This week, on the vast, desolate moonscape of Utah’s salt flats (USA), one man will attempt something never before achieved.
Guy Martin, a maverick motorcycle racer more used to the twisting, undulating and wildly perilous curves of the Isle of Man TT, will attempt to break the two-wheeled land speed record.
The vehicle British-born Martin will pilot for this straight-line challenge is at once familiar and other-worldly: a sleekly futuristic projectile called the Triumph Infor Rocket Streamliner, powered by what essentially amounts to two road-legal motorcycle engines strapped together.
The engineers behind it hope that the combination will be enough to break the current world record of 376.3mph, held since 2010 by California’s Rocky Robinson.
The crew chief and lead designer for Triumph’s record attempt is Matt Markstaller. The Oregon-based engineer explained how man and machine will need to combine to make history.
“Instead of sitting on the machine, like a conventional bike, Guy is strapped into a seven-point harness with his feet in front of him,” Markstaller told CNN. “Instead of a single handlebar he has two joystick styled controls.”
“We’re reliant on the weather remaining warm and sunny, but the Streamliner has been developed and tested to exceed 400 mph. We will go as fast as the conditions will allow.”
The Streamliner has already passed 274.2mph in a trial run last month, becoming the fastest ever Triumph motorcycle. The salt, and the record books, will sit in judgment over the next few days.