Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Another Drag Racing Pioneer Gone

I received word about a week ago that Carl McClanahan had passed away. You may recall that I featured one of his last drag bikes here on this blog recently. Before commenting, I wanted to find an obituary online so I could link to it, however I have had no success.  It only seems fitting to at least provide some sort of words at the passing of one of the innovators and pioneers of motorcycle drag racing, so I have chosen to quote what is written about Carl on the back cover of his 1984 book "V-Twin Thunder."

Carl McClanahan started drag racing in 1958 on a 1951 74 inch Panhead.  Since then, he has collected record after record, trophy after trophy, and first place after first place.  Carl's bikes go fast because of the skills, techniques, and tricks he has learned over the years.  Among the records he has set and held are:
1963: Alton, Illinois. 11.75 seconds, 123.288 mph on a 66 inch Sportster with a lay down frame.  This bike ran 11.55, 125 mph later in 1963
1969: Alton, Illinois. AHRA world record A/Fuel 9.57 on an 89 inch Sportster in a Yetman frame.  This bike later ran consistent 9.30s to 9.40s.
1970: Gainesville, Florida.  Low qualifier Spring Nationals, at 9.44 seconds.
1970: Invited to Indy Nationals, Top Fuel.
1972: Assumption, Illinois.  Set IHRA record for B/Fuel on a 55 inch Sportster.
1972: Bowling Green, Kentucky. Ran 10.75, 130.62 mph.  Old record was 10.96
1972: Alton, Illinois.  Ran 10.47, 10.34, 10.33, 10.31, and 10.32, at 138 mph.
1973: Pevely, Missouri.  Ran 6.18, 119 mph in 1/8 mile race to win AHRA B/Fuel record on a 53 inch Sportster.
1974: Pevely, Missouri. Won AHRA A/Fuel record on a 108 inch (!) Sportster.
Carl also built what may have been the first twin engine Sportster, using a pair of 66 inch engines in line.  He fell off four of the first seven time out, and later dismembered the bike before it was able to dismember him.  In 1971, he built the first set of wheelie bars for motorcycles. 
A racer for 25 years, Carl still makes all the national events within 700 miles of his home in St. Louis.
Rest in Peace, Carl.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Is Jesus on Board?

And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people. And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray. And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land. And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.: But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out: For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.  And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.  For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.   Mark 6:45-52

Jesus walking on the water is one of the most well known miracles told of in the Bible. You may perhaps be more familiar with the way it is told by Matthew, which also relates how Peter started to walk out on the water to Jesus, but became afraid because of the wind, and had to call out for Jesus to save him as he began to sink.

I would like to just make a few observations about this miracle.

The first is that I love the way that anytime we read of Jesus performing a miracle, we are always given enough information to make it absolutely clear that it was indeed a supernatural event. In the text it tells us that the ship was in the midst of the sea when Jesus came walking toward them. The book of John tells us that the disciples rowed three or four miles. Jesus wasn't just wading out to the boat. He wasn't just walking out on a sandbar. They were in the midst of the Sea of Galilee!

Mark also tell us that Jesus stayed on land while the disciples rowed toward the other side and that they toiled in rowing because the wind was contrary unto them. If you will allow me to turn that into a metaphor for salvation, then you might say that without Jesus on board, we are rowing against the wind. That is not to say that salvation makes life easier. It does not. But in the matter of knowing God, and ultimately spending eternity with him, the Bible says no man comes to the Father except by Jesus. Any other way is rowing against the wind.
I would also like to suggest that without Jesus on board, we cannot be close to God. That seems pretty self evident. Even the name Emanuel means "God with us."
We also find that when the disciples saw Jesus walking toward them on the water they did not recognize him; they thought that he was a ghost. I would observe that without Jesus on board, we may not recognize God when he is right in front of our eyes. How often we attribute things that happen to chance or good luck, when it is really the work of the God who has numbered the very hairs of our head! (Luke 12:7)
The Bible tells us that his disciples were troubled when they saw Jesus walking on the water toward them. Without Jesus on board, the prospect of him coming on board may be troubling to us. Salvation involves repentance, and repentance involves recognition of our sins. Certainly consideration of our sinfulness compared to a holy God can be nothing if not troubling to the soul.
When Jesus entered the boat, the winds stopped and his disciples were totally amazed and wondered. Well, calming the stormy sea is certainly a miracle, as much as walking on the water, so perhaps we should not be surprised at their amazement. However Mark comments that it was because they had already forgotten the miracle from the day before when Jesus fed 5000 with five loaves and two fish. It seems that even with Jesus on board, they were quick to forget his previous miracles.
We are prone to do the same ourselves. Day after day, don't we worry about what tomorrow will bring? Don't we fret about our health or our money or our possessions? Don't we quickly forget the miracles of Jesus, including the biggest one of all - that of salvation.?
In reality the one thing we really should concern ourselves with is whether or not we have Jesus on board. In other words, have we been born again; have we put our trust in the fact that Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins; are we truly followers of Christ?
If not, then we must follow the example of Peter when he began to sink, and cry out to Jesus "Lord save me."  (Matthew 14:30)
If you will cry out to him in faith and repentance, then you will get the same results. The Bible says that immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand and caught him. He will do the same for you!