Guy Martin crashes in speed attempt


Guy Martin has crashed in tricky course conditions at the Bonneville Salt Flats in pursuit of a 400mph Triumph Motorcycles Land Speed Record attempt.

With clear sun and virtually no wind, rider Guy Martin set off from mile marker 9 to record his FIM-required certification run.

Setting off smoothly, Guy was making good power in mile one when the Triumph Infor Rocket Streamliner lost traction on a damp section of the salt surface, causing the rear of the machine to step out of line and the streamliner to go down on the course. Guy was completely uninjured in the incident, however the streamliner will now require a full inspection before any further runs can take place.

“It’s one of the challenges of Land speed racing – the salt surface can be so unpredictable. We’ll fully inspect the streamliner and get ready for the next phase of our attempt,” commented Triumph Infor Rocket Streamliner designer Matt Markstaller.

Rider Guy Martin added: “It’s all part the job boy, isn’t it? Feeling our way. I guess if it was an easy thing to do everyone would have done it by now.  So we’ll get a plan sorted and get on with the next go at it as soon as we get the chance.”

Guy Martin Triumph Bonneville salt flats world speed recordThe Larrikin TT racer and TV presenter is piloting the Triumph Infor Rocket Streamliner on the famous Bonneville salt flats in an attempt to beat the current 376.8mph (605.697Km/h) record, set in 2010, on the 11 mile (17.7km) course.

The record bid was further set back at the weekend when the streamliner tipped over in a rut while being towed.

In testing last month Guy hit 274.2mph (441.2km/h) which is a record for a Triumph, but well short of his target.

“Everyone was dead happy, but that’s just one step to where we want to be. The current record is 376.36mph, so a way to go yet,” he said.

“I got the hang of steering the thing pretty quickly, then it was a case of building up speed. Wind is the big thing out here, so it’s not a case of just jumping in and twisting the throttle.”

Guy Martin Triumph Bonneville salt flats world speed recordThe purpose-built, methanol-fuelled Triumph Rocket Streamliner is competing in the Division C (streamlined motorcycle) category. Triumph Sport believes the machine can even break the 400mph (643.737km/h) barrier.

The Streamliner has a carbon kevlar monocoque construction with not one, but two turbocharged 2.3-litre Triumph Rocket III engines that put out a combined 750kW at 9000rpm.

Triumph has a long history of setting records at Bonneville and even named their most popular bike after the famous salt flats.

Triumph held the title of the World’s Fastest Motorcycle from 1955 to 1970 with the exception of a brief 33-day period. The record-breaking Triumph streamliners of that period were Devil’s Arrow, Texas Cee-gar, Dudek Streamliner and Gyronaut X1, the former achieving a top speed of 245.667mph (395.28km/h).

The Rocket III Streamliner was set for the record run in 2014 but it was cancelled by heavy rain.

Guy Martin Triumph Bonneville salt flats world speed record

The streamliner has been built by Hot Rod Conspiracy, in Portland, Oregon. Company owner and engineer/aerodynamicist Matt Markstaller used a wind tunnel to design the 7.6m streamliner whose body is made of lightweight carbon fibre and Kevlar and weighs only 907kg.

It is powered by the two Rocket III engines which have been shortened in the stroke to fit into the Streamliner-Blown Fuel class limit of 3 litres. However, they have been turbocharged and run on methanol to produce 500hp (372kW) each. That’s more than three times the 146hp (108kW) of the stock engine in the street-legal Rocket III. 

The road machine nearly tears your arms off with its bulk power and 200Nm of torque, so you can imagine the sheer brute force of this monster. The suspension consists of front forks and a swing arm with two Ohlins TTX36 shocks in the front and three in the rear.

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