Rocky Robinson pilots the Ack Attack to 360.913mph
On September 26, 2008, after five days of pushing their streamliner motorcycle on the salt flats of Bonneville, the Top 1 Oil Ack Attack team achieved what it came to do – topple the absolute motorcycle land speed record. And top it they did, with a blistering 360.913 mph run.
At 8:58 Mountain Standard Time, team owner Mike Akatiff, driver Rocky Robinson and crew shattered the existing 350.884mph record set by Denis Manning and Chris Carr in 2006. The new record was witnessed by a Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (International Motorcycling Federation, or FIM) official onsite, but is still subject to FIM ratification.
This had to be an incredibly sweet victory for Akatiff and crew, who broke the record in 2006 after hitting 344mph, only to watch Dennis Manning’s BUB streamliner take it away from them two days later with a new record speed of 350.884mph. And it must be an incredible vindication for pilot Rocky Robinson, who moved over to ride for Akatiff following an apparently acrimonious split with former employer Manning. Robinson was part of the team that developed BUB’s record-winning Number 7 machine – the very machine that took the record from him in 2006. Robinson wrote a book on the experience, Flat Out: The Race for the Motorcycle World Land Speed Record, an excellent read for anyone interested in land speed racing. Click on the link to order a copy.
Rocky strapped into the 900hp Ack Attack
Unlike Manning’s bike, which uses a purpose-built, one-off 425hp, 3,000cc V-4 designed at BUB, the Ack Attack gets its power from a pair of 1,300cc Suzuki Hyabusa engines linked together and fed by a single, undoubtedly massive turbocharger to produce a claimed 900hp.
The historic record was set during the first annual TOP 1 Oil World Land Speed Shootout held September 22-26, 2008, at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Bonneville, Utah. The Shootout is the first invitation-only Land Speed Racing event bringing together the fastest wheel-driven streamliner cars and motorcycles on the planet. It is also the first to be sanctioned by the FIA and FIM, the same organization overseeing Formula 1 and Moto GP racing. – Richard Backus