Englishman Noel Pope, the fastest ever motor-cyclist at Brooklands, went to Bonneville with a streamlined Brough Superior some 60 years ago but, sadly, suffered a high speed crash on his first test run.
Though not badly hurt the project had to be abandoned.
Brough, if you like, had unfinished business at Bonneville.
Mark Upham, Brough Superior's CEO, said, “We were under no illusions concerning the setbacks we would encounter on our first visit to Bonneville which, to us, is the Blue Riband of competition. But, with such a beautiful product – and the care that Alastair has invested – I was confident of success!”
Mark went on to thank the group of sponsors [see listing below] without whose help and enthusiasm this project would not have been possible.
There is a magic attaching to Bonneville Salt Flats that, in motorcycling terms, exists nowhere else. It is a magic linked to one of the greatest mechanical challenges, for the terrain is vast, changeable, and 4400 feet above sea level, factors that combine to provide riders and engineers with unforeseen difficulties.
In 2011, we took on this challenge.
Year 2011: Prepared over nine months by Brough’s chief engineer and designer Alastair Gibson with key assistance from Peter Aldridge Renault F1 engine expert, the unstreamlined vintage Brough, running on pump gasoline, was ridden exclusively by 65-year old Eric Patterson, a former 120 mph record breaker at Bonneville on his own Norton-J.A.P.
The new record was achieved over a 5-day period, with eight runs in total. Timed speeds rose from an initial 93 mph, followed by two runs at 103 and 117 mph, breaking the 120 mph barrier on Tuesday August 30th. Following minor problems with an ignition cut out, and the substitution of “drop” handlebars, Wednesday’s first run produced an encouraging 125 mph but, unfortunately, with a low return of just 48 mph, due to a recalcitrant gear selector. With midday temperatures exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit Alastair knew that for optimum speed it was essential the bike ran in early morning time, in as much Eric’s ultimate two runs – at 127.07 and 122.90 mph – were undertaken on the final day at 8.19 and 9.09 am respectively.
Alastair was assisted throughout on the echanical side by F1 analyst Lawrence Wilkinson from New Zealand, enjoying a busman’s holiday from the hectic world of Grand Prix.
The project was masterminded by Mark Upham, Brough Superior’s CEO, who came from the firm’s HQ at Pettenbach, Austria; also present were David Sharp, team manager, from Jersey, and technical specialist Sam Lovegrove from Cornwall. Further mechanical support was kindly provided by Alan and Stefan, of Revival, a renowned restoration business in Austin, Texas, which he closed for the week, travelling overland to Utah with a team of three mechanics.
Jay Leno's Garage | The Big Dog Garage
British only Austria
Mr. Charlie Jones
Robert Iannucci, President - Team Obsolete Promotions Inc.
Nick Clements Photographer
Victor Olson, Restorations
Oakbridge - International storage & freight
Andrew Paul, special thanks for your generous support.
More fotos fom the record on https://www.flickr.com