100% Biker 213

100% Biker 213
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As you will no doubt know by now, the Triumph attempt to break the motorcycle Land Speed Record with Guy Martin at the helm of the Triumph Infor Rocket streamliner has had to be postponed.

As we told you in the last issue, the team had already set a new Land Speed Record for the fastest ever Triumph and were confident of a damn good crack at the overall speed record of 376.8mph. However, after several days of testing, inspections of the track at Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah showed that, while conditions had improved, it was still impossible to create the constancy required across the eleven mile course that the streamliner would need for the LSR attempt. However, Triumph is determined to return when the salt is deemed safe enough for a new attempt.

If national pride was slightly dented by this setback, there was a chance to redeem it. Over the course of the last three months, Swindon-based Pete Pearson of Rocket Bobs Cycles has been building a bike which would debut at the Las Vegas Bike Fest’s Artistry in Iron display at the beginning of October. Artistry in Iron is an invitational event to which around twenty top builders are invited each year to each exhibit an exceptional motorcycle. Over the thirteen years that the competition has been held, the list of builders involved has read like a roll call of the great and the good in custom motorcycle fabrication. Past winners have included three-time world champion Roger Goldammer, Chris Richardson of LA Speedshop, Rick Bray of RKB Concepts and Jeremy Cupp of LC Fabrications, while the likes of Max Hazan, Aki Sakamoto, Ken Nagai, Kirk Taylor and Gard Hollinger—among countless others—have competed.

But no British builder has ever been asked to be among the invited elite—until this year. Pete Pearson was the very first builder from the UK to receive the illustrious invite and, while he pulls out the stops on every project, this was always going to involve going way above and beyond. And, although he’s best known for his prowess with Harley engines, he decided that the heart of his ‘Speed Weevil’ build would be a 1938 Triumph motor; not just any seventy-eight year old Triumph engine at that, but one with seventy years of racing history and that was still being competed less than ten years ago.

Well, dear readers, to cut a very long story short—and you will be able to read the entire tale in a future issue—Speed Weevil only went and won the top Artistry in Iron award! Yes, the Brits went to America with a Triumph-engined bike and, to make no bones about it, we whopped the colonials’ asses! I was lucky enough to be in Las Vegas as the announcement was made and I’m surprised that you all didn’t hear the shouts and screams of joy from over the Atlantic. There may have been tears, but not from me. Honest. I had some dust in my eye…

I genuinely can’t tell you of how proud I am of not only Rocket Bobs’ victory and of Speed Weevil, but of the entire team who supported and helped, of the encouragement from everyone who followed the build on social media and of the sheer ingenuity, talent and innovation that we have always known exists throughout the custom motorcycle building world of Great Britain. To Rocket Bobs and to all of you out there—whatever you’re building—I raise my glass tonight.