The Fastest Rider on Earth.

Many years ago, I rode a beaten-up 1995 Yamaha V-Max, I didn’t have the guts to go full throttle, but even though the front wheel insisted on not touching the pavement in first and second gear, and by the time when I shifted to third, the speedo was showing me 160 km/h. For me, that was it, that was my “need for speed” on a motorcycle. When I jumped off the bike, my hands were shaken and my heart was racing like crazy.

That is why it is kinda complicated for me to wrap my head around the idea of closing the quarter mile on a drag strip in less than 5 secs, and well above 400 km/h… in two wheels. That is absolutely insane, but it is true. Let me tell you about it.

From September 8 through 11, 2022, the iconic Santa Pod Raceway in Northamptonshire, England, hosted the FIM Euro Finals drag racing. Any weekend at the drag strip is exciting, but when you see the world “finals” on the title of the event, be prepared for a whole lot more.

The Euro Finals is a mega event, featuring more than 250 race teams from all over Europe and a bunch of different attractions to entertain all the gear heads. But this weekend was even more special, the people who were there had the privilege to witness a new world record.

On Saturday, the 10th, the legendary French rider Eric “Rocketman” Teboul set a new personal record when he achieved a staggering quarter-mile time of 5.066 seconds, racing at 263.52 mph (424.09 km/h), riding his rocket-powered motorcycle. It was an incredible achievement, but for him, it wasn’t enough. He knew he could go faster.

On the next day, Teboul was back again at the starting line, with one goal in mind, to bring his time below 5 secs. The crowd that packed the stands waited in absolute silence while the Rocketman was getting ready for launching. When the green light flashed, he went down the strip like a missile on two wheels.

When Eric Teboul crossed the finish line, a new world record had been created. He became the world’s fastest motorcycle rider on the quarter mile, clocking 4.976 seconds, at an unreal speed of 290.51 miles per hour (464.81 km/h).

Eric promised his fans he would retire after this weekend but we all know how hard it is for a daredevil to hang his helmet. But one thing is for sure, if he is really quitting the drag strip, he is doing it like a king.

Usually, people involved with drag racing have mixed feelings about a vehicle that is not powered by something with pistons going up and down inside an engine block. Jet cars are a good example since they are mostly for “showing” rather than “going”, but Teboul’s bike is a totally different kind of beast. While jet cars are powered by aircraft engines, that bike is powered by a rocket engine, burning a mix of hydrogen peroxide fuel.

In the background you can see the “Rocketman”, taking care of his fans.

The best ideas are the simple ones and that is the case with this bike. Eric’s machine is gorgeous, with a frame made of chrome-moly tubes, partially covered with fiberglass, intentionally showing the rocket engine.

While jet engines have to suck air, compress it, mix with fuel, and then burn it to produce thrust, rocket engines burn a mix of fuel and oxidizer inside the combustion chamber, generating thrust when the hot gases leave the chamber through a nozzle (or nozzles). The power a rocket engine produces is instantaneous, making it a perfect choice for the drag strip. There is no connection between the engine and the wheels.

It is such a shame that the gear heads in North America don’t know much about the Hot Rod and drag racing scene in Europe. I must confess that it was only when I started to follow the blog Butterflies to Dragsters, that I got more informed about it.

Do yourself a favor and check it out, it is an amazing British photo blog about, you guessed it, butterflies and dragsters. Check out some cool pics about the Euro Finals 2022:

Published by Rubens Junior

Passionate about classic cars, motorcycles, airplanes, and watches.

3 thoughts on “The Fastest Rider on Earth.

  1. Rubens, that is a great post!
    Eric (we will always call him ‘The Mad Frenchman’) revealed he achieved that time and speed by adding another litre of fuel. While that’s all well and good he relies only on ‘conventional’ braking, no ‘chutes. The 1/2 mile shutdown at the Pod is only just long enough and photos from the top end showed Eric had just entered the field but was ok. His crew said the air pressure crossing the line had caused him to be lifted slightly so he could not operate the brakes effectively!
    I have seen him run on many occasions over the years, each has been a thrill. Now he has broken the 4 second barrier I hope he keeps his word and retires, you never know when your luck runs out.
    Thanks for the shout out too. Regards B.

    Liked by 1 person

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