The happy folks in the photo above are celebrating a new land speed record for motorcycles. At the Bonneville Salt Flats today the Bub Seven motorcycle streamliner driven by Chris Carr ran a two way average speed of 367.382 miles per hour* with a fastest timed speed during his first run of 372.742 mph.
I've followed land speed racing on and off since I was a kid and the absolute balls out, go for it ethos combined with science and engineering still amazes and impresses me no end. Science and engineering will only get you so far because in the end someone with a lot of guts and huge skills has to strap in and go faster on a motorcycle than anyone has ever gone. Chris Carr definitely falls into that category.
During the Bonneville meet this week I've been following the event via up to the minute postings over at the premier web site for land speed racing, LandSpeedRacing.com. Gotta love those cellular modems! Pay a visit to the site if you want a peek into what it takes to go really, really fast in a straight line with a car or a bike. Lots of cool pictures too, of course.
One of these years I need to make it to Bonneville and see it all in person. I've stopped at the site while passing through but that's not the same as being there and hearing cars and bikes run 200 - 400 mph. Gotta hear that some day.
*pending FIM ratification
Update: A few photos I shot in 2007 of the Bub Seven at the Cycle World Show in Phoenix that year:
Motorcycle or jet aircraft cockpit?
I talked with Dennis Manning at the 2007 Cycle World Show in Phoenix. I asked him if he had any regrets about not being "able" (polite choice of words) to drive the BUB 7 himself. He replied fairly emphatically "No. I learned a long time ago with Cal Rayborn and the old streamliner that at this level of competition you have to have the very best people for everything, the very best at what they do, and Chris Carr is the best."
Dennis Manning handing out posters at the '07 Cycle World Show. He is an unassuming looking man who conceived the fastest motorcycle in the world. I spoke to him for a little while and got the impression that he was a fellow who's mind and inventiveness never rests.
The basic shape of the streamliner is said to have been inspired when Manning was watching a salmon effortless hold it's place in a stream of rushing water.
Then engine is a dual overhead cam, 16v, fuel injected, turbo charged V-four built specifically for the Bub Seven, hence it meets the rules requiring "motorcycle engines only" for power.