100% Biker 212

100% Biker 212
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By the time you read this, we may well know if Triumph is once again the holder of the land speed record for the fastest motorcycle in the world. 

During August we held our breath and shared through our social media on Facebook and Twitter Triumph’s preparatory runs at the legendary Bonneville Salt Flats, our hearts and spirits gladdened for two reasons. Of course, the first was the chance to see Britain’s leading motorcycle manufacturer once again holding the coveted land speed record and secondly, few people—myself included—expected to see record attempts happening at Bonneville just yet, following the cancellation of the last two Speed Weeks and the parlous state of the salt crust.

From 1955 until 1970 (with the exception of a 33-day period that we’ll overlook), Triumph held the title of the World’s Fastest Motorcycle, a feat marked with what would become one of the most famous motorcycle names in the world, the Bonneville. For the last three years, Hot Rod Conspiracy, Carpenter Racing and Triumph North America have been developing the Triumph Infor Rocket Streamliner, a twenty-five-and-a-half foot long carbon fibre machine powered by two methanol-powered turbocharged Triumph Rocket II engines.

The last Triumph streamliner to hold the land speed record was Detroit Triumph dealer Bob Leppan’s ‘Gyronaut X-1’ whose two 650cc Triumph Trophy TR6 engines powered it to a record of 245.667mph in 1966. Since then, the record had soared higher and higher and is currently held by Rocky Robinson who clocked 376.363mph on the Top Oil Ack Attack streamliner in 2010. However, the Infor Rocket Streamliner has already smashed Leppan’s record, becoming the world’s fastest ever Triumph on 8th August 2016 with a speed of 274.2mph. The salt wasn’t in ideal condition during Triumph’s initial runs, despite the setting of that record, which is why the team will be returning in September.

But perhaps the really charming thing about this attempt is that Triumph doesn’t have to do it. In the past, such efforts were made for publicity but today there are many other ways in which Triumph can advertise its products at considerably less cost and with wider reach than mounting a land speed record attempt. Not only has there been the costs involved in the three year project—it’s suffered bad luck to date with an engine fire scuppering an official record run in 2013 and then a second having to be aborted in 2014 when Guy Martin was injured in a Superbike race—but the team is so serious about the project that, instead of settling for the maximum of two runs it would get during Speed Week, it has hired the salt flats course, which is probably a little more expensive than renting your local village hall. This will, however, allow pilot Guy Martin to make up to eight runs each day and we can only hope that one of those runs will bring that magical Fastest Motorcycle in the World title back to Triumph. Where it belongs. All of us at 100% Biker wish Guy Martin and the whole Triumph Infor Rocket Streamliner team the very best of British luck.