by Ian Randall from https://www.dailymail.co.uk
Guy Martin will attempt to break the 376.3 mph motorcycle speed record in a 30-ft-long vehicle incorporating a Rolls Royce engine used in helicopters
- British engineer and ex-bike racer Alex Macfadzean, 77, and his team designed the new ‘streamliner’ bike
- Racer turned TV presenter Guy Martin will make the record-breaking attempt in Bolivia next year
- Britain last held the motorcycle land-speed record in 1937 after Eric Fernihough broke 169.72 mph
- But Italy’s Piero Taruffi took the title by an extra 3.31mph in the October of 1937 and the title has changed hands amongst Germans, Italians and Americans since
A 30ft-long vehicle sporting a Rolls Royce engine normally used in helicopters will attempt to reclaim the motorcycle land speed record for Britain.
Engineer and ex-racer Alex Macfadzean, 77, and his team designed the ‘streamliner’ bike which will make its record attempt next year at the Uyuni Salt Flat in Bolivia.
Behind the wheel will be motorcycle racer turned TV presenter Guy Martin, who will attempt to beat the current record of 376.3mph and cross the 400mph threshold.
To try to advance the record, Mr Martin will run the new streamliner on a mile-long course twice in opposite directions, as per official land-speed record rules.
The bike’s 1,200 shaft horsepower Rolls Royce engine is the same found within the Westland Lynx helicopter once employed by the British Army and the Royal Navy.
The first official motorcycle land-speed record was set in 1920 by the American racer Gene Walker 103.5mph, building on unofficial efforts dating back to 1903.
Britain last held the record for six months in 1937 after Eric Fernihough broke 169.72mph on his Brough Superior-JAP.
But Italy’s Piero Taruffi took the title by an extra 3.31mph in the October of 1937.
The title has changed hands amongst Germans, Italians and Americans ever since.
At present, the motorcycle land-speed record is held by American racer Rocky Robinson, who claimed his title at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in 2010.
‘It is a great target and just one of those things I have to do,’ Mr Macfadzean told the Telegraph.
‘I was asked recently where the line was between commitment and obsession.
‘I laughed, because I couldn’t say.
‘I guess I have always been too obsessed to have noticed.’
Mr Macfadzean has worked with engine builders for Formula One and Moto GP racing, and designed the vehicle that broke the 200 mph threshold in the British motorcycle land-speed record back in 1991.
A decade later, he also aided US driver Don Vesco who set a four-wheeled speed record of 458.4mph in the ‘Turbinator’ — a car which, like Mr Macfadzean’s streamliner bike, was also equipped with a helicopter engine under the hood.
For their streamliner — which began construction in 2008, and is still being refined — Mr Macfadzean acquired a Westland Lynx engine from military surplus.
Before Mr Martin takes his shot at breaking the motorcycle land-speed record, the new streamliner will first be assessed both on the road and in a wind tunnel in order to refine its aerodynamic design, which was inspired by RAF Tornado aircraft.
Following this, the bike will undergo relatively ‘low-speed’ tests at 200mph on a former RAF airfield.
Mr Martin is no stranger to record-breaking rides.
In 2016, he reached 274.2 mph on a specially-designed Triumph — the highest speed ever achieved by the British motorcycle manufacturer.