Record breaking

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The 2-mile-long V-bomber runway at RAF Elvington in Yorkshire has proved so successful as a venue for attacking short-distance records that it is now used regularly in the autumn of each year for this purpose. Two weekends are set aside for record-breaking, the first, organised by the National Sprint Association, is limited to motorcycles and three-wheelers and is restricted to competitors only, and concentrates on serious record attempts under FIM rules and jurisdiction; the second, organised by the Incorporated Sprint Organisation and sponsored by the firm of Chandy, combines record attempts with a public entertainment and caters for motorcycles, three-wheelers and motor cars, the last category containing everything from cyclecars to dragsters.

At the NSA meeting the motorcycle riders broke or established 61 records on distances from the quarter-mile to the mile, both standing start and flying start. Outstanding was the flying-start kilometre World and International record for 1,300-c.c. motorcycles which Fred Cooper set at 187.34 m.p.h. for a mean of two runs in opposite directions, his best single-run being at 194 m.p.h. Another worthy World and International record-breaker was Duncan Hocking who took the standing-start quarter-mile with a two-way average of 10.01 sec. and the standing-start kilometre record with a two-way average of 18.81 sec., the average speed for the standing kilometre being 118.91 m.p.h. Cooper’s machine is a home-built special powered by two 650-c.c. Triumph-twin engines mounted fore-and-aft in vee-formation with a huge supercharger in the wee, and Hocking’s home-built machine is powered by one 650-c.c. supercharged Triumph-twin engine.

The following weekend at the ISO meeting under RAC/FIA jurisdiction the weather restricted activity and prevented any really high-speed records being set up but even so an additional batch of motorcycle records were broken and 18 car records. Fog and poor visibility stopped the only big dragster present from doing more than one run but small capacity cars were very active. Breaking records is not a simple or cheap activity and costs are prohibitive for an individual to hire the airfield and pay for the official International timekeepers and observers, so that these collective weekends are the only possible way the amateur can make an attempt on a record, but even so the successful ones still have to pay a sizeable fee to have their record ratified by the FIM or FIA and for their efforts to be entered in the official records book.—D. S. J.