September 27, 2008
New Speed Record Set for Motorcycles
BONNEVILLE SALT FLATS -- California motorcycle racer Rocky Robinson drove a Suzuki-powered Streamliner to a new land speed record for motorcycles on Friday.
Robinson reached a speed of 360.913 miles per hour, eclipsing the previous top speed of 350.884 set by Chris Carr in 2006. The record was witnessed by an official of the Federation Internationale de Motoclysme. The Switzerland-based sanctioning body has to ratify the record before it is declared official, the team said in an e-mailed statement.
The Top 1 Ack Attack team, owned by California-based aircraft- equipment seller Mike Akatiff, arrived at the salt flats Sept. 22 and made several runs before setting the record at 8:58 a.m. Friday morning. The Federation Internationale de Motoclysme, the Switzerland-based sanctioning body, must ratify the record before it is declard official. The record is also being certified by the Bonneville Nationals and the Southern California Timing Association.
The team used a Suzuki Motor Corp. Hyabusa model as the base for its record-setting motorcycle. Streamliners have two wheels and a full body that encloses the driver. The 1,340 cubic centimeter (81.7 cubic inch) engine, introduced by Suzuki in 1999, made the Hyabusa the world's fastest production motorcycle through 2001.
The 159 square miles of salt flats at Bonneville have been the site of world speed records since the 1930s. The densely packed salt on a glacial lakebed is almost perfectly flat and its uninterrupted span allows vehicles to reach high speeds. Time trials are run on the salt flats in the fall of each year after rain and heat packs the track.
Motorcyclist Cliff Gullett was killed earlier this month trying to break the record for the 500 cubic centimeter motorcycle class. The 47-year-old from Bozeman, Montana, lost control of his Streamliner at almost 240 miles an hour.