"Racing is living, everything else is just waiting" Steve McQueen
The Starting LineInside the GridMotorsports LinksTech StuffCommunityContact UsThe Legal Stuff
212 Decals.com
Ty Howard
Mark Niemi
The Ellwood Story

  "Every great invention that has changed the perception of what is considered "normal" started as a simple idea."

 Part 1

If... you would hang with me for a bit I want to tell you a story...
This tale is a story that did not happen overnight. And it deserves more than a paragraph or two so please allow me to put it in the right 
perspective.  I want to set the table and give you a chance see it as I did... to opine on the intricate nuance of this story is a 
must.... So please bear with me.
 You won't be disatisfied... trust me! 

A Racer's Story....  

Building your race bike....
   Everyone has a image in their head of what a race bike should be. 

  Take ten riders and you will have ten different opinions on what it takes to compete. And while that is a fact there are some 
common approaches to building a race bike and what makes a machine competitive. Decades of experience and refinement in the 
world of motorcycle racing has resulted in many things being taken as a given law. Engine building, frame geometry design and the 
final assembly of race parts/factory parts into a winning combination have evolved to a point where as you look down the grids you 
could be hard pressed to see much difference in the bikes unless you have a well trained eye.


 So for most the concept of race bike construction is one of modification. Take a factory bike, add some store bought race parts 
and go racing. Pretty simple concept and one that understandably is desired by the factories, aftermarket suppliers and of course 
for the most part, the fans.
  For racers and builders the avenues of choice in their personal approach to ready a race bike is only limited by their skills and 
wallet. So many bike choices and the availabilty of race parts have made it relatively easy to get a bike and go racing!


 So what kind racer/builder are you?
       A true builder or just an assembler?

    For so many they see what their friends had, read what the latest, greatest had then went out, bought a late model bike, found the latest race bling, bought that, bolted
 it on and it was like "Hey, let's go racing!" And you know what? That's great! If you are well funded. That's great if your not into the greasy part. No fuss.. no muss. 
 But for the less well heeled, taking an older race bike and building it back to it's former glory may be the only way they could afford to get 
their chips in the game. Hey! That's great too!  It's not cheap to race so sometimes you have to be a thrifty fellow.
 Then there are those who have been racing for years and have loads of experience 
and have refined their bike to suit their needs, some in a custom way, most again with available off the shelf parts. They know 
what works and what doesn't for them and they are hard to beat! Again, all great ways to get on the track. 
 So when it comes to actually getting 
the down and dirty mechanic work needed done a lot of guys will spend a ton of money at the local race shop getting the engine for their 
race bike built while others are satisfied with the stock motor and a few bolt on performance parts. There are classes for 
 The really abitious will dive in and rebuild their own motors and do all their own work and put a winning package together. 
Everyone has a idea and everyone has a budget. Forever racers have hoped that the factory could supply them with what they 
needed to go fast and waited for the next creation to be rolled off the factory floor and into the dealership. Others more adept 
mechanically took existing machines and polished and cajoled the machine until it was a real competitor.
  So it is and so it has always been....
Big Ideas
 We all have a bit of the inventor in us. But it's funny that so often the really unique ideas never see the light of day. For whatever 
reason, whether it's a lack of funds, a general bit of laziness or just maybe the initial idea comes easy but the ability to take it 
futher escapes the creator. A lot of folks have some pretty great ideas... too bad that's all they remain... good ideas. Let's face it... corporate reality denies innovention as a rule and without big money behind the idea most inventions are dead in the water before they even get started! 
  I guess 
that's why we tend to just be happy with the bikes and equipment the factory churns out. We're happy to plunk down the cash and 
let someone else turn the wrench and build the motor while we fancy ourselves as mechanics and race bike builders. That's not a bad 
thing. Everybody just wants to race and whatever gets you there can't be a bad thing, can it?

   But every so often there is one 
individual who is not content to run with the pack, One lone soul who has the creative twist and mechanical fortitude to not only 
envision a different way to get to that place we all yearn for but also has the ability to turn nothing into something. .  Every once in 
a while there comes a guy who not only wants to compete but he wants to do it on his own terms... 

Through out motorcycle racing history the names of great designers and builders pepper the books. They are the proof that out of the 
box thinking and vision can be combined to create something so unique it is revolutionary... Every once in a while in the most unlikely 
of places  an idea become a reality....

  Yes, every once in a while there comes a guy like
John Ellwood !!


  John is the consumate racer/builder. Never content to just build everyday race bikes and machines, John has constantly pushed the 
edge of his mechanical ability and his creative genius. At once he is a regular guy who is just as happy to sit in the paddock and 
crack an ale with pals as he is to stay up all night in his home built machine shop cranking out yet another one off part. While his 
buds scratch their heads as he tells them of his next idea John is busy formulating not just the idea but all that it takes to make 
the idea a reality. 

 "John has created and built a number of unique machines for motorcycle and ice racing but none has been so over 
the top as his hybrid single cylinder racing engine."
 The Ellwood Hybrid

The Ellwood Hybrid is a very interesting engine. When I first read about it I thought...

  "Ok heres another makeshift backyard motor that someone cobbed together" 

   But the Hybrid is neither a quick patch job design nor was it hairbrained. It seemed from early on John was taking the best from both worlds of internal combustion theory. John has fused together the two most common forms of engine theory into a single workable design. Incorpororating both the 2-stroke and the 4-stroke theories, this engineering feat is nothing short of genius!  Thus the Ellwood Hybrid, a single cylinder, 4 stroke with reed valves, from a 2 stroke, mounted on the crankcase

John Ellwood's Hybrid Creations

The design uses crankcase pressure to charge the cylinder twice per power stroke

The exhaust stroke pumps the intake once and the reed valve holds the charge. Then the intake stroke pumps it the second time when it goes into the cylinder,
The result is the combination of a 2 stroke like pumping action from under the piston and the action of a 4 stroke firing cycle. 

 Though he admits that the original concept was previously attempted by others many years ago saying hybrid engines working on 
this principle began back in 1915. John got the idea to build one back in 1994 and he's been working on the constantly evolving 
project ever since.  He stresses that this particular design adaptation is of his own creation and thought.
  John say's the idea of 
fusing these wholly differing theories came to him during a period when he was working in 
in Kazakstan... 

  But I'm getting ahead of the story.....

  When I first started this article the intention was to do a "nuts & bolts" question and answer piece about the engine. As time went on I 
realized that there has already been a considerable amount of discussion on the engine itself. Not that more on the technical aspect 
is a bad thing but  I thought there was so much more to tell!

 So I decided to give others a chance learn the human side of the man behind the machine, to see the intellect, the 
passion.... And this story is best told by the man himself. So John has been kind enough to subject himself to my inquisition and was 
most gracious in divesting all the details of what makes a man at once both common and great. And what it is that made the Hybrid 
a reality.

Part II
  John Ellwood,
A Racer... and a man....like all of us

 Hi John,
  Thanks for taking the time to let us get to know what the Hybrid and more importantly, what you are all about! 

 I was hoping you could give us a little background on your home and where your passion came from. What kind of life did you have 
growing up? I know for me as an American with little experiance abroad that concepts of life overseas could be skewed. I would love 
to get to know how much difference there is between life there and here in the USA!

  Well I was born 1962 in a small house in Frosterley, Northern England in Weardale – that is a long dale with a river called the 
Wear running through it, and loads of small villages along the way. There were lots of mines and quarries. It was all very hillbilly 
style; at a glance most families did not have much of anything.  But we had each other, our relatives, and friends and the beautiful 
Weardale to live in and explore. I do not remember that anyone had a new cycle, but we all had second hand ones anyway. We made 
catapults, bows and arrows, swam in the river, made box carts and zoomed down the steep hills with them. Caving was also a cool 

  Awesome! Sounds much like the little burgh I hail from... 
Did you do well in school? Was there work for you there in Weardale afterwards?

  I finished school at 16 and managed to get an electrician apprenticeship at the local cement works. This was a good chance to 
make some money, buy a motorbike, and study one day a week at the technical school a half hour away from home. I carried on 
part time studying until I was 26, when I finally had my Bachelor of Science (physical electronics) degree. Then I left  the cement 
works for a brief job in South Africa, before moving to Sweden

 So I guess when you were in Weardale all that time...you did quite a bit of motorcycle riding there? What is the countryside like 
for that?

  The roads in Weardale are perfectly suited to roadracing, rather like the Isle of Man circuit, but with more of a variety of roads, tighter curves, steeper hills, more sheep rabbits and hedgehogs, and even the occasional herd of cows or parked trucks in the middle of a hidden bend. Many have died on those roads, some while driving carefully and some while driving hell for leather. 
  Somehow Destiny plays her part in that it doesn’t seem to really matter what one is doing at the time, but when time is up then it’s 
up. Anyway my old Yamaha SR500 single just seemed to thrive on those good old country roads, and beg for more speed. I did buy 
an old Maico 250 motocrosser and race a couple of MX , but the roads were mainly my racetrack. A Sidecar racing guy offered me 
a few races on an old Triumph outfit in the sidecar, that was fun, but I never had much money over, and couldn’t afford to help him 
out on the financial front. 

  Sounds interesting John, the locale sounds again very much like the upstate New York I grew up in. Very rural but some awesome
roads to ride. You speak the truth about the danger... when riding you tend not to think too much on that though. I have lost 
friends both ways so understand your thoughts.
  So how long did you stay in WearDale before moving on?

   For better or worse, I moved from my sleepy little village in England via South Africa to Sweden in 1990, (That seemed like a good 
idea at the time) I now have a Swedish wife (Marie) and 4 kids, and we all live in a house in a suburb north of Stockholm.  I am a 
travelling worker, so just travel around Sweden to wherever the work is. I am mostly in the Electric and Instrument(4-20 mA and 
air pressure things) branch, although I have built railways for a year too.

  Looks like you built a life and for all intents and purposes are a real Swede now! Can you share with us how you got involved in 
motorcycle competition there and what the motorcycle racing scene is like ? 
Who was it that turned you on... family or friends? I read about your transport van and that you did a lot of work on it. Do you still 
use it?

John's old Tranny Van

   Mostly guys rode motocross here in Sweden, there are MX tracks in most places, a few of my new mates rode MX, so I bought  an old Suzuki RM500 with 3 gears. Even 22 years ago the Swedes liked to have new kit, new bikes, and nice vans to rock up to the  meetings with. But I had grown up without the need to impress with such worldly bling bling, so I did a whole MX season in my  knitted jumper, leather pants, work gloves and work goggles. I even had to replace my back shocker with one from a car- (it didn’t  last long though). Heh.. Yeah my old van- it’s a 1970 Ford Transit V4 2 liter, the type with double back wheels. It doesn’t go so  fast, but is tax exempt, and starts even when in minus 30 degrees C. It’s got 2 small beds in the back, and I can fit in 2 bikes. 
That old van gives me a good feeling every time I drive her.

The Ant Hill Mob

   A car shock..  how funny. I can just picture that in my head... well you do what you gotta do!
The racing you do now... much of it is on ice? Is something you grew up with? I imagine there is a big community of serious ice 
racers in your homeland. Do you have clubs for that kind of competition?
 On the flip side, here in the USA desert racing is huge.. The southwest is a hotbed for that type of action and the racers involved 
can be fanatic! I'm thinking that it may be a similar experience and that there are more than a few who do nothing but race on the 

The ice racing I am involved in concerns the Flying Kilometer on Ice- 
 I just happened to be at a motorcycle exhibition a few years back and a mate asked me if I was gonna race this new type of race, 
just like Bonneville, he said, but on ice. Well I wasn’t really at all interested, because I was as usual broke, but he explained to me 
that when I get old and am lying in the old age home, pissing myself in the bed, riddled with bed sores, that I won’t be able to 
remember which tv program I saw for 30 years ago, or other similar things,. But, he said, if you go to that new Flying Kilometer 
on ice race, and win your class, then that you will remember, that is something you shall never forget, and it will bring a smile to 
your dried out lips. So  I sucked in that advice like my bike sucked the rabbits out from the dry stone walls that I rode past in 


I won my class with my 500 Hybrid!


                                       John''s winning 500 Hybrid bike & the timeslips to prove!

   Our "rebel club" for the ice racing is
www.landracing.se, so far we only have Swedish language on the website, but it is attracting 
a few foreigner visitors, so in the future we must start translating to English. We limit the start field to 100 vehicles, and have 
everything from jet sleds to fast cars and motorbikes. 
 Check out our photos on the Bonneville site www.landracing.com which Mark Thomas has sent in.

The Ellwood 500 Hybrid at full speed!

   How would you compare your homeland to the USA as far as motorcycle racing goes....  Is there any particular USA track, 
racing form or place that you would like to give a go at?

   I have never been to USA, so not really in the situation to compare racing there compared to Sweden. It would be nice to go 
there and see Daytona, and especially Bonneville salt flats. I must pay my debt to eternity when I get the 1300 running proper and 
bring it to Bonneville, in true Burt Monroe spirit. I think USA must be a real motorcycle Mecca. Here in Sweden motorsport is 
popular with most people, but the media and government prefer to push athletics, football, ice hockey, golf tennis etc. Our decibel 
limits are really low, and the green movement don’t like motorbikes.

   Wow! That's cool on the class win! I am getting older too so I feel you about getting the experiances in while you can!
That a bad deal on the (political) climate but imagine ya'll will keep on bucking the system and find places to race!
 I feel blessed to be in a place like the USA where bikes and racing is hugely supported. We do appreciate that we have issues of 
our own but the racing is great!
(not gloating..just happy)

  But I digress.. I 've seen some stuff on the jet propulsion sled you are working on, is that for experimentation or is it a competition build? Are there any other projects you have worked on or are currently in progress that you find fun and exciting and who are your main partners "in crime" that assist you in your creations and activities?

   The rocket sled was in the beginning just for fun, but it has potential of going 500 mph with 350 kg thrust, so now the project 
has become quite serious. The whole build has only cost 100$. It runs on toffee and laughing gas. So far I’ve only had it started 
four times, because the NOS is so expensive, but now I have learnt that it must be started with oxygen to get it up to heat before 
the NOS  is applied.
  In September I have been invited to a crazy vehicle weekend, and they are gonna pay for my NOS, so I get 
to try my improvements for free. This hopefully will work, and then gives me a good chance to have a good run on the ice race next 
February.   Perhaps I could make a replica and sell for good money on Ebay, which would sponsor my real goal which is the 1300cc 
Hybrid single.

                           The Ellwood Toffee Rocket Sled


Hey! Testing these things can be dangerous!!!

My other exciting project was a 150 Bar Nitrogen rocket sled
   It is only powered by air pressure. It did work, but not fast or anything 
with the standard nozzle. A straight out nozzle of ¼ inch size would most certainly give better acceleration, but at the present time 
is not on the priority list.

  I do have some   "partners in crime" Yeah that would be my work mates, who think its fun to help, and come up with better technical solutions for my crazy 
  Two of the most notable who are always there for me....

 Mike the pusher-
He is a very old Swedish mate who tries keep me on the ground, he is also a Supermono rider, won our series last year, and hopefully will win again this year.

  Also Crazy Björn who features in the rocket startup video - the man on the throttle, he is an old Top Fuel dragster mechanic, and very knowledgable. Always encourages madness.
 Good pals!
  500 MPH!!!   Whoa!  That's crazy! And at $100 that's some serious bang for the buck!
  I'm looking forward to seeing what your September results are... that's awesome.
 It's great you get some props from your bud's. I don't know about but you I always take all the help I can!  
So you are still road racing?  And as a racer do you compete in a any particular santioned club? I'm not 100% up on how the clubs are organized there but imagine it must be somewhat similar to U.S. clubs.

  The roadracing scene for me has dwindled to one race every one or two years, just to keep my race licence . It’s getting so 
expensive nowadays with the recession and all. But when my new 1300 is up and running, then the gloves come off and roadracing 
shall be resumed. The sanctioned club I roadrace in is MCHK-R  Motorcycle Historic Club- Roadrace. This club is run by SVEMO , 
the Swedish Motor Organisation ( who is not too keen on our rebel Landracing club.)

My old classic Yamaha 250 cc 1964, which I also race, just to prove that I am a bit normal.

    I see..
Well after all these years of racing what form of competition do you find the most exiting?

  Of all the types of racing I have tried, I think the speedway bikes were the most adrenalin giving . No brakes, throttle sticking 
on, bouncing off the board fence. I really liked that, but the SVEMO forbade my speedway Hybrid, so I just quit that and haven’t 
bothered my head with the speedway for the last 8 years. I guess I am an all or nothing guy.

What would you consider the greatest success or the most enjoyable experiance you have had as a competitor? 

   My greatest success? That must have been completing my first race with my old Hybrid 500 in 1997 – it was probably a miracle 
that it made it around the track. Otherwise it was quite a buzz to ride the Hybrid on the ice at 100mph in 6 inches of slush. 

  I can just imagine!
What do you hope to accomplish in the future as a competitor?

 hmm, Well... I am getting a bit long in the tooth now, and have gotten arthritis in my elbow, so I guess I would be very happy if I 
can blast past the fast guys on the roadrace straight. Also I expect the new 1300 will be very potent on the ice race when running 
on Nitro/Methanol. We will see where that goes but... it's all very exciting!

  Well we have covered a lot of ground on you personally and I apreciate your candid approach!
I was thinking you might like to share some of the lighter moments you have had over the past few years....

   You mean like the time I was starting the speedway hybrid, when I didn’t know the throttle was stuck on , pulled the dead mans 
grip and it continued to rev hysterically, until I dropped the clutch and drove into a heap of pallets. My 2 mechanics ran away so 
fast they could have beaten Usain Bolt! 
SBZ...  Hilarious!
 Yeah now that probably was funny to watch!

   Well there was this other time where again I was starting my Hybrid roadracer in the pits and using quickstart fluid and the 1 
gallon steel airbox exploded , exactly as a guy was passing. He jumped 2 yards into the air. Yeah, that was funny...

  But I think one of the best times was when I lent the speedway hybrid to a guy, he was zooming around the rack, then started 
doing doughnuts at full speed. We all thought he was great, but it turned out he was throttling off, and there was no stop, so he 
was actually winding on the throttle when he wanted to slow down. It was a pants pissing moment for sure!

 Those are some great little stories! Thank you for sharing them... 

Part III

The Hybrid...

So now we get to the topic of the day don't we?

  John is full of vin and vinegar for sure.. A good time is always to be had when he's around.
   But when it comes to the Hybrid the real Ellwood comes out!  When the Mad Doctor puts on his gloves, some real motor magic gets 
to going!  
  You will be hard pressed to find anyone who is as passionate about their dream. John as you found out earlier is never at 
a loss for words when the subject stirs his passion and feeling. He is the genuine article for sure!
 So when I asked John about his bike and about the hybrid motor the answers flowed like his creativity, freely and without hesitation.
 So if your a motorhead like me the best is yet to come so let's get to it!

  Ok John Let s talk about your Hybrid creation....

  I know you told the story before but could you share what was the genesis of the Hybrid project.
As I alluded to previously, you have said the actual theory is not totally yours but you were able to come up with a true workable 
design and application that is uniquely yours...

  Well, Thats true about the theory, it’s not really unique, just very very rare. A few guys have tried this before me, I have 
learnt, way back to 1912 there was a secret boxer twin hybrid for military use in Sweden. But no factories seem to want to know 
about the Hybrid construction- I have tried contacting several of the big names. I don’t even get an answer. 

  But as to the Genesis of my version of the Hybrid  - Anyway times were hard in Sweden then, and there wasn’t so much work 
around, so I joined a gang of guys who were going to work in Kazakstan. As soon as I stepped out of the plane in the minus 40 
degrees C, I started to get toothace in like every tooth. Aaargh. So I got bundled off to the Russian dentist, who beamed an 
ultrasound machine on my jaw. The heat, it was like putting ones head in a microwave oven. I drank a lot of Vodka afterwards, 
every day for several weeks, then one morning I just woke up, and knew how to build a new type of engine. Well, when I got back 
to Sweden after 3 months I just went right out and bought a speedway engine, and started ripping it to bits. 

SBZ...  Well that's pretty wild! Amazing stuff there!
  So why did you choose the speedway motor as your first hybrid attempt? Why not another motor? What was so special about the Jawa and Godden speedway motors?

  It was a speedway engine I wanted because it had no gearbox, and I could weld on reedvalves quite easily onto the thick proper 
aluminium crankcases. 

  So I imagine the speedway motor was a workaround to iron out the theory in real life application? I can't imagine you were 100% 
sure of the results. How long did it take for you to finally get the Hybrid into a workable solution?
 Did you ever feel it was a futile exercise?...you know, almost give up?

   Yeah, the speedway engine was the testbench for theory to reality. 
  I was able to get the Hybrid speedway engine in a workable situation within 3 months of spare time. As for the futile part, as 
soon as I bought a Haltech injection system, then I just knew I could get it to work, and anyway Englishmen don’t usually give up so 

SBZ... Ok, Ok! You got me there...!
  But John,
 What drives you to construct these unique creations you build? Where does your creative flow come from? Have you always had the 
desire to go a different route when attacking a solution to a problem?

  The driving force- well I don’t watch tv so much, and it sure beats golf.  Maybe I just have some damp disease. The creative 
part really only comes from the lack of cash flow. I often say that if necessity is the mother of invention, then destitution is most 
certainly the father. The different solution part- well there are always three ways to do something – the right way, the wrong and 
my way.

SBZ...  That's great! I'm sure a lot those reading this understand that fully!
 I was wondering if the idea to use a Hybrid formula was well recieved by fellow builders, your counterparts? I know one of the earlier articles written on the Hybrid was not to flattering... in fact they fairly well trashed the possibilities of the design.

  There have been a few critics over the years, but there are always critics in every branch.
The Hybrid solution was not well received by all the roadracers in the Supermono class, I don’t know why really, because up to date 
I’ve never even been on the podium. Perhaps it was maybe because my bike always got the most attention in the pits, and from the 
bike magazines.
SBZ... I can just imagine the looks on your competitors faces when you rolled the bike out of the van! I'm sure I would have been 

  The work you did to make the custom 1300 engine block, how was the design accomplished? What specialized methods did you use 
to design it. How did you accomplish to overcome cooling problems? Balancing? Reliabilty? What other one off or custom parts did you have to craft to complete the build?
Finally does the new scratch built block and the resulting finished powerplant meet your expectations? 

  My custom made block- I basically took the biggest, easy to find piston which is 4.6 “, then made the stroke to allow 1300cc 
(1300cc is the largest roadrace capacity allowed by the ACU in England) The cylinder head could have been made using normal style 
poppet valves, but I saw a Rotary Cross valve made by Bishop in Australia, and was fascinated by it, so I just had to make one 
myself, out of interest. The cooling system is water cooled, although the engine has pretend air cooling fins just for good looks. The 
balancing is gonna be done by a proper balancing firm, so that the engine will be reasonably balanced at the optimal running revs
(between 5 and 6 thousand rpm) Everywhere else the engine will probably vibrate like a stone crusher. Perhaps it won’t even be 
possible to hold the handlebars- who knows? Hopefully the engine will be very reliably. It can run upside down, and it has been 
designed to run in a snowscooter too. Recently I have been looking at drone engines, perhaps that could be a possibility too.

The custom made Carrillo rod and one off piston is mated to John's hand made crankshaft. All this to squeeze the mixture to John's awesome homeshop made 2 piece alloy head. That head was made from a casting that was poured by aluminum sourced from salvaged alloy auto wheels! John say's the machining on all the parts was completed on some really antique milling rigs he was lucky to purchase some time back... without which this project would never had happened! 
(if you want to see what happens when a super hot melted aluminum pour goes bad see the video below! Too damn funny!)

entire engine is custom made. With exception to the wheels forks and swing arm the whole bike is also custom made. I haven’t come 
across any real defic
iencies in my design yet in spite of what the critics say!

The Ancient Multi-Purpose Mill-Lathe that John used to build the Hybrid on!
John say's "it's worth it's weight in gold!"

  To date how many versions of the Hybrid actually exist?

  I have four versions of Hybrid engines. One built on a Jawa speedway , two Godden, and my own 1300 Ellwood.
In the world I guess there are maybe 15 others, if all are still in one piece:- Honda, Yamaha, BMW, CCM, Penta, and a handful 
more. Oh and of course the Stihl factory has now started mass producing their 4 mix engines for weed wackers. These are Hybrids 

  So anyways, speaking of your bike, the construction is very unique. The fashion and assembly of the frame seems to highlight your 
capabilities as a designer and fabricator. The combination of a total custom motor and a custom frame is way over the top... 
  especially for a total privateer... it just does not happen often.
So do you have any plans to improve the rolling unit for competition? What class of competition was it designed to compete in or is 
this version really again just a test bed?

The Ellwood 1300 Hybrid Special
  The only plans I have for now on improving the 1300 chassis is to having the swingarm  pivot point attached around the crank shaft bosses- this will give me possibility to run a snow scooter variator directly to the back wheel. Otherwise it would be nice to have better front forks and wider wheels on the 1300. This bike is designed for Supermono roadracing, which has normally a limit of 800cc. I got special permission to run at a new maximum of 1300cc. It has no gearbox though- too expensive for me to have one, and no space either, as it is a laid down engine. So yes, the main goal is to test the engine. I hope to have a Harley drag bike clutch on her, and I'll just slip the clutch on the hairpins.
  So for now the new 1300 engine is exactly how I think it needs to be. It has taken six years so far, and I hope it will be ready 
for next season. Most of the work I have done now. Whats left is the precision work on the crank holes and the rotary head valve. 
Also the heavy duty drag bike clutch is gonna cost a few dollars.  I expect the new engine to be putting out 150 hp at 6000 rpm on 
Ethanol. It may be able to develop 400 hp on Nitro/Methanol. Everything is very heavy duty, even the cylinder bolts are 16mm. It 
has a purpose built Carillo rod and piston. Perhaps lacking could be V force reedvalves, but I had to settle for second hand 
snowscooter reedvalves at 100 dollars for 5 of them .

SBZ... Just simply amazing!
  So in your mind what is the final capability of the theory? Can the design be worked on a larger multi-cylinder scale?

  For sure the single cylinder is easiest and cheapest for me to make. But no doubt parallel twins and boxer twins are better and 
would produce more power and run smoother in Hybrid form. Even four cylinder constructions using the parallel or boxer style would 
be a good formula as well I believe.

As for the Hybrid's final capability -  because this engine supercharges itself it should work very well in the 1300cc single version, 
as a normally aspirated engine of this size cannot normally fill the cylinder volume properly. I have designed it to be a slogger 
instead of a revver. I think that this will give it reliability, and power. Tests using the 500cc Hybrid showed 7000 rpm developed 
best power. Anything over that showed a decline in horsepower, although it did rev cleanly to 10000rpm.
   Where are you at present in the experience and where do you want to take it from here? 
Pretty much what I mean is did you approach the project as purely a racing exercise or do you envision the design application to 
become a more user freindly, production capable design? Or is this the end game.... a personal experiance for you? Or maybe just 
to prove it could be done?

    Well I reckon that I have approximately 350 hours left to finish the entire bike.
 I would like to think I could produce a small amount of 1300cc engines before I kick the bucket. I have a few orders already, but 
these engines will not be cheap. I do not think though that I have time to make them myself, and definitely would not have time to 
build complete motorcycles. So this Ellwood 1300 Big Block Hybrid will probably go down in history as the only one ever built
The whole thing started as a racing exercise, and kinda got out of hand as things do, but it has been a very enlightening time since 

John Ellwood...
Racer, Builder.... and a regular guy
pure genious!

According to John..... as of this writing he posted on his Facebook page the following...
"finally time to put the old hybrid engine together, complete with ally dished plugs in the flywheel balance holes ( to save wasted crankcase space). So hopefully she will be racing again at Speedweekend on Ice 2014. This by the way will be the 20 years jubilee since I was in Kazakstan and invented her, so we are looking for making it into the 200 kmh club to celebrate."

Soonerbillz wishes you good luck and sweet success John!


So there you have it my fellow gearheads.
    I find for myself that the story of John, his life and times are something that happens very rarely. I came across John Ellwood 
while reseaching about my passion, big bore single cylinder racing, Supermono. But I was dragged into this willingly because it is so 
unique and the story deserved telling but more over I knew that there was more to the story than just a motor build. 
 A father, a husband... a rider and a builder... a one of a kind. John Ellwood's story illuminates excellence and persistance with 
success on a personal level.
 But the question of whether the Ellwood Hybrid ever becomes a commercal success is still to be seen. Will it? There is no way of
knowing that. As John alluded to, the major factories are fickle at best and can be plain obstinant when it comes to new or different approaches in technology. The factories have their reasons, some good and some bad for having deaf ears to the music of invention. Personally I believe that in this instance they are missing the boat.
  But for fellows like John the success is not always measured by others acceptace or adulation. Guys like John dance to a different 
tune and it can be heard best when standing in the cold watching a one off custom scream through the frosty air at over 100 
   Thanks for listening....

"Inside the Grid"  

A note for my readers
John is looking to produce another round of his previously published book on the Hybrid. He say's the income from the book will be used for continuing his development on the Hybrid engine.
 If you would like to get on the list for this great chance to own a piece of history you can contact John through his Facebook page.

Links, videos and credits....

John's web site    John's youtube station   J

The Swedish Ice Racers Forum 


Other sites that offer articles, interviews & information on
John Ellwood and the Hybrid motor
(This is just a small sampling of the many sites offering information)

The Kneeslider



Be sure to check out all the other interesting people I have found.....
                  "Inside the Grid" 

Soon to come!
A new auction site for racers




The Starting LineInside the GridMotorsports LinksTech StuffCommunityContact UsThe Legal Stuff
2012-2015 soonerbillz.com All Rights Reserved