Can Brits beat Yanks to 400mph?

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For over half a century the world motorcycle land speed record has been held by Americans. Now a UK team, led by a former Manx GP racer, hopes to change that. Gabriel Uttley plans to whup the Americans in their own back yard next year, at the annual Bonneville speed trials.

The attempt, which would beat the existing record by nearly 40mph, is being funded by major donors and a supporter's club. The 6.6m long streamliner already has a 2.6 litre V8 engine supplied by Powertec, and gearbox supplied by Quaife. It uses Suzuki Hayabusa barrels and heads to make 380bhp and 215ftlb, or up to 750bhp when the nitrous kicks in.

The plan is to use nitrous heavily for the first five miles to get the bike up to speed, then back it off for the actual measured mile. Stopping on Bonneville’s crusty salt is taken care of by twin parachutes, backed up below 100mph by a rear disc. Funding for the project will come from a newly-formed supporters’ club and donations of major parts.

"We already have the engine from Powertec, a gearbox from Quaife, and are in negotiations with a frame supplier, " said chief engineer Jim Brown. "We're currently looking for sponsors for the other parts, and of course we’d like a major sponsor to adopt the project and have their name on the side of the streamliner."

More on the record attempt in next week’s MCN.

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Rupert Paul

By Rupert Paul