James Toseland gets behind the wheel of his next racing project, the former World SBK champion piloting a new streamliner project designed by the University of Derby.
Retired World Superbike star James Toseland will be dusting off his racing leathers for some runs on the Bonneville Salt Flats. The two-time SBK champion will pilot a motorcycle streamliner project build by the University of Derby and bid to be the fastest rider in the world. Toseland joins three other contenders to break the standing ultimate two-wheeled land speed record of 376 mph, and be the first rider to break the coveted 400 mph barrier.
Toseland hinted at big news on his Twitter feed (@JamesMToseland), confirming on December 4th via social media his intentions to pilot the new streamliner. A press release from the University of Derby gives more information for the planned LSR venture.
“I am hugely excited about this record attempt but I’m under no illusions as to how difficult it will be,” said Toseland in the University of Derby press statement. “I’ve been racing motorcycles for most of my life but this means learning a completely new technique in order to pilot the motorcycle streamliner.
“The team involved with the project are amazing and really know their stuff, so I know I’m in safe hands in terms of the development. We’ve been in discussions about this for several months, but at the University of Derby’s workshops I sat in the cockpit of the machine for the first time, so it now all seems very real.
“If successful, this will be a fantastic personal achievement but also a great accolade to bring back to the UK.”
Toseland will attempt to carry on a tradition of British racers at Bonneville breaking prestigious barriers. Malcolm Campbell, who set numerous land speed records, was notably the first man to break the 300 mph barrier in 1935 (piloting a car Blue Bird).
The University of Derby motorcycle streamliner project will be led by Alex Macfadzean. A former GP and TT racer, MacFadzean also has ample LSR experience. The Derby press statement lists him as “a former holder of the British bike land speed record, and the first UK record over 200 mph.”
The University of Derby streamliner is slated to make a run at the 400 mph barrier in September 2014. The team includes University of Derby Program Leader for Motorsport Engineering’s Steve Hill (left), James Toseland pilot (center), and project head and Alex Macfadzean (right).
The press statement designates the target for Toseland’s world record attempt as September 2014. It does not list technical details for the new streamliner, stating: “Given the long lead times, the technical specifications for the machine are being kept firmly under wraps.”
Toseland did tease out one of the claimed performance attributes of the streamliner on his Twitter feed, saying: “The bike on paper could reach 550mph!! Don’t tell the Mrs!! Ha.”
The University of Derby team now brings the list of 400 mph contenders up to four. The current record holder and front-runner is the Ack Attack squad, piloted by Rocky Robinson (a Motorcycle USA contributing editor, penning a monthly LSR column titled Salt Addiction). The BUB Number Seven streamliner, piloted by former AMA Flat Track champion Chris Carr, has been Ack Attack’s chief rival and twice a former world record holder. The third candidate is Sam Wheeler, who is both the designer and pilot of the E-Z-Hook streamliner. Wheeler is currently redesigning the E-Z-Hook with a more powerful engine, drivetrain and chassis. (Read more in the MotoUSA feature article: Sam Wheeler Prepares for 400 mph)
Ack Attack’s plans to challenge the 400 mph barrier were foiled in this past fall by poor salt conditions at Bonneville. The weather also spoiled a last minute attempt by Wheeler to run at Bonneville in 2012. Instead both riders will wait until 2013 to log world record attempts. The BUB Number Seven streamliner last broke the world record in 2009 at 367 mph.