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.

Ted Brady thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for us, but given the current climate time is a lot of what we have on our hands. How have you kept yourself busy since the conformation of your World Record last December?
Unfortunately with COVID and the current climate there has been no bike events locally, so things have been very quiet. There are some events back up and running in the UK, but I just haven't been able to travel given the restrictions that have been in place, so the bikes have been laid up in the shed for over a year now. I'm kept busy at work but one positive to take from the lack of track time is I've been able to have plenty of quality time with the family.

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 when I take off I leave the line in first gear I go up through the gearbox as quick as I can up to 6th and you'll be in 6th a good bit before the measured kilo then its a case of winding on and lifting the front wheel in 6th at about 180mph and I just know that because of some of the computer data that we look back on after on the laptop at some of the data. You lift in 6th at 180 then you just have to try and get down the kilo and make that last so what I mean by that you have about 2,500 to 3,000 rpm left on the clock form the time you lift off and its just trying to make sure that you don't use them up too soon and on the other hand that you don't go over the finish line with too many rpms left because that just means you haven't used all the power that's available to you.
It's a bit of a balancing act in 2 ways because your trying to keep your wheel off the ground but your also trying to manage your RPMs. There has been times when you go down and your getting close to the finish line and you might just hit the limiter before you get there, the wheel drops and it's a failed run. When you go through the finish line there's some equipment down there that measures your speed a bit like a drag race except there a much closer together which measures your terminal speed at the finish line. They also have a high speed camera at the finish line which is photographing the last couple of seconds of your run and that's just for verification that your front wheel was off the ground going over the line.
Then you land and the landings are probably one of the scarier parts in that the front wheel has to catch up to the speed you are now doing, and the front end tends to slide a bit and when she catches up to speed your doing it straightens out again and that can be interesting. Then you just have to back off and leave the bike come down at its own pace but the end of the runway comes at you fairly quick!
Ted in full flight at Straightliners on his way to setting the World Wheelie Record @ 217.85mph

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!

You said at the time you've been 15 years chasing the wheelie record and along the way you've experienced a few other disciplines. Do you still get the same buzz on the back wheel since you first set off down the runway?
Yes especially with the bike there's so much power in it when you get that really good run under your belt it's a fantastic feeling because you do go up to each run full of nerves but like anything once you get out and do it and get a run done you tend to relax again. The wheelie runs are fantastic it's over a kilometre on the back wheel and it's a real rush.

Motorcycle racing takes a few different forms, you've dipped your toe into the other events as well but what was it about the wheelie attempts that snared you?
I went over to my first wheelie attempts in the Isle of Man in '96 and '97 and it was a different kind of record it wasn't kilo record, but it was still good, and I suppose I was riding bikes a lot more at the time and wheelies were just part of it. When I used to go to drag racing, I used to tend to wheelie a lot of the quarters rather than do it on 2 wheels just for the fun of it!
Competing in the Mondello Masters Classic Superbikes back in 2019 on his '91 ZXR750
Back in 2017 Ted took victory on Mel Nolan's Pro-Stock FJ 1200 at the Halfway, Ballinhassig
Admittedly his first love for two wheels (or rather one wheel!) is naturally the wheelie attempts, Ted has tried it all with spells on short circuits, hill climbs but most notably every 1/4-mile strip in the Country, in the middle of the Irish Sea and the UK where he claimed the record. Cork has always had a great tradition in drag racing from the early days of Ted's runs in Vernon Mount right up to the modern day staple at the Halfway thanks to the great work by the West Cork Motorcycle Club.
Take us through the bike itself and those responsible for building it? The lads at Holeshot racing have you pride of place on their website naturally?
When I realised I needed to move up a gear with the bike I knew I needed to go for a Hayabusa to chase the record and it just happened that my good friend John O'Brien had a 2004 one that he bought brand new. He had actually "turboed" it, but he'd only put 2,000 miles on it after, so he offered the bike to me because John had been travelling with me to all the Elvington events when I was riding the GSXR1000. We did a deal, and I sent the engine up to Holeshot to get cracking on that and I followed on a couple of months later then with the rolling chassis. Jack Frost did all the engine work, the electronics, the setup, and the dyno work. The engine got stripped completely and it got everything it needed so without getting into too deep into detail on it the crankshaft was left stock, it got Carillo conrods CP turbo pistons, larger head studs, the cams were re-profiled for turbo use the head was left alone other than that it got an MTC lockup clutch to take all the power. Then on the turbo side it got a BorgWarner race turbo, it got a charge cooled intercooler basically where the air comes up from the turbo it has to go through a water filled radiator and that helps to cool the charge. On the electronics side the original ECU was replaced with a Syvecs S8L which takes care of all the engine stuff. Its running its original throttle bodies with 1,000 cc injectors. So, all of that put together makes the bike produce in the region of 540bhp.

Would it be fair to say as bike racing goes it's probably not the most expensive discipline to go from the standard bike to getting on the runway?
It's getting up there but probably no more crazier than building a serious road race bike but your getting up in to €18,000 territory between buying the bike and getting all the work done to it.

Given your demanding role with the airport authority here in Cork you must having a very understanding family support behind you given a lot of the events are UK based.
My wife Shirley understands what I do but I usually only get to 1 event in the UK during the year and I just couldn't manage any more really between work and the expense of getting to the UK so those restrictions along with trying to get the time off of work mean I get to one every year and that's the main wheelie record event in Elvington.
Ted and multiple 500cc GP winning rider Randy Mamola at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2019

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.

Considering there's been a huge drop off in racing of late owing to the pandemic, how do feel supporters and racers for wheelieing will bounce back and with that in mind will we see Ted Brady world record holder back in action as soon as it opens up again?
It's been along time away form racing and I would think that people have been starved of bike sport and it will come back fairly strong . I know that events are running in the UK in Elvington so there a bit ahead of us, but I just haven't been able to go. I would hope that things come back to normal again. I do feel slightly nervous about going back seeing as its been so long but its like anything when you do get back on the bike and a few events under your belt you'll get back in the swing o f it. The bike needs to go for work so it will go back to Jack in Holeshot as it needs a few bits as it gave a little bit of trouble back in 2019 so it needs a bit of tidying up and dyno work. I don't feel quite prepared for it, but I wouldn't be long getting organised if it came to it and I had an event to go to. I'm going to hope for the best and to stay positive because I do feel there's more in the bike. The day I did the record and set it @ 217.85mph I had one run that I did that day as well that went to 221.9mph almost 222mph and it just dropped short of the line so I know there's more in it so it would be nice to shove the record up another bit maybe keep it out of reach for another bit longer.

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