World Superbike Champ's All-British Bid For Motorcycle World Land Speed Record
On a tour of the University of Derby’s Motorsport engineering workshops today (December 3), James saw and heard about the motorcycle streamliner project aiming to break the current official Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) record of 376.363mph, held by American Rocky Robinson.
The all-British team’s record attempt – scheduled to take place at the globally famous Bonneville Salt Flats, in the USA, in September 2014 – is being led by former GP and TT sidecar racer, Alex Macfadzean. Alex is an engine development and dyno specialist, a former holder of the British bike land speed record, and the first UK record over 200mph.
His project will be heavily supported by staff and students on the University of Derby’s Motorsports courses, among the best in the UK. Steve Hill, Programme Leader for FdEng and BEng (Hons) Motorsport Engineering, is already leading a team looking at design elements for the record attempting bike.
Given the long lead times, the technical specifications for the machine are being kept firmly under wraps.
Commenting on the all-British project, James said: “I am hugely excited about this record attempt but I’m under no illusions as to how difficult it will be. I’ve been racing motorcycles for most of my life but this means learning a completely new technique in order to pilot the motorcycle streamliner.
The team involved with the project are amazing and really know their stuff, so I know I’m in safe hands in terms of the development. We’ve been in discussions about this for several months, but today at the University of Derby’s workshops I sat in the cockpit of the machine for the first time, so it now all seems very real.
If successful, this will be a fantastic personal achievement but also a great accolade to bring back to the UK.”
Speaking on behalf of the team, Robin Richardson said “We are very fortunate to have such a skilled and experienced professional as James in the hot seat. Record breaking is a team endeavour with years of effort necessary before the vehicle ever turns a wheel. But when all the research and build work is complete, it’s James who will take our collective knowledge, experience and ambitions into the cockpit with him.
We couldn’t have anybody better to do that as part of the team. We have been equally fortunate to secure the partnership with the University of Derby. It’s often said that young people in the UK aren’t interested in engineering, but here is a department and a group of students proving the opposite.
Many of them are destined for careers in top level motorsport which shows that engineering is anything but dull.”