Engineer aims to set sidecar speed record

Five years ago Kevin Clemens, an engineer at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, decided he would try and set a land speed record riding an electric motorcycle. He set a national record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in his first attempt and was hooked.

Returning the following year with a much improved bike Kevin walked away with four world records and a desire to do something different. He opted for an extra wheel and set his sights firmly on the sidecar world record.


Kevin’s curently at the Salt Flats, attempting to set world records in his electric sidecar, with 60kg of ballast in place of a passenger. He originally ran with his son as the passenger, but the rules permit 60kg of ballast must be used instead of a person.

The latest post on Kevin’s Facebook page, posted earlier today (August 30), states: “Long day again with some level of frustration. We ran first thing in the morning and I ran a very conservative 105mph, which qualified me to return for a world record in my class. The return wasn’t quite as fast (98mph) for an average around 102mph.

“Next we decided to go after an open record for an unstreamlined electric sidecar by taking off all the aerodynamics. Just me perched on the frame. But first we had to repair the damage from the first record, which included a broken chain guard, a rubbing fender and missing bolts in our ballast holder. Rough track, but we are happy to have dry salt to drive on!

“The “naked” bike ran an 89mph on the out pass and 88mph on the return, although the controllers cut out inside the timed mile.

“So today’s tally – four world FIM records for flying mile and flying kilometer with partially streamlined and unstreamlined (subject to ratification by the FIM) and one US National record (to be ratified) for an electric sidecar.

“These speeds are nowhere near what I wanted, but a rough course and overheating controllers are conspiring against us. But with records out of the way we can now concentrate on trying to go fast…”


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Liam Marsden

By Liam Marsden

Former MCN Web Producer