The sun is out at Bonneville today (September 17, 2016) and Guy Martin is set to attempt a world land speed record for motorcycles and possibly break the 400mph (643km/h) barrier.
The Larrikin TT racer and TV presenter will pilot 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.
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.”
The team has been waiting for rain to clear all week for their attempt, but the sun is up today and they expect to make a run in a few hours.
Despite having a good course surface for testing, the team felt that the salt wasn’t yet fully capable of supporting a top-speed streamliner attempt. In consultation with FIM course manager Mike Cook the team are targeting the September dates as the best possible opportunity for the optimal course conditions required for the record attempt.
Just a few weeks ago, officials were considering axing the annual Speed Week for the third year in a row because of the poor layer of salt, but it now seems that all systems are go for Guy for an attempt at the outright record.
Guy is piloting a purpose-built, methanol-fuelled Triumph Rocket Streamliner 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.
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.