Ack Attack and the World Land Speed Recordposted Nov 20, 2008
Tags: Racing All Article Tags
It takes a special kind of crazy to want to win a land speed record. You have to build a very specialized machine that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and thousands of man-hours of research and development, and you only get to ride it once a year at most. This is not your average motorcycle enthusiast. Yet there is a unique challenge in trying to be the fastest man and vehicle on two wheels.
Like all kinds of competition, the search for ultimate speed probably started with some of the earliest powered vehicles. Organized speed trials got their start in the 1900's, when the first speed trial was run in 1907, and the record set by Glenn Curtiss at 136.4mph on Ormond Beach, Florida. The trials were held all over the world, until 1956, when the trials were established at Bonneville, Utah, where they have been held ever since.
In recent years there has been quite a bit of competition, finally topping a record set in 1990 by Dave Campos on a Harley Davidson, who traveled to 322 mph. This record stood for almost 16 years, even though there were regular attempts to beat it. Finally, in September of 2006, the ACK Attack, powered by twin turbocharged Suzuki Hayabusa engines and ridden by Rocky Robinson, went 343 mph, topping the record. In a heartbreaking turn for the Ack Attack team, two days later the record was broken again by the BUB Lucky 7 streamliner, ridden by Chris Carr, at 351 mph.
In 2007, no ultimate speed records were broken, with the ACK Attack as the fastest bike on the salt, going 299 mph. 2008 was a different story though, with perfect conditions, and many records broken. Finally, ACK Attack got their record, 360 mph, and kept it.
If this sounds like something you think would be fun, remember that Mike started building the ACK Attack over 6 years ago and has untold hours and dollars invested. Motion Pro helped develop the control systems for steering, throttle and brakes, and many others lent their expertise to many facets of the project. Hundreds of hours of development and testing followed. There has been a share of drama as well, including a crash last year at 290mph!! Luckily, no one was hurt, and the streamliner was rebuilt.
There is sure to be more competition in the future, as many experts agree that tires currently available have limited the speeds possible. Some competitors have been using tires over 10 years old, because nothing has been produced recently that is able to reach these sorts of speeds. In 2007 Mickey Thompson started building LSR tires capable of nearly 600mph. That will keep the competition going for a while!