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.Enjoy more The Classic MotorCycle reading in the monthly magazine. Click here to subscribe.