Cook’s Top Oil Land Speed Shootout – Day One
In the first official day of competition at Cook’s Top Oil Land Speed Shootout in Uyuni, Bolivia is in the books, and the first FIM World Record of the event has been claimed. Ralph Hudson piloted his Suzuki GSX-R1000-powered partially streamlined motorcycle to a new FIM World Record* of 292 mph (469 km/h). Hudson succeeded in breaking his own record, which was set nearly a year prior at the Salar de Uyuni at 284.361 mph (457.635 km/h).
Despite the feat, Hudson admits he is not satisfied with the record as he was aiming for speeds north of 300 mph, and is struggling with tire issues.
“I was hoping to go faster. And I think the bike will,” said Hudson. “We had a few issues. The track this year is a lot wetter. It’s a lot like a Bonneville track whereas last year we were so impressed; it was like white asphalt. I did a run last year at 289 mph (465 km/h) and it was one of the easiest runs I’ve ever made. And today I did 292 mph and it was like riding a rodeo out there! There were some cross winds and the tires spinning… I had to work for it.
“I think about a month ago they had six inches of snow here. And I think it’s still with us. Salt is known for absorbing moisture so I think it’s really hard to get it to dry out.”
As Hudson predicted prior to the opening day of the event, tires are his weakest link. It’s easy to understand how tires could suffer under the power of a 375-horsepower machine (yes, Hudson’s GSX-R1000 engine cranks out a whopping 375 hp!) and today’s runs each consumed a brand new rear Dunlop. “They don’t actually make a land-speed tire for a motorcycle to go this speed and on my two runs we ruined a rear tire on each of the runs,” Hudson explained. But his hopes remain high for the remaining days of the meet.
“I’m hoping actually, even if it’s still wet, if there isn’t any breeze it will be a lot easier to make the runs. Just another eight miles an hour—that’s all I ask! [laughs] We’re hopeful. I think it’s a trait common to all racers. We always think that tomorrow can be better.”
Friday’s proceedings were opened by Erin Sills, who made the first official pass of the meet aboard “Woodstock,” her partially streamlined BMW S 1000 RR. As with the Top of the World Land Speed Trial in 2017, Sills was the first to trip the timing lights in Bolivia. Like Hudson, however, Sills is still searching for more speed. Her “shakedown runs” reached over 200 mph, but did not quite meet the mark she and the Hunter Sills team were aiming for. They plan to utilize the remaining days of the event to work on reaching their goal of over 222 mph (357 km/h).
The Top 1 Oil Akatiff team spent the day finalizing prep work on the Ack Attack streamliner, and going through FIM Technical inspection. At the end of the day, riders Rocky Robinson and Alex Harvill both successfully performed their cockpit exit drills (FIM rules state that streamliner riders must be able to exit under their own power in less than 30 seconds). It now leaves only one thing left for the Akatiff team to do: race! On Saturday, July 14, the Top 1 Oil Ack Attack will take to the track and aim for 400 mph.
*All records pending FIM ratification
Text and Pictures Jean Turner, FIM