Record try with a Porsche 935

Posted on 07. Aug, 2018 by in Porsche Canada

To float a bike during full speed in a slipstream of a automobile or motorcycle. Such was a fad about these speed annals that, during a finish of a 19th century, they exercised an outrageous mindfulness over spectators and courageous drivers alike. After a Frenchman José Meiffret became a initial chairman to transcend 200 kilometres per hour (204.778 km/h) in 1962 behind a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL on a German motorway, a American medicine Dr. Allan Abbott, a.k.a. “The Flying Doctor”, lifted a bar once again on Aug 25, 1973: Against a considerable backdrop of a Bonneville Salt Flats in a USA, he reached a speed of 223.466 km/h behind a 1955 Chevrolet.

In 1978, these annals also fuelled a aspiration of Jean-Claude Rude, a veteran lane cyclist during a time. The afterwards 23-year-old had dedicated himself to achieving a extensive speed of 240 km/h on a bicycle and all his appetite into posterior this goal.

To this end, a conduct of Rude’s cycle group contacted their French compatriot Henri Pescarolo – one of a many distinguished and successful racing drivers of a 1970s whose name, after 33 appearances and 4 victories, still evokes many memories of mythological Le Mans races. Pescarolo, who was primarily distrustful of this great initial arrangement, was eventually won over by Jean-Claude Rude’s enthusiasm. 

The usually thing blank now was a comprehensive car, that is where Porsche came into play. An 800-hp 935 Turbo from a Martini Racing team, with an inventive roof construction propitious generally for this record attempt, was accurately a right automobile to offer as pacemaker for a universe record bid. A trapezoidal shade spanned a behind of a Porsche to safeguard limit slipstream. Even with this additional structure, a Porsche 935 had sufficient energy to grasp a preferred speed.

A drum along a length of a fender authorised a front circle of Jean-Claude Rude’s bike to effectively “stick” to a behind of a Porsche 935, creation certain that he stayed right in a slipstream. The bicycle used was no typical model, either. The front gearwheel was roughly a same edge as a front wheel, while a behind gearwheel was usually around dual centimetres in diameter. With a holder series of around 110 centimetres, a bike had an unusually vast rigging ratio – Rude was means to cover a widen of adult to 27 meters per sequence ring revolution. However, this also meant that, in sequence to get going, a bike had to be pushed by a motorcycle with a lance, as a cyclist alone could not beget sufficient power. 


Jean-Claude Rude, Henri Pescarolo, l-r, Porsche 935 Turbo Martini, Ehra-Lessien, 1978, Porsche AG

Jean-Claude Rude and a racing motorist Henri Pescarolo

While a prior record attempts by Meiffret and Abbott had been hold on prolonged straights (Meiffret rode on an unprepared motorway in Germany, Abbott on a Bonneville Salt Flats), Pescarolo and Rude came adult opposite formidable conditions. Competing on a motorway, as was primarily planned, was not possible.

The Volkswagen exam lane in Ehra-Lessien nearby Wolfsburg offering an alternative, though also presented additional challenges: “We realised true divided that it would be difficult”, recalls Henri Pescarolo. “There was a dilemma during a commencement and during a finish of a straights.” Conditions that would make starting some-more difficult. Jean-Claude Rude had to build adult speed gradually on his bike, though during a same time, a Porsche had to expostulate solemnly adequate to safeguard that Rude remained in a slipstream. Not such an easy charge with an 800-hp turbo engine.

This meant there was a outrageous volume of vigour on Henri Pescarolo behind a circle of a Porsche. “His life was in my hands”, says a now 75-year-old, looking back. Rude had to rest on him to find a ideal starting speed, control a acceleration of a Porsche 935’s turbo and make certain that Jean-Claude Rude remained in a wind-protected zone.

At 10:30 am on Wednesday, Aug 23, 1978, a try gets underway. After a integrate of warm-up attempts, a twin manages to get going on a straight. Jean-Claude Rude is given a pull start by a motorcycle regulating a pierce and can now start his sprint. “He had implausible energy in his legs to get a bike going and afterwards find his rhythm. He was a veteran lane cyclist, he knew a bid involved, though for anyone else it would have been a superhuman feat”, says Pescarolo.

Jean-Claude Rude accelerates, pedalling quick and, as a Porsche patron repository Christophorus reported during a time, “at a speed of 150 km/h, he exits a high bank on a roller, now he can build adult to a aim speed of 240 km/h on a seven-kilometre widen to a measuring section”. Pescarolo in a 935 is only starting to gradually build adult speed, when it happens: Rude loses control of his bike. The behind tubular tyre breaks divided from a edge with a jerk, apropos caught between a circle and a frame. The circle thatch and a edge flies opposite a carriageway.

Pescarolo: “We were intensely relieved that zero happened to him”

Rude manages to recover control of a skidding bike “like a skier” and slip opposite a lane on a rim, until he loses speed and comes to a stop after a few hundred metres, though injury.

“That was a finish of a record attempt, though we were intensely relieved that zero happened to him”, recalls Pescarolo. There would never be another try during a record as Jean-Claude Rude died in a comfortless collision a following year.

Fred Rompelberg now binds a comprehensive speed record on a bicycle

Dutchman Fred Rompelberg now binds a comprehensive speed record on a bicycle. Like Allan Abbott, he attempted a record on a Bonneville Flats, and in 1995 achieved a speed of 268.8 kilometres per hour.

Nevertheless, a Porsche 935 Turbo Martini stays one of a many superb and energetic gait vehicles in a story of cycling records. The indication – reduction a behind construction – took a feat in Le Mans in 1979 and won a International Championship for Makes 4 times in a row.

Learn some-more about a record try in Episode 7 of a 9:11 magazine.

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