“For Me, This is Paradise”
An interview with Client and ARCO/BP retiree, Tim
Taking his passion for engineering from the workplace to a retirement hobby, Tim Clossey shares his story and his passion for building motorcycles. And as you will learn, thes
e aren’t just your average bikes and Tim is not your average retiree!
Through a case of serendipity, Tim joined forces with Mark and Carl Bjorklund of Super Rat Racing in 2009, setting up an ideal collaboration to test the limits of their dreams.
Tyler Ryan, representing Multop Financial as a bike sponsor, had the pleasure of joining Tim and more than 400 other motorcycle enthusiasts at the Bonneville Salt Flats earlier this month for a week of racing and breaking some land-speed records. We ask Tim a few questions about his experience at Bonneville, what led him to Super Rat, and what’s coming up next for him and the crew.
MF: How did you and Super Rat start collaborating?
TC: Their shop is just two doors down from mine. I’d see them out skateboarding or testing their bikes, and they’d make their way over to my shop to check out what I was working on. When they learned about my engineering background and CNC machining capabilities, they’d get my input on their plans. From there, I became more involved in other aspects of their process and have learned a lot about motorcycles in the process. Preparing for the Bonneville experience was a great testament to how well we work together.
MF: What was the goal at Bonneville?
TC: We brought three bikes this year, hoping to break three land-speed records. The first, a Yamaha WR450F dirt bike that Carl and I built from scratch, set the record in the 500 cc class on its first full speed run! It went 104 mph, so now we’ll be trying to break our own record each time we run it. The second bike had raced last year and set a record at over 166 mph. This year we came within 1/10 of a mph of breaking our own record from 2012 on that bike. The third bike, sponsored by Multop Financial, was running so sweet before we brought it out to the salt. It is a very unique twin engine design and we had the two engines going at 130 mph, but the bike had never had a full speed test run until Bonneville. There just isn’t anywhere in Bellingham to safely run it that fast. On its first run on the salt, one of the two engines blew. Our plan was to run it again on one engine, but out of nowhere we were hit with a huge storm that turned the flats into a lake, there was so much rain. All we could do was pack up and hope for the ground to dry overnight so we could run it again. The next morning, there was still two inches of standing water, so we were out of chances. Right now, the engines are all taken apart, and if we can get parts on time, we’ll be rebuilding and heading back to Bonneville for the last race of the year in October. We’ve got our fingers crossed.
MF: Tell us about how you went from your job at ARCO and BP to retirement and back again.
TC: I started at ARCO as an engineer and worked my way up through management. They sent me to the Harvard School of Business to complete their accelerated MBA program to prepare for my new position as an executive for ARCO. When ARCO merged with BP, I spun off the division I was president of at the time as a new business called Polar Tankers. That business was then sold to Phillips and I took the opportunity to retire and spend time with my kids during their high school years. It was a great time. Together, we designed and built two dune buggies completely from scratch and had hours of fun with friends riding the buggies around. During this 8 year period, I volunteered as an adjunct professor of engineering at WWU, started my own consulting company to keep my business skills keen, and joined the Board of Directors for two public and one private company. This even allowed ample time to pursue my “gearhead” passions. As you can tell, I’m not really the sit around and do nothing kind of guy! In 2007, BP invited me back to work at the Cherry Point refinery. They needed my skill set and I was happy to serve again. As of the beginning of this year, I’m back to my preferred version of retirement – which is working in my shop.
One look inside Tim Clossey’s machine shop and you’ll see the evidence of his mechanical and engineering prowess. Two machines standout among others—his CNC machines. They take a numeric formula and a slab of metal and turn them into fully functional parts for engines. He even builds entire engines from billet stock..
MF: How do these CNC machines work?
I write numeric formulas and input them into the machine, all based on fundamental engineering principles of course. The machine then reads my formula line by line in order to determine what tools to use and what shapes to cut. It’s equipped with a coolant hose to spray coolant on the cutters, so once I program it, I can walk away and let the CNC do everything. It’s totally automatic and accurate to 1/100th of an inch every time.
The CNC machine partnered with Tim’s engineering skills are a winning combination when partnered with the team at Super Rat Racing. It seems like if they can dream it, they can build it.
MF: And what about this rumor of a television project?
TC: Yes, the producer of OC Choppers has taken an interest in Super Rat and we’re filming a test pilot this week. It’s about 90% positive that we’ll get picked up by the Discovery Channel for at least one season, maybe up to three, with 6-8 episodes each. It’s pretty exciting stuff that I never dreamed I’d be a part of. The decision by Discovery is not final yet but we expect to hear from them within the next month.
MF: And we heard about the Super Rat team being involved with the documentary Out of Nothing. Do you have a role in that?
That started out as a total gearhead story; just guys working on bikes. Once the 140 hours of film were edited down, the producers really saw that they were telling the story of four riders pursuing their dreams. So if I’m in it, you might see my hands working on some bikes, but I’m really more behind the scenes doing the engineering and machinery at this point. The film is being produced as a wide release theatre film and screenings start in October.
MF: Beyond the TV and film projects, what’s next for you and Super Rat?
TC: We acquired a German WWII torpedo engine—one of only two privately owned in the word—and we plan to build a bike with it. Our goal is to make it go 250 mph. Since the torpedo plans are written in German, we’ve got a translator helping us out. A helicopter engine was also donated to us and the donor said he hoped we could build a land speed racer from it, so we’ll work on that too. Those projects will each take anywhere from one to three years, so we’ll be busy for a while. These guys have endless vision. Their creativity and artistry can’t be outdone. I can help and contribute to the dreams and turn them into real, safe, functioning bikes. Then they are the ones who take the functioning mechanics and turn it into rolling art. For me, this is paradise.
As we close the interview, Tim is instantly back to work on an engine, and we are reminded that the retirement of today rarely involves a porch swing.
Multop Financial is honored to have been serving the income tax and retirement planning needs to the Clossey family since 2010.
Multop Financial Team Focus
Michael & Ginger’s Boating Adventures
Michael Lamoreux, our Tax & Accounting Department Manager, shares a story about his life on Lake Whatcom, and the gorgeous wooden boat that he enjoys each summer with his wife Ginger in the passenger seat!
MF When did you first get interested in boating?
ML My great uncle & aunt owned a 1928 summer cabin on Lake Whatcom. They also had several old wooden boats, which were stored in their lake boathouse. After my uncle passed away, my family purchased the lake property in the 1950’s. My father introduced me to boat maintenance at an early age. We restored an old 26-foot wooden lake boat that was hand built during the 1930’s by my uncle. We also owned several smaller wooden boats and a 1957 Bellboy Banshee, which was a beautiful fiberglass boat which we used exclusively for waterskiing. The maintenance was not as extensive as the older wooden boats.
MF What made you choose your 1961 Chris Craft ski boat?
ML Growing up on Lake Whatcom was a wonderful experience. There were so many spectacular old wooden boats used for water skiing and other personal watercraft activities. Some of these beautiful old wooden boats are still visible and flourishing on Lake Whatcom today.
In 1994, I searched for an older wooden boat that would remind me of the great experience and exciting times we had growing up with the boating activities on the lake. After searching throughout the United States I found the 1961 Chris Craft Ski Boat in Kansas City. I was looking for the Chris Craft style and wanted a boat that was recently restored with limited startup maintenance.
The 1961 Chris Craft Ski Boat was the last year that the Chris Craft Boat Manufacturer made an all wooden mahogany boat. The Chris Craft Ski Boat is 17 feet with a Chris Craft 185hp V8 engine with a four barrel carburetor. The dual head exhaust system adds additional excitement and produces a great sound when the boat is idling and in motion. Ginger calls it our “Harley” in the boathouse when it starts up.
MF Where did the boat take you this summer? Where are your favorite places to go?
ML The boat has never left Lake Whatcom and is stored during the winter months in our lake boathouse. We use the boat mainly for taking morning & afternoon trips during the summer months to view the ever changing waterfront landscape. Cruising beyond the Island at the other end of Lake Whatcom is one of our favorite spots during the summer months.
Before we begin the start of the summer boating season I generally do some annual boat and engine maintenance to get ready for the annual 4th of July boat parade on Lake Whatcom. Last year I sanded and painted the bottom of the boat. Next year I will begin the long journey of sanding and layering some new fresh varnish on the sides and deck. After getting the boat ready for the boating season, we take the boat out several times during the summer and cruse the length of the lake to enjoy the beautiful sights and sounds.
MF What advice would you give to those interested in getting involved in boating?
ML First of all, remember that the true meaning of the word “BOAT” has a darker and deceptive side which stands for “Bring On Another Thousand,” which definitely has some underlying truth when you have an old wooden boat to maintain. Therefore, if you have the time and the money to invest then maintaining an old wooden boat can be quite rewarding. Otherwise, buy a newer boat with minimal maintenance issues. The main thing is to enjoy the overall boating experience!
The Fish That Didn’t Get Away A True Blue Marlin Story
As told by Ted Newman
I woke up early in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico on Cinco De Mayo ready for deep sea fishing. I, along with my fellow advisor Tyler Ryan and our client Ron Fite made our way to Los Cabo Harbor to board the Guerita II 32″ Bertram boat. Tyler had fished aboard the Guerita II during a previous trip with great success, so we had high hopes.
Upon our arrival, we were told that because of rough seas and 6-10 foot waves, the Harbor Master may not let any boats go fishing. We waited in suspense for the final word as we watched the waves crash against the rocks.
At 7:15, we were given the go-ahead and we boarded the fully-stocked boat. Our captain, Jesus, was said to be an expert in the local waters and his deckhand Gabriel was an active helper. We cast six lines out around the boat at various distances and depths.
We had our minds set on catching tuna, and thought we were on the right track. After some time, the crew found a school of porpoises that we followed but there were no tuna to be found. We decided it was time to head further away from shore and to seek Marlin.
After making our way to deeper waters, Jesus and Gabriel spotted several large Marlin from their position on the bridge of the boat! They quickly brought all six lines in front of them and we focused in on our new targets.
In what felt like an instant, we had a fish on! Ron jumped into the fishing chair and started to reel, reel reel under the direction of deckhand Gabriel. Ron steadily reeled him in until…he took the hook and swam away. We felt the sting of disappointment after what had now been hours without a catch.
Our disappointment however was short lived, as 10 minutes later we had another fish on! This time, I was the one to jump in the chair. I was given the pole and instructed to keep it up and let the marlin run for a bit. I happily followed the expert’s advice and my anticipation built at the thrill of the chase. Next, Gabriel told me pull the pole slowly toward me then reel down quickly, bringing the marlin closer and closer in. Tyler was in his element, offering me helpful instruction from his years of deep sea fishing experience. All the while, I could feel the weight of the fish resisting in the water. I couldn’t tell just how large he was, but he was putting up a fight.
The slow and steady method brought the marlin in close enough to really see, then he took off again! I really had to reel him in hard to get him close enough to gaff…but then he took off again! The third time was the charm and we did it! We boated the 200 pound Blue Marlin amidst high-fives and pure awe.
This is my biggest catch, and I’ll always remember that day on the water. I give special thanks to all that helped me catch this wonderful marlin.
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