A British-built jet bike called ‘Jet Reaction’ is hoping to set a new world record for the fastest land vehicle on two wheels later this year.
Jet Reaction is designed to reach speeds in excess of 400 mph (644 km/h), or 587 feet per second. The current record holder for fastest motorcycle was set in 2010 by the Lawless Electric Rocket Bike at 376.36 mph (605.69 km/h).
To increase this jet bike’s probability of reaching such blistering speeds with maximum safety in mind, the team will make the official attempt in September at Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah where its flat ground and dry air are ideal conditions for minimizing air resistance and the chances of Jet Reaction turning into a fiery inferno. “We’re all praying Mother Nature plays ball and leaves us with a nice dry, smooth surface on which to operate,” said Richard Brown, the bike’s engineer and designer.
Brown’s jet bike not without risk
Unlike previous two-wheeled record holders that relied on mechanically driven engines with a chain or driveshaft (a rotating shaft that transmits torque from an engine) for power, Jet Reaction owes its speed to a uniquely modified helicopter engine.
Of course, speeds in excess of 200 mph on land come with significant risk to both drivers and vehicle stability.
The whole project is about a calculated risk, but the challenge is to engineer a vehicle that reduces that risk to an acceptable level. The only thing I can liken it to is the onboard footage from a racing car — everything is blurring past. [At such high speeds] you can almost see the curvature of the Earth. Brown
Since the mid-1990s, Brown has been working hard on developing high performance vehicles. Twice, he’s come close to setting new world records.The first attempt took place in 1999 with a jet bike called the Mach 3 Challenger that reached a speed of 332.887 mph (535.730 km/h). At the time, this was a record setting speed that fell short due to a canceled return run.
Brown’s Jet Reaction jet bike is scheduled for a speed test in the United Kingdom from May 23 to 25, and there are five American teams that are also competing to break and set new world records.