After retiring from WSBK / MotoGP, James Toseland is now moving on to something that'll probably go a bit faster in a straight line. How does 400mph sound to you...?
Two-time World Superbikes champ and ex-MotoGP rider, James Toseland will now be a part of an attempt to break the official world motorcycle land speed record. For this, the British rider will attempt to hit a speed of at least 400mph (640km/h) at the Bonneville Salt Flats in the US. The current official Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) record of 376.363mph (602.18km/h) is held by American rider, Rocky Robinson.
The effort that Toseland will be part of, is being led by former GP and TT sidecar racer, Alex Macfadzean, who is an engine development and dyno specialist and a former holder of the British bike land speed record. Toseland and Macfadzean will be working together for their record attempt, which will take place in September 2014 at the Bonneville Salt Flats. The project will also be supported by staff and students on the University of Derby’s Motorsports courses, supposedly among the best in the UK. Steve Hill, Programme Leader for FdEng and BEng (Hons) Motorsport Engineering, is leading a team that’s looking at design elements for the record attempting bike. For now, the technical specifications of the machine are being kept secret.
‘I am hugely excited about this record attempt but I’m under no illusions as to how difficult it will be. I’ve been racing motorcycles for most of my life but this means learning a completely new technique in order to pilot the motorcycle streamliner,’ says Toseland. ‘The team involved with the project are amazing and really know their stuff, so I know I’m in safe hands in terms of the development. We’ve been in discussions about this for several months, but today at the University of Derby’s workshops I sat in the cockpit of the machine for the first time, so it now all seems very real. If successful, this will be a fantastic personal achievement but also a great accolade to bring back to the UK,’ he adds.
Incidentally, Toseland’s musician wife, Katie Melua (the two got married in September this year…) is also a confirmed adrenaline junkie and enjoys scary things like paragliding, hang gliding and skydiving. So we suppose she probably approves of Mr Toseland’s quest to do 640km/h in a streamliner on a patch of sand somewhere in the United States…