Words: Colin Smith Pic: INMOTION, Greg Henderson

A new national association and events to showcase the maximum speed discipline of landspeed racing means there is a New Zealand record book open and awaiting fresh entries.

Absolute speed will be the goal for an expected field of about 40 Kiwi car and motorcycle enthusiasts at a new landspeed record event in February.

The inaugural speed trials to be sanctioned by the newly formed Landspeed New Zealand Association is set for Saturday February 10 and will involve a return to record-breaking attempts on the 5.6km of straight and flat tarmac road at Goudies Rd, near Reporoa.

The association was founded in 2016, primarily through the efforts of Auckland motorcycle racer John Seccombe, who wanted to create opportunities for Kiwis to compete in landspeed events without the cost of travelling to Bonneville or other overseas venues.

After an unsuccessful attempt to organise a landspeed event in 2013, it was determined a separate governing body was the best way forward for the sport.

Three years’ work rewarded Landspeed NZ with achieving incorporated society status in 2016 with Seccombe elected president.

The committee includes several competitors and crew members with many years of experience racing at the Bonneville salt flats.

Its first event was a demonstration at the Tauranga Air Show in January this year.

The association has it own rules, insurance cover and event safety plans and is separate to Motorsport NZ and Motorcycling NZ. The goal is to run at least two events each year with plans to secure a South Island venue as well as to promote the success of New Zealand competitors at international events.

February’s event will be an opportunity for national land speed records to be set across multiple car and motorcycle categories with the focus not only on outright contenders chasing speeds in the region of 350km/h but also multiple class records for bikes, sidecars and cars.

The association has completed a full survey of the quarter-mile (402m) course — with 2.6km of run-up and braking zone — at Goudie’s Rd and has purchased TAG Heuer certified timing equipment to provide the required accuracy for the two-way record attempts.

“Until now, there has been no organisation whose sole existence is to organise and support landspeed racing in New Zealand,” said vice-president Mike Wilkins.

“Many records are available to be beaten and we are going to provide official events where people can attempt to do that.”

Wilkins is campaigning one of the fastest machines that is expected to appear in February — a 235kW Kawasaki Ninja H2R ridden by his son Scott that has reached 330.5km/h at the Cliffhanger speed trials near Gladstone.

“It’s as much about the racer who has a $5000 budget and wants to break a class record as it is about the big-bore machines that can reach 350km/h,” said Wilkins.

The outright New Zealand landspeed record was set in 2012 at Ohakea Air Force Base by Aucklander Eddie Freeman who clocked 355.485km/h with his specially modified Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera.

Freeman says he has no plans to raise his record but he’d be happy to see a new one set.

“It would be great to see a new record set and I wish all competitors every success and of course safe passage,” Freeman said.

The official record for motorcycles stands at 307.51km/h. At the other end of the scale, records that could potentially be beaten include those for bikes as small as 50cc and 125cc displacement — records standing at 121.10km/h and 194.74km/h.

Information about the association, and updates on speed trials are available at landspeed.org.nz

Republished with permission courtesy of Driven.co.nz