So its been a bit over a week since we returned from Lake Gairdner and I am still buzzing from the experience. All week people have been asking me about the experience and all week I have been trying to find the words to describe the event that is DLRA Speedweek, and honestly, there really aren’t’ any words that can do it justice. All I can say is that if you have ever had even a small part of you think that you might like to give land speed racing a go, then you HAVE to do it, its like nothing else on earth!
Just to be standing in the middle of the salt lake was a special experience, its a breathtaking landscape that like nothing else I have ever seen before, add to that the sights and sounds of over 100 wild landspeed racing machines and the experience is taken to a whole new level. I was in awe before we even took the bike out of the trailer. I’ll admit that at times throughout the build of the bike I wondered if we’d ever make it to the lake, the project soaked up so many hours of effort that I had almost lost sight of what it would actually be like to finally ride the bike, as the event neared though the reality of the project really began to sink in. Its not every day that you get to make dreams a reality but for me it was happening and I couldn’t have been happier.
Our week was like one big non stop learning expereince, jsut getting to the lake was an expereince, once we were everything about the event was unique, the characters, the sheer scale of the whole operation, the red dust that seemed to find its ways into everything, the salt surface, so much to learn about. After passing through scruitineering, rider briefing, rookie orientation and listenitng to some tall tales of mayhem from some experienved riders my nerves were up a bit before my first run, this run would be limited to 125mph as a licence run. I needed to demonstrate to the event organisers that I was able to control the bike at that speed before being allowed to run any faster. After queing on the start line for about 7 hours (yep, 7 hours!) I was ready to make to first run. It was an incredible expereince, that salt was hard and smooth, the bike felt like it was on rails and effortlessly roared up to that speed, honestly it didn’t even feel that fast. After the fisrt run my nerves were settled and I felt 100% confident for our second run.
We ran into the timed mile flat out in top, our GPS speedo on the bike was showing 157mph, we held this speed well past the half mile point before the motor slowed, I knew something had let go but did as everyone had told me – rolled off the power slowly and smoothly and rode off the course calmly. I was completely unaware of the huge clouds of smoke trailing out behind the bike – probably a good thing as I may have panicked if i’d seen that! We ended up coasting out the end of the timed mile to set a new Australian Record at 149.626MPH, just shy of the world record held by Sir Alan Catchcart at 153mph. It was with mixed feelings that the reality of what had just happened sunk in, before the event we had a goal to run at 150mph, we showed the bike to be capable of that and a bit more. I am incredibly proud of what we all achieved, just to be on the start line was great, to run down the course and be in the ball park of World Record pace was amazing, to share the experience with some great friends really capped of a fantastic week. We left the lake hungry for more, we know the bike has it in it to go quite a bit faster, we have learnt so much from our first Speedweek and will be back in 2016 to take care of some unfinished business!