road dynamometer, a local tuning company based in Northallerton who kindly offered there services and expertese, we finally found out what power the new smaller capacity, short stroke engine was producing. Although the test had to be run with the bike in top gear due to spinning the tyre in bottom gear, which meant we couldn't achieve full engine rpm as the rollers were unable to cope with the speed,we did however still manage to achieve 350 bhp at 6250 rpm and 390 lb ft at 4400 rpm!

Not bad for an old push rod engine.

Following this good outcome, we decided to enter a sprint meeting at Kirkbride, near Carlisle.

Saturday started wet but the weather gradually improved, so we finally prepared The Syko to run around 3pm. We ran a 10.3 with the clutch slipping the full quarter.


burn out at Kirkbride

We got one more run in on Saturday, and two more on Sunday but didn't better the 10.3.  We learnt a lot at this meeting knowing that we were producing good power with this engine, but the clutch struggled to lock up.  We are now in the process of rectifying this problem, and will be back with a new clutch set up.

Thanks to Jack Graham and Mike Ellis for all their help over the weekend.

syko in bits


rolling about

meeting may 2011

Since selling our truck which had also been the transport for The Syko and getting a motorhome, we've struggled through not having our own trailer.  Last year we were able to borrow a one but we needed our own.   As a suitable one couldn't be found Graham decided to build his own, that way we would get exactly what we wanted. Graham designed it and with the help of the syko crew it was built in time for the first outing of the year, which was the 31st International Motorcyle Show at Stafford over easter.

We had 7 bikes on the NSA (National Sprint Association) stand including The Syko, all of which created a lot of interest.

Thanks to everyone for their help.

Our first meeting of the year will be on 7th & 8th May at Kirkbride (near Carlisle) in Cumbria  - come and see us there.