Motorcycle land-speed record

Motorcycle land-speed record
Speed (mph) by year.

The motorcycle land speed record is the fastest speed achieved by a motorcycle on land. It is standardized as the speed over a course of fixed length, averaged over two runs in opposite directions. These are special or modified motorcycles, distinct from the fastest production motorcycles. The holder of the absolute record for motorcycles is the "fastest man on two wheels". All such records have been with piston-engine machines.

First set, unofficially, by Glenn Curtiss in 1903,[1] the first officially sanctioned Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) record was not set until 1920. The first FIM-sanctioned record to exceed Curtiss' unofficial record did not occur until 1930, although there was controversy when the Osborn Engineering Company claimed to be the first to exceed Curtiss - on the basis of evidence from a publicity photo - submitted some days after the Zenith Motorcycles company claimed that it had been the first to exceed Curtiss. "It was quite a while before the controversy died down."[2]

Contents

Jet-engine trike

The fastest record certified by the FIM is that set in 1964 by the jet-propelled tricycle Spirit of America. It set three absolute land speed records, the last at 526.277 mph (846.961 km/h). While such records are usually validated by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, the FIA only certifies vehicles with at least four wheels, while the FIM certifies two- and three-wheelers. Breedlove never intended Spirit of America to be classified as a motorcycle, despite its tricycle layout, and only approached the FIM after being rejected for record status by the FIA. Spirit of America's FIM-ratified record prompted the FIA to create a new category "thrust-powered" vehicles to its world record listings. Further, most people think of the tricycle Spirit of America, now part of the permanent collection of Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, as a "car" and not a motorcycle.[3]

List of records

Date Location Driver Make Engine displacement cc (cu in) Speed Comments
mph km/h
1903 Yonkers, U.S. Glenn Curtiss Curtiss 1,000 cc (61 cu in) 64 103 over the mile, first (unofficial) World Speed Record, Hercules V-twin[4]
January 24, 1907 Ormond Beach, U.S. Glenn Curtiss Curtiss 4,000 cc (240 cu in) 136.27 219.31 Unofficial record stood over 20 years[5][6]
1920 Daytona Beach, U.S. Gene Walker Indian 994 cc (60.7 cu in) 104.12 165.67 [7]
1923 Brooklands, UK Bert le Vack Temple-Anzani 996 cc (60.8 cu in) 108.41 174.58 [7]
1924 Arpajon, France Bert le Vack Brough Superior-JAP 867 cc (52.9 cu in) 118.98 191.59 [7]
1926 Arpajon, France Claude F. Temple OEC-Temple 996 cc (60.8 cu in) 121.3 195.33 [7]
1928 Arpajon, France Oliver M. Baldwin Zenith-JAP 996 cc (60.8 cu in) 124.55 200.56 [7]
1929 Arpajon, France Bert Le Vack Brough-Superior 995 cc (60.7 cu in) 126.75 207.33 [7]
1930 Arpajon, France Joseph S. Wright OEC Temple JAP 994 cc (60.7 cu in) 137.23 220.99 [7] First official record to exceed Curtiss' pioneering effort.
1930 Ingolstadt, Germany Ernst Jakob Henne BMW 735 cc (44.9 cu in) 137.58 221.54 [7]
1930 Cork, Ireland Joseph S. Wright OEC Temple JAP 995 cc (60.7 cu in) 150.65 242.59 [7]
1932 Tát, Hungary Ernst Jakob Henne BMW 736 cc (44.9 cu in)[8][9][10] 151.77 244.40 [7]
1934 Gyon, Hungary Ernst Jakob Henne BMW 736 cc (44.9 cu in)[8][9][10] 152.81 246.069
1935 A3 autobahn (Frankfurt-München route), Germany Ernst Jakob Henne BMW 736 cc (44.9 cu in)[8][9][10] 159.01 256.046[8][9][11] [7] First record over 250 km/h (160 mph)
1936 A3, Germany Ernst Jakob Henne BMW 493 cc (30.1 cu in)[8][9][12] 168.92 272.006 [7]
1937 Gyon, Hungary Eric Fernihough Brough Superior-JAP 995 cc (60.7 cu in) 169.68 273.244 [7] JAP supercharged[2]
Fernihough was killed in a 1938 attempt[2]
1937 Autostrada A4 (Italy) (Brescia-Bergamo route) Piero Taruffi Gilera 492 cc (30.0 cu in) 170.27 274.181 Supercharged four-cylinder. Taruffi famous as Grand Prix driver.[7]
1937 A3, Germany Ernst Jakob Henne BMW 495 cc (30.2 cu in) 173.68 279.503 [7] Last pre-WWII record
1951 Ingolstadt, Germany Wilhelm Herz NSU 499 cc (30.5 cu in) 180.29 290.322 [7] First post-WWII record
1955 Christchurch, New Zealand Russell Wright Vincent-HRD 998 cc (60.9 cu in) 184.83 297.640 [7]
1956 Bonneville, U.S. John Allen Triumph 649 cc (39.6 cu in) 193.730 311.778 [13][broken citation]
1956 Bonneville, U.S. Wilhelm Herz NSU streamliner 499 cc (30.5 cu in) 211.4 338.092 [7] First record over 200 mph (320 km/h)
1956 Bonneville, U.S. Johnny Allen Triumph 649 cc (39.6 cu in) 214.5 345.188 Unratified by FIM[14]
1962 Bonneville, U.S. William A. Johnson Triumph 667 cc (40.7 cu in) 224.57 361.41 [7]
1966 Bonneville, U.S. Robert Leppan Triumph Special[7] Gyronaut X-1[14] 1,298 cc (79.2 cu in) 245.60 395.28 Triumph Special twin-engined[7]
1970 Bonneville, U.S. Don Vesco U.S.A Yamaha 700 cc (43 cu in) 251.66 405.25 [7] Turbocharged[14] twin-engined[13][broken citation]
two-stroke[citation needed]
First record over 250 mph (402 km/h)
1970 Bonneville, U.S. Cal Rayborn U.S.A Harley-Davidson 1,480 cc (90 cu in) 254.84 410.37 [7] twin-engined[13][broken citation]
1975 Bonneville, U.S. Don Vesco Yamaha 1,480 cc (90 cu in) 302.92 487.515 [7] First record over 300 mph (483 km/h)
1978[13][broken citation] Bonneville, U.S. Don Vesco Kawasaki 2,030 cc (124 cu in) 318.598 509.757 [7] Turbocharged[14] twin-engined[13][broken citation] two-stroke[citation needed]
First record over 500 km/h (311 mph)
1990[13][broken citation] Bonneville, U.S. Dave Campos U.S.A Ruxton Harley-Davidson 3,000 cc (180 cu in) 322.150 518.450 twin-engined[13][broken citation]
Longest held official record, 16 years (see Curtiss' 20 year unofficial record)
3 September 2006[15] Bonneville, U.S. Rocky Robinson U.S.A Top Oil-Ack Attack streamliner 2,600 cc (160 cu in) 342.797 551.678 twin Suzuki engines[15][broken citation]
5 September 2006[15][broken citation] Bonneville, U.S. Chris Carr U.S.A BUB - Lucky 7 streamliner 2,997 cc (182.9 cu in) 350.884[15][broken citation] 564.693[15][broken citation] BUB/Sierra Design V4[citation needed]
26 September 2008 Bonneville, U.S. Rocky Robinson U.S.A Top Oil-Ack Attack streamliner 2,600 cc (160 cu in) 360.913 580.833 twin Suzuki engines[16]
24 September 2009 Bonneville, U.S. Chris Carr BUB - Lucky 7 streamliner 2,997 cc (182.9 cu in) 367.382 591.244 BUB/Sierra Design V4[17]
25 September 2010 Bonneville, U.S. Rocky Robinson U.S.A Top Oil-Ack Attack streamliner 2,600 cc (160 cu in) 376.363 605.697 twin Suzuki engines [18]
First record over 600 km/h (373 mph)

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Harvey (2005) p. 253
  2. ^ a b c Tragatsch (1984) p. 304
  3. ^ Bonneville Salt Flats by "LandSpeed" Louise Ann Noeth, MBI Publishing
  4. ^ House (2003) p. 31-32
  5. ^ House (2003) p. 41
  6. ^ de Cet (2002) p. 116
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Setright (1979) p. 238
  8. ^ a b c d e Walker (1999) p. 16
  9. ^ a b c d e Walker (2001) p. 188. "Then in 1936, BMW technicians decided to decrease the engine's displacement from 736 to 493. This might have seemed a backwards move, but there was a sound basis for this technical change. [...] The engine was a 493 cc double-overhead-cam with a bore and stroke of 66 x 72 mm, a Zoller supercharger mounted on the front of the crankshaft [...] This supercharging technology had been under development since 1929, when a production R63 model had been fitted with a positive displacement blower..."
  10. ^ a b c Setright (1979) p. 238 lists this as 735 cc, not 736 cc.
  11. ^ Tragatsch, caption p. 304, credits this run as 256.06 with a supercharged 746 cc, while contradicting this on the same page in a table listing the displacement for the '32-'35 BMWs as 735 cc, and as 495 cc in 1936, rather than 493 cc.
  12. ^ Setright (1979) p. 238 has this as 495 cc.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g Hennekam (2005) p. 57
  14. ^ a b c d Tragatsch (1984), p.305.
  15. ^ a b c d e[broken citation] World Record attempts: Historic land speed record broken in Bonneville, FIM, 2006, http://www.fim.ch/en/flat/photos/photosworldrec.htm, retrieved 2008-10-19 [dead link]
  16. ^ Motorcycle.com Staff (2008)
  17. ^ Harley (2009)
  18. ^ New FIM World Record - Bonneville Raceway, Utah (USA), FIM 2010

References

External links


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