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Robinson dashes to world record

Former Northern California Speedway champion breaks the two-wheel land speed world record for the third time
By: Joshua Ansley Journal Sports Writer
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Two tires failed, fifth and sixth gear went out, and an entire day was wasted changing a motor. Everyone witnessing the three-day Locktight World Land Speed Shootout at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah figured Rocky Robinson and his two-wheel land speed team were done. They were wrong. On Sept. 25, the third day of what is commonly referred to as the Super Bowl of land speed racing, Robinson and the Top 1 Ack Attack team broke the two-wheel world land speed record, going an average speed of 376 miles per hour. He did it using just four gears. The previous record of 367mph was obliterated after Robinson reached 394 mph on his second run. Since the record must include the average of two runs completed in a two-hour time span, Robinson’s 376 mph stands as the record. But nearly breaking the 400-mile mark was something special. Robinson hopes his team will be the first to break it someday. “I think the 400-mph mark is the next milestone,” Robinson said. “No one expected we could get up to 394 mph, but the conditions were just perfect. That doesn’t happen very often.” Robinson previously broke the two-wheel record. His first world record was set back in 2006 as he became the first person to beat Dave Campos’ record of 322 mph – a record that stood untouched for 16 years. Unfortunately, Robinson’s new record of 349 mph did not have the same life span, and was broken shortly thereafter. In an attempt to win back the record in 2007, he crashed while going over 300 mph. He was lucky enough to walk away. Not everyone has been. Robinson said he’s seen competitors lose their lives on the flats. In 2008 one man was killed following a crash. That same year, a driver had to be life-lifted away after a crash that took place the run just before Robinson set his second world-record going 361 mph. He said that the danger of the sport does cross his mind as he prepares to rocket himself over the salt flats, but once he’s going his focus becomes so concentrated on what he’s doing there is little room for fear. “I’ve never let my fears control my life,” he said. “It’s a very calculated risk. You just have to accept that it’s dangerous and things can go wrong.” So far it’s worked out for Robinson, who said the team has already started talking about reaching 400. He promised his wife this last record would be his last, but he added the team will have a year to try and convince him to give it another go. The Top 1 Ack Attack team will need him. Owner and bike designer Mike Ackitiv said that Robinson is essential to the team’s success. He added that not just anyone can get in the machine and handle it. He added that it takes a driver with a lot of experience and past success. He said that the team knew Robinson was their guy after testing him in 2006. “We followed him on the run, and noticed afterward that he was balancing the thing at a dead stop,” Ackitiv said. “That’s when we knew he was our guy. There are only a few people in the world who have the experience steering. He has excellent balance and he’s not afraid to turn it on.” As for the team’s record setting day after overcoming so many obstacles along the way, he said it could not have been more incredible. “It was a fairy-tale ending,” Ackitiv said. Up Close: Rocky Robinson Hometown: Grew up in Salinas Valley Family: (Wife) Tricia (Children) Kristen, Mario, Ryan Works for: Auburn Toyota Author: “Flat Out: The Race for the Motorcycle world land speed record” For more information on Rocky Robinson visit www.rocky-robinson.com