The way we were: August 1963

By Richard Rosenthal, 15 July 2013

Craig Breedlove became the fastest man on wheels at the Bonneville Salt Flats with his jet propelled three-wheeler, but initially the authorities wouldn’t recognise the vehicle rather than the record...

His mean speed of 408.3mph for the flying kilometre beat John Cobb’s car land speed record of 394.2mph and Bill Johnson’s 224.5mph set on a motorcycle... but as it wasn’t a four-wheeler the car world didn’t want to know and it gave the FIM a headache as its solo and sidecar records are for vehicles with one driving wheel, in fact Breedlove’s Spirit of America had no drive through any wheels. It was powered by a General Electric J47 turbojet from an F-86 Sabre jet fighter!

The FIM created a special category – Group D – for jet powered three-wheelers then dithered over Breedlove’s 1963 figures. But Breedlove solved the problem 15 months later posting 848.651kph (530.407mph) at Bonneville, again with Spirit of America, on October 13, 1964. It’s a record which remains in the FIM world record lists to this day. 

On August 1, at the 7.4 mile Dundrod circuit near Belfast, Mike Hailwood (500/4 MV Agusta) raised the lap record for the Ulster Grand Prix to over 101mph.

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The Classic MotorCycle Issue 41-10 - October 2014

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