Italy Gets an FIM-Sanctioned Land Speed Record Facility

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While the Bonneville Salt Flats remains the gold standard venue for land speed record attempts, the journey across the pond for European competitors is a daunting task. First there is the cost involved in shipping a bike, crew, and supplies from Europe to America, but there is also the hassle at the border for shipping and customs that can throw more than a wrench in even the most carefully made plans.

At 4,219 feet above sea level, the elevation at Bonneville sucks the much needed horsepower out of the engines of internal combustion machines, and the salt flat terrain is a less-than-ideal surface for traction, and can vary wildly from weekend to weekend. All of this adds up to be a daunting level of adversity for would-be record-breakers, but for Europeans, there might be a better option soon.

Ruedi Steck is organizing the first European Motorcycle Land Speed Record Trials, which will be held on Easter weekend (March 29th to April 1st) in 2013. The venue is the Nardo Ring in southern Italy. A test facility that includes a giant high-speed circular course, Nardo has been the proving grounds for a variety of automobiles during the past few decades.

Built by Fiat in 1975, the facility was purchased this year by Porsche, and the zie Germans have permitted Steck to hold FIM-sanctioned motorcycle land-speed record events at the circuit. Only 50 entries will be allowed to take to the banked ~12km circle course (boasting a 4km diameter!). The current record at Nardo is held by Loris Bicocchi, who drove a Koenigsegg CCR to a top speed of 241.01 mph.

The only problem we see with running bikes at the Nardo Ring, is the issue of run-off. Crashing at 200+ mph at any venue is an iffy proposition, but if there is one thing that Bonneville has an ample amount of, it is run-off space. Nardo? Not so much.

There is also the issue of the course being in a circle, which at over 149 mph means riders will have to turn their bikes to stay on course. The Koenigsegg CCR LSR, for example, was achieved with the steering wheel at a 30° angle, which certainly had an affect on the car’s overall top speed.

Source: Swiss Performance