It's not everyday you get to sit across from someone who holds a Guinness World Record. If you know the business, you will probably have a fair idea who I'm talking about already. He could also hold the record for being the most humble and down to earth human being, but this Cork native holds the World Record for the fastest wheelie @ 217.85mph.
Cast your mind back to Elvington Airfield in North Yorkshire in August 2019 which must almost feel like a lifetime ago now! For those of us a little less familiar with the wheelie attempt can you take us through the basics of what involved with a run?
The runway in Elvington is 3km long and we ride up typically in groups of 10 to make your individual run. When you get confirmation from the start line judge that the runway is clear you get the nod and off you go. So for the wheelie record you get roughly 3/4 of a kilometre of a run in and then the middle kilometre is measured and you have to be on the back wheel for a full "kilo" in order to satisfy the record. Then when you go over the finish line you have a kilometre to slow down.
So, to put that into some form of perspective for mere mortals such as myself and yourself Ted blasts through the gears to get this superbike up to speed. As he's keeping it pinned, comes up on the rear tyre @ about 180 mph and wrestling against the conditions steadies it up for over a kilometre. To draw a comparison of that distance, if you look at Ted's daily grind at the airport, take an Airbus 747 and line 13 of them up one after the other and all that keeps Ted in contact with the ground is a patch of rubber no bigger than the your credit card!
The record has also given you opportunities afforded to few like being invited to the Festival of Speed at Goodwood. How are you coping with the fame that has brought?!
That was definitely one of the highlights of getting the wheelie record and the invite to Goodwood was very special. That came in July 2019 and even though it was just an event to show off the bike there was a lot of organising it was a long trip to get there in a camper and trailer for the first time ever I was able to bring Shirley and my son Jack. My daughter Lauren was away at the time so she couldn't go but it was absolutely the best experience I had outside of the wheelie record. Just to go over and perform and rub shoulders with the World champions from cars, bikes, Le Mans, Formula 1 you name it. I met the cream of the crop from the road racing world. The likes of Agostini I had Randy Mamola parked only two bikes up from me in the pits. I met John McGuinness, Conor Cummins, Steve Parish just the whose who of everything to do with biking. Goodwood itself is such a spectacular venue it's this mansion of a house on 12,000 acres of land with huge crowds coming in every day and to be able to spend that with my family was very special. We even got an invite to the black tie ball which was a bit of a Cinderella moment for us really being able to dress up for that as well.
I leave Ted's place in awe and wonder. What he has achieved is staggering in my mind and those of us lucky enough to witness a kilo attempt know how agonisingly close glorification can be at times but on that knife edge of coming up short in the final stages makes it all the more tantalising. No doubt once we have room the room to breathe and the N71 at the Halfway or Elvington runway is cleared once again the Inniscarra man will be there at the front pushing the 'Busa to its limit in search of further glory.
A special word of thanks to John Burke and another Club member and photojournalist Cian Donnellan for providing some awesome photos of Ted and the World Record setting Hayabusa. Cian contributes to a number of popular motorsport websites and his work can be seen on his Facebook or Instagram pages just search CianDon or click on the links and be sure to give him a like and a share.
Donal J. Arnold CMRVC PRO