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Sunday, October 12, 2014

speed merchants - Becci Ellis sets new record 264 mph ..

Herbert James "Burt" Munro  was a New Zealand motorcycle racer, famous for setting an under-1,000 cc world record, at Bonneville in 1967.   Munro was 68 and was riding a 47-year-old machine when he set his last record. Munro set his first New Zealand speed record in 1938 and later set seven more.  In mid 1970s and 1980s, when we gazed at motorcycles, a sudden shriek will garner everyone’s attention – a motorcycle whizzing past in the not so crowded beach road ….those informed will tell that it is someone preparing to drive at racetrack in Sholavaram – the vehicle would look funny, devoid of any extra fittings, head light housing removed, no mudguards and even no kick-starter – would require a push start ………….. and DD would show live those races …

Sholavaram aeri, or Sholavaram lake, located in Ponneri taluk of Thiruvallur  is one of the rain-fed reservoirs from where water is drawn for supply to Chennai. Around the world, motor racing circuits have been carved out of abandoned air strips. The one at Sholavaram, on the outskirts of Madras, was turned into a track that supported the sport from the 1960s to the 1980s. The T-shaped layout of this WWII air strip did not lend itself readily to motor sports and it was worked on, in bits and pieces, over a period of time.  Those days,  Sholavaram track  attracted  racers — especially motorcyclists — from far and wide. In the 1960s and 1970s, motorcyclists from Sri Lanka were a regular feature at these races, always scheduled for February. As Ceylon practised a liberal policy on the import of vehicles, its contingent brought a captivating array of Western bikes. Until the advent of Doordarshan, races at Sholavaram were advertised only by word of mouth.

The motorcycle land speed record is the fastest speed achieved by a motorcycle on land. It is standardized as the speed over a course of fixed length, averaged over two runs in opposite directions. These are special or modified motorcycles, distinct from the fastest production motorcycles.

Daily News reports of an IT analyst who has set a new record by going 264mph on her modified bike  - she is- amateur racer Becci Ellis, 46.  The world's fastest woman has been revealed as a British mother-of-two who smashed the land speed record by going 264mph on a motorbike her husband built. IT analyst Becci Ellis set the record on her modified Suzuki bike, smashing the existing fastest land speed by 20mph. Mrs Ellis, from Scunthorpe in Lincolnshire, bought the off-the-shelf bike second hand in 2008 to use as spares but after testing it on a track she realised it had potential to be a record-breaker.

The 46-year-old has been riding motorbikes since she was a youngster and says it give her an adrenalin rush. Her husband Mick has spent the last two years tweaking the 1300cc bike and developing a one-of-a-kind turbo system so his wife can reach break-neck speeds. And his hard work finally paid off when Mrs Ellis blasted down the mile-long course at Elvington airfield in North Yorkshire on her beloved 500bhp Suzuki Hayabusa bike at 264.1mph, destroying American rider Jennifer Robertson's existing record of 243.6mph. The lightning-quick speed is the equivalent of travelling at a 118 metres a second and it took her just over 20 seconds to complete the course. 

In UK, an insurer is demanding that customers caught driving poorly have therapy sessions to make them aware of the consequences of driving dangerously. The motorists will have to undergo the same type of techniques originally designed for use with drink and drug addicts in the 1980s. The firm, called Ingenie, is one of a number of new firms which specialise in insurance where motorists’ cars are fitted with black boxes that record how the vehicle is being driven. Data is sent back to the insurer, and good drivers are rewarded with lower premiums. Normally, bad drivers will simply be asked to pay more, but with Ingenie if the driver commits a major error – such as driving at 100 mph on the motorway – the firm will contact them and ask them to have treatment. The sessions are carried out over the phone by a team of trained psychology experts who have worked with young offenders or those with drink problems or eating disorders. The sessions work by getting the customer to recognise their dangerous behaviour and to understand the consequences of their actions. It is based on the idea that young drivers’ brains are not fully formed before the age of 25 and so do not fully understand risks like speeding.  If the driver refuses to answer the call or absolutely will not acknowledge they have done anything wrong, their policy will be cancelled.

On a different note, a motorcycle racer, dubbed the fastest man on two wheels, died last year trying to top 300mph on a test track in Maine. The man, Bill Warner, 44, died after crashing while attempting to be the first man to reach 300mph over the distance of a mile. Riding his modified turbocharged Suzuki Hayabusa, Mr Warner previously hit 311 mph (500 kph) on the same course in 2011, using 1.5 miles of pavement. That is considered to be the world land speed record for a conventional motorcycle.

The World's Fastest Indian is a 2005 New Zealand biographical film based on the Invercargill, New Zealand speed bike racer Burt Munro and his highly modified Indian Scout motorcycle. Munro set numerous land speed records for motorcycles with engines less than 1000 cc at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in the late 1950s and into the 1960s. The film stars Anthony Hopkins and was written and directed by Roger Donaldson.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

12th Oct 2014.

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