When eight-time land-speed record holder Valerie Thompson headed down under to Australia’s Lake Garidner DRLA Speed Week, she had one goal in mind – claim the world’s fastest motorcycle title.The Arizona resident, known as the “Queen of Speed,” didn’t achieve the world’s fastest motorcycle title aboard the Team “7” Streamliner designed by Denis Maning and John Jans.
But she did claim a new land-speed record of 328.467, becoming the first female to exceed 300 mph in Australia and earning “Fast Lady on the Lake” award.The March 17-19 event didn’t come without drama, though. During a run on the dry lake bed in South Australia, Thompson crashed at over 340 mph, the nerve-jarring scene captured on the video below.According to Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) reports and team video, Thompson had just passed the four-mile marker on a 12-mile course when the rear of her streamliner rose off the racing surface, sending the vehicle airborne at 343.7 mph. Parachutes slowed the vehicle as it flipped and rolled multiple times, scattering wreckage for more than a mile across the Lake Gairdner salt flats.Thompson walked away with minor bruises and lacerations, and will continue her quest for new land speed records.“We had a singular goal of running 377+ mph to capture the record during the World Speed Trials,” Valerie Thompson. “We used Speed Week to test and tune the bike and I’m happy we set a new record and received the ‘Fast Lady on the Lake Award.’ The wreck during the World Speed Trials was unfortunate, but we are not giving up on our quest for the new record.”“Most importantly, we proved the superiority of the moncoque carbon fiber design and safety features utilized by Denis Manning and John Jans. Without their dedication to high speed safety engineering, I would not be talking with you now.“Nobody has ever walked away from a 340+ mph crash on a motorcycle. I’d also like to thank the DLRA and all their race course workers who helped ensure my safety.”
AMA Hall of Fame member and streamliner designer Manning also commented: “We’ve not determined what caused the problem, but we’ll know more once we analyze the onboard data collection systems and review films in more detail.“Valerie did an incredible riding job, doing everything she was supposed to and more. All of us at Team “7” Racing are relieved Valerie did not sustain any life threatening injuries.”During the Speed Week competition, Thompson earned her membership March 15 earning in the Dry Lake Racers Australia 200 and 300 MPH Clubs. She is only the second competitor to gain membership in the DRLA 300 MPH Club and was honored with the “Fast Lady on the Lake” award.Thompson is an eight-time land speed record holder on a variety of bikes ranging from Harley-Davidsons to BMWs and streamliners. She is a member of seven-land speed racing 200 MPH Clubs, one 300 MPH Club and the first female to exceed 300 mph in Australia.For more, visit Valerie Thompson Racing.
Aprilia Tuono 660 Factory + Steve ’Stavros’ Parrish
byMotos and Friends by Ultimate Motorcycle
Hello everyone and welcome once again to Ultimate Motorcycling’s weekly podcast—Motos and Friends. My name is Arthur Coldwells.
Our first segment features the new Aprilia Tuono 660 Factory. Senior Editor Nic de Sena brings us his report on the flagship version of Aprilia’s upright middleweight machine. He gives us insight into whether it’s worth spending the extra money on the Factory version, and also of course, whether this sporting Aprilia is really the motorcycle for you.
The next guest segment of Motos and Friends is brought to you by the faster and most technologically advanced, 2023 Suzuki Hayabusa—one of the most iconic sportbikes ever. Check it out in person at your local Suzuki dealer now, or visit suzukicycles.com to learn more.
In this segment, Associate Editor Teejay Adams chats with (arguably) one of the most interesting Suzuki race riders of all time. the iconic RG500 alongside teammate double World Champion Barry Sheene. The two were almost as famous for their exploits off-track, as for their success on it. Those were the days! Steve also raced the Isle of Man TT for about ten years where he won 13 Silver Replicas, and got a podium finish. His insight into that particular brand of mayhem are fascinating.
But there’s waaay more to Steve Parrish than his motorcycle racing. He is also the most successful Semi-Truck racer ever, and, little known piece of useless trivia—he’s my birthday twin: 24th February. He is a natural entertainer and you can’t miss his recounting of the world’s most entertaining—and arguably terrifying—double-decker bus ride ever. If any of you were actually on that hell-ride then we’d love to hear from you!