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Triumph has built a motorcycle that it says can go 400 mph, but Mother Nature may not give it the chance to prove it.
The motorcycle manufacturer has announced plans to go for the two-wheel land speed record this August at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats with its Triumph Rocket. The 25.5-foot-long streamliner is built with carbon Kevlar and powered by two 1.5-liter Triumph Rocket III 3-cylinder engines that have been tuned and turbocharged by Carpenter Racing to put out a combined 1,000 hp running on methanol.
The rider sits in front of the engine in an enclosed, recumbent position, and British racer and TV personality Guy Martin is signed up to fill the seat. The bike sits on two, swingarm-suspended wheels shod in Goodyear Land Speed Special tires, and has a pair of small, retractable stabilizers to hold it upright as it starts and stops.
Triumph motorcycles held the record for all but about a month between 1955 and 1970, and its most iconic model, the Bonneville, was named as a tribute to its success. The mark currently stands at 376 mph, set by Rocky Robinson with a Suzuki-powered motorcycle in 2010.
In development since 2013, the Triumph Rocket has already tested on the flats and is scheduled to hit them again this month. Unfortunately, The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the remains of mudslides from recent flooding combined with rain and salt depletion across the flats have left the surface in such bad condition that there may not be a good stretch of salt available for record attempts this summer.
Organizers of the annual Bonneville Speed Week event, which was washed out in 2014, will decide this weekend if they can go ahead with this year’s edition, currently on the calendar for August 8-14. Triumph has already had to delay this month’s testing once due to weather, but is still targeting an August 24-27 window for the Rocket’s run.
Whether or not mama opens it is up to her.