Hellcat Customs, a small, Arizona-based custom motorcycle builder is attempting to make history. Their passions include turbo-charging one-of-a-kind Sportsters and building custom sidecars. Now Hellcat Customs are blending the two — with the first-ever turbo-charged sidecar Sportster running a stock Harley engine on regular pump gas to attempt to set a land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats.
Kelly Rogers, a.k.a. FieryPinkGirl on Twitter, took a moment to share the story of their road to Bonneville with us. Their journey together so far has seen them through a winding highway with its shares of twists and turns and highs and lows, worthy of motorcycle romance novel, and maybe even a new world landspeed record:
History: Jason Sarratt started Hellcat Customs around 11 years ago. I joined in 5 years ago when Jason and I met. Jason knows more about motorcycles than anybody I have ever met. He can diagnose/troubleshoot over the phone, he can tune EFI bikes on other continents from our living room …Hell, I’ve even seen him prove Harley service manuals wrong!
By day, I work at an ad agency, and I help out in the shop when I step away from the computer. My design background lends well to the aesthetic aspect of building motorcycles. I’ve learned so much from Jase in the past 5 years, and yet I feel like I know nothing compared to him.
Jase’s got a natural talent for this field, yet he works his ass off, and he doesn’t rest on just what he knows. He’s constantly doing research & development and pushing to do more. He doesn’t accept when people say it can’t be done. He figures out why others haven’t been able to do it and makes it happen. Like his tattoo says on his left forearm (that he tattooed on himself, btw) “Impossibility is not a limitation but the point where others gave up.”
Which leads us to Bonneville. We’ve always prided ourself for not just doing show-quality and show-winning bikes, but they actually work … they are motorcycles … they are meant to be ridden. We don’t trailer our bikes to the drag strip. They are rode there, raced (and trophied) and rode home again.
Burt Munro has always been a hero, and after seeing the movie, it solidified the dream to follow in his tire tracks. We’ve talked about going to Bonneville ‘some day’… but we had a personal reminder that tomorrow is not promised to anyone when Jason’s mom passed away after a 4-year battle with cancer. So we made a decision to stop talking about it and to make plans to do it.
The reason we got into sidecars is because we have a little one who’s grown up in the shop and wanted to be a part of riding motorcycles. (Our oldest has her own scooter, but has so far not been as interested in the field. She is currently going to college and majoring in business.) So we modified a hack from a 1952 Dnepr to fit the Nightster, and now she’s a mini motorcycle momma, too. If you ask her, that’s her sidecar and dad’s bike. We’re making a completely new sidecar for Bonneville, fabricating a race-style hack for this journey.
Jase has been developing a turbo system for motorcycles for almost 2 years, so we’re very much looking forward to proving what it can do.
This year, Jase will be the rider on the salt. They do not allow anyone to ride in the sidecar for the land speed record attempt. So I’ll be pit crew with several other friends we consider family. We’re very fortunate to have the support of our friends/family on this adventure. Next year, if all goes right, I’ll be taking my own turbo-charged sidecar motorcycle as well. And if the little one gets proficient enough by then, she may even take her own 50cc sidecar out on the salt!
It has not been an easy journey… we’ve had to move shop spaces several times due to unfortunate circumstances outside of our control. And we’ve even had to start completely over after we lost the entire shop (and 6 motorcycles and our 63 chevy pickup) in a fire 2 1/2 years ago. But like the city we’re from (Phoenix), we’ve risen from the ashes… and are pushing to show the world what we are really made of!
What a story! We wish the best of luck at Bonneville. Be sure to show to check out the Turbo Sidecar Landspeed Record donation page.
UPDATE: Holy cow, they did it!