x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Top Five: Motorcycle records

Ever since they were invented, motorcycles have attracted the bold and the brave. And the brave want to hold records.

At 14.03m in length, Colin Furze's creation is great for reserving several parkng spaces at once.
At 14.03m in length, Colin Furze's creation is great for reserving several parkng spaces at once.

Land speed record

In September, Rocky Robinson broke the motorcycle land speed record on the Bonneville Salt Flats in the US, hitting a whiplash-inducing 605.697kph- or 394mph if you prefer imperial measurements. He was the first motorcyclist recorded breaking the 600kph mark, and he did so on a Top Oil-Ack Attack streamliner with a 2,600cc engine. Officially the fastest man on the planet on two wheels, Robinson hopes that, for his next feat of speed, he manages to break the 400mph/640kph mark.

Highest motorcycle jump

Ronnie Renner broke his own world record in 2009 when he jumped 12.62m in the air, launching his bike from a 6.7m high quarterpipe in Chicago. This meant he was 19.33m above the ground in total. With the Chicago skyline as his backdrop, Renner achieved this height on his third attempt riding a KTM in front of a cheering crowd at Butler Field. Renner first set the world record in 2008 with a jump off of the Santa Monica Pier in California that hit 18m.

Longest motorcycle jump

Robbie Maddison, an Australian freestyle rider, set the world record for the longest motorcycle jump, in 2008, in front of his home crowd in the city of Melbourne. Riding a modified Honda CR500 bike, Maddison left a purpose-built ramp at a speed of more than 165kph, rose 20m into the air and travelled for a distance of 107m. Like Robbie Renner, Maddison broke his own record of 105.5m, which he set in the same week warming up for the big event. He first broke the official record in Las Vegas with a 98m jump.

Blind land speed record

An element of fearlessness is required to ride motorcycles at extreme speeds, but to add blindness to the mix surely takes the feat from "brave" to "crazy". But blind rider Billy Baxter did just that in 2003 with a top speed of 265.33kph riding at the Boscombe Down Royal Air Force base in Wiltshire, UK. His ride of choice to enter record books, for the blind land speed record, was a 1,200cc Kawasaki Ninja. Baxter has also driven a lap of the Top Gear track in the show's "reasonably priced car" segment.

Longest motorcycle

With a top speed of just 48kph, this bike won't rival any of Rocky Robinson's achievements, but at 14.03m in length, this creation is great for reserving several parking spaces at once. Colin Furze, a British bike enthusiast, built the bizarre bike in 2008 to celebrate his 29th birthday. He used two 50cc Honda Sky mopeds connected by pieces of aluminium to create his machine. To break the record he had to ride the bike 100m. Furze also holds the record for the world's largest bonfire.