Essex man breaks cycling speed record

19 August 2019, 09:07 | Updated: 19 August 2019, 09:08

Record holder Neil Campbell

A daredevil from North Essex has set a new cycling speed record of more than 174mph on a £15,000 bike released from the back of a Porsche as it hurtled down a runway.

Architect Neil Campbell, 45, broke the previous record of 167mph using an elongated, custom-built bike based on the design of a tandem.

He achieved the fastest bicycle speed in a slipstream (male) record at Elvington Airfield in North Yorkshire on Saturday, beating the previous mark set by a Dutch rider in 1995.

Mr Campbell, from Little Horkesley, was pulled along the two-mile track by the powerful Porsche Cayenne, then released so he went through the timing gate under his own power.

He was timed at 174.33mph after going through the 200-metre speed trap on the machine which was built by Moss Bikes using 3D printed components and parts from a motocross bike.

The Porsche had a large attachment on the rear which affected its aerodynamics, punching a hole through the air for Mr Campbell to cycle in.

He said: "I am thrilled and relieved, the team worked amazingly well."

Preparations had gone badly with poor weather on Friday, and a practice run fell 20mph short of the record, but conditions improved on the day and a tailwind helped.

Changing the aerodynamics of the car was a balance, as it decreased the 4x4's top speed, but reduced wind resistance when the bike was released.

Mr Campbell laughed: "Porsche spend millions testing their cars in a wind tunnel and we stick a big Tupperware box on the back of it!"

Desperation to break the record meant he ditched a parachute designed to help him to brake quickly before the end of the airfield, because it was causing turbulence.

But he did wear the latest kangaroo-skin protective suit which inflates in the event of a crash.

His next challenge will be to try to reach 220mph next year on a six-mile track at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, USA.

He said: "This has been a five-year programme and the record was the culmination of one part of it.

"We have been bound by finances and budgeted to do what we can. Our plan is now to go to Bonneville and use a longer test track."