Pretty fast for 1930.
Here’s something I don’t really like to admit in motorcycling circles: I’ve never ridden a bike at 150 mph.
Maybe that’s because I have no interest in riding track. Or maybe it’s because I haven’t thought to wear a girdle and ride in a wool sweater that’s been secured with electrical tape. The latter is certainly what’s being suggested in this video from 1930.
A girdle! Of course! It seems so obvious now.
The man being taped up is Joseph S. Wright, a racer who had set a world speed record of 137.32 mph only a few months before in the same year. That record was broken by German rider Ernst Henne a short time afterward, so Wright decided to try again. He ended up smashing the record, hitting a speed of 150.7 mph.
The card at the start of the film claims Wright accomplished this feat on an Osborn Engineering Co. motorcycle, powered by a J.A.P. engine, but according to website The Vintagent, that’s a lie. In fact, Wright set the record on a Zenith.
Not the record-setting Zenith
Wright and the press chose to claim the record for OEC because at the time Zenith had gone bankrupt, so there was no reason to give it racing kudos. It makes you wonder what other devilish tales we’re being fed by the Mainstream Media. Maybe Marc Marquez’s Honda is, in fact, an old Buell…
Meanwhile, Wright’s speed record held until 1932, when the aforementioned Henne managed to hit 151.77 mph. The current motorcycle speed record, by the way, is 376.36 mph –– set in 2010 by Rocky Robinson. I’ll bet he used a lot of electrical tape to go that fast.