World Superbike Champ's All-British Bid For Motorcycle World Land Speed Record

4 December 2012

Land speed bike at University workshop

(Left to right) Steve Hill, University of Derby Programme Leader for Motorsport Engineering; James Toseland and record attempt project head, Alex Macfadzean, with the motorcycle streamliner at the University workshops.

James Toseland

James Toseland tries out the motorcycle streamliner cockpit for size.

Double World Superbike Champion, James Toseland, has launched a UK attempt to break the official world motorcycle land speed record - aiming to achieve a speed of at least 400mph.

On a tour of the University of Derby's Motorsport engineering workshops yesterday (December 3), James saw and heard about the motorcycle streamliner project aiming to break the current official Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) record of 376.363, held by American Rocky Robinson.

The all-British team's record attempt - scheduled to take place at the globally famous Bonneville Salt Flats, in the USA, in September 2014 - is being led by former GP and TT sidecar racer, Alex Macfadzean. Alex is an engine development and dyno specialist, a former holder of the British bike land speed record, and the first UK record over 200mph.

His project will be heavily supported by staff and students on the University of Derby's Motorsports courses, among the best in the UK.

Steve Hill, Programme Leader for the University's FdEng and BEng (Hons) Motorsport Engineering programmes, is already leading a team looking at design elements for the record attempting bike; with the assistance of student Project Engineers Andrew Menzies, Sam Smith and Dan Bates.

Given the long lead times, the technical specifications for the machine are being kept firmly under wraps.

Commenting on the all-British project, James said: "I am hugely excited about this record attempt but I'm under no illusions as to how difficult it will be. I've been racing motorcycles for most of my life but this means learning a completely new technique in order to pilot the motorcycle streamliner.

"The team involved with the project are amazing and really know their stuff, so I know I'm in safe hands in terms of the development. We've been in discussions about this for several months, but at the University of Derby's workshops I sat in the cockpit of the machine for the first time, so it now all seems very real.

"If successful, this will be a fantastic personal achievement but also a great accolade to bring back to the UK."

Speaking on behalf of the team, Robin Richardson, said "We are very fortunate to have such a skilled and experienced professional as James in the hot seat. Record breaking is a team endeavour with years of effort necessary before the vehicle ever turns a wheel. But when all the research and build work is complete, it's James who will take our collective knowledge, experience and ambitions into the cockpit with him.

"We couldn't have anybody better to do that as part of the team. We have been equally fortunate to secure the partnership with the University of Derby.

"It's often said that young people in the UK aren't interested in engineering, but here is a department and a group of students proving the opposite. Many of them are destined for careers in top level motorsport which shows that engineering is anything but dull."

For further information about the motorcycle streamliner project and James Toseland please contact Rebecca Brocklesby on 01652 680060 or email:

For further press information about the University of Derby's involvement in the project and its Motorsports courses please contact Sean Kirby, University Press and PR Officer, on 01332 591891 or email:

Use of personal data

Our policy is to only use the data you supply to us for use in regard to the work of the University of Derby. We do not pass on your data to any other third party under any circumstances.

© Copyright University of Derby 2014 | Accessibility | Privacy and cookies | Disclaimer | About us as a charity | Company information | Staff admin