Two years ago Brough Superior successfully raised the speed record to a whisker off 125mph at Bonneville Salt Flats for the VGA Vintage Class for rigid framed, girder forked, unstreamlined bikes running on 'pump gasoline'. This August the team returns to Utah to see if they can improve it further...
Competing in the 1350-A-VG category in 2011 rider Eric Patterson twice took the 1100cc Brough SS100 'through the traps', producing an average speed of 124.98 mph. During a six-day stint on the salt Eric raised the machine's maximum speed from an initial 93mph to an eventual best of 127mph. A progressive development curve saw chief engineer and former BAR Honda F1 mechanic (and also a Bonnevile Salt Flats veteran) Alastair Gibson and his team making constant improvements to the bike's ignition timing, carburation and gearing – as well as to the chassis – and, on the fifth day, fitting a pair of downswept handlebars, enabling Eric to finally exceed 125mph.
Autojumblers will know motorcycle fanatic Eric as the principle promoter with his wife of the Kempton Park autojumbles. His first trip to the Bonneville Salt Flats was in 2008 and he has since been back in 2009 and 2010. Eric describes the Salt Flats as "like a drug."
Riders for the brace of Broughs for this August's attempt are Eric Patterson, pictured left, and motorcycle journalist Alan Cathcart who, cumulatively, have competed at Bonneville on six previous occasions. TV presenter and bike enthusiast Henry Cole is the team's third rider, if the television programme scheduling allows his attendance.
It is the intention of the Brough team in August to add another 10mph to its previous record and everyone here is willing them to do just that.
A record attempt at this level cannot be mounted without the support of some generous sponsors, whose reward is the kudos of knowing they are part of Bonneville's rich history. Brough CEO Mark Upham refuses to state this year's target speeds, but calculates every mile an hour increment costs £10,000 per mile! Discerning enthusiasts wishing to link with that extra mile (or part of) can email Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact him via the company website, below.
► More information on the attempt from the Brough Superior website
► Brough Superior Facebook page
► Video courtesy of Revival Cycles
The skilfully crafted two-minute film, below, captures the flavour of the team's time on the salt, despite that throughout the footage the bike is depicted with its original high 'bars.