Gents set sights on world speed record

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A Manx motorcycle team, which rode into the record books at the Bonneville Speed Week two years ago, is hoping to recreate a winning formula when it returns to America for the centenary event in a few weeks’ time.

In August 2012 the Lonan Gentleman’s Fellowship achieved two consecutive world records with their home prepared 500cc Manxman motorcycle which exceeded 200mph.

Paul Hodgson and Chris Proctor, from the Lonan Gentlemans' Fellowship, with their finished bikes ready to ship to America

Paul Hodgson and Chris Proctor, from the Lonan Gentlemans' Fellowship, with their finished bikes ready to ship to America

At the same time they earned the accolade of being the most successful motorcycle rookie team ever to compete at the event, deservedly so as no team has ever left with two trophies on their first attempt.

The team’s 2012 bike was also the first production-based 500cc motorcycle to top 200mph on the salt flats.

This year, competition is expected to be fierce as teams flock to the famous salt flats of Utah for the 100th anniversary event.

The team, based in Laxey, will be taking two bikes this time, the Lonan 500 owned by team engineer Paul Hodgson from Laxey, and the 600 Manxman which Chris Proctor from Andreas has built in just three months.

‘I was often in the garage starting between 4am and 6am. I’m grateful to Richard who lent me some parts I didn’t have time to fabricate and also to all the team for their help and support,’ he said.

Team spokesman Ralf Mitchell said: ‘Both the team’s bikes are now built, tuned, tested and ready for the salt flats where fierce temperatures and high altitude are just a few of the challenges faced in achieving aproposed seven new world records.’

The bikes have already been crated up ready for shipment to America ahead of the team’s arrival for the event which takes place from August 9 to 15.

The team’s engineer, Paul Hodgson from Laxey, has built his bike based on a Yamaha frame and engine, which he will ride. The other bike is to be ridden by Chris.

After their first visit they are only too well acquainted with the unique challenges posed by competing on the salt flats. The temperature during the day was around 52F and the altitude was 4,500 feet above sea level. The team members were cooling the bike with ice from their hotel’s ice dispenser before each run.

Mr Mitchell said the team wanted to thank everyone.

He said: ‘The fellowship is very grateful for the support from the island community which has been invaluable in funding the challenge and which makes it all the more important that the mission is accomplished.’

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