The Flying Corkman

Posted on 29. Aug, 2018 by in Porsche Canada

Mel Nolan is smiling. Dressed in a orderly ironed shirt with a outline of a Porsche festooned on a chest, he rises from his chair and extends his hand, a grin branch to a laugh.

“Another splash over here,” he calls to a barman, before gesturing to a lounge conflicting him. Even beside a window a light in this southern Irish pub is low, though a spotlight is about to gleam on white-haired Mel, as he heaves a complicated box adult beside him, layers of journal cuttings, aged photographs and programmes inside.

Memories brief onto a table, pinch like a forsaken container of cards, and his eyes dance as his fingers strech for a black and white print of a male sitting astride a motorbike.

Clad in leathers, his face partly dark by a helmet, is a most younger Mel. A Mel who was improved famous during a time as The Flying Corkman.

Mel Nolan, 3.2 Carrera Turbo, Ireland, 2018, Porsche AG

The Flying Corkman: Mel Nolan

In a early Eighties, Mel Nolan was one of a quickest group on earth. Aboard his “crazy, home-built motorcycle”, a industrial chemist set dual universe annals and, after induction 207mph on a speedometer, has kept a parsimonious reason of a Irish Land Speed Record for scarcely 40 years since.

“For a past 7 years I’ve been a sum Porsche left-wing though before it wasn’t like that,” says a 73-year-old. “Before that, we was a biker – and not an typical biker though one who desired to race, build new engines, do new things and rise new engineering and new products.”

Having entered – and won – his initial motorbike competition during a age of 25, Mel filled his home with dozens of hillclimbing and scurry trophies before a absolute brew of automatic oddity and aspiration propelled him into a record books. 

“The bike started off as a highway bike – a Honda 750 with a tip speed of 118mph – though my friend, Dennis Collins, and we started to work on it. Bit-by-bit a speeds built adult to 207mph an hour.

3.2 Carrera Turbo, Ireland, 2018, Porsche AG

Mel Nolan was one of a quickest group on earth

“It took some removing there – it felt like a lifetime’s work – though we had illusory fun and by a finish of 1981 we’d set a universe land speed annals for a 1,000cc bike over distances of a mile, and a kilometre. We had to lift out all a stops. we trust it was a initial turbo and nitrous motorcycle ever run in Europe.”

With 3 annals underneath his belt, Mel took a behind chair from roving and changed into an organisational role. Having grown a adore of drag racing, he put his spreading unrestrained to work, sketch crowds of 10,000 onto a streets of Ireland for a country’s initial ever drag race.

After a brief army behind in a saddle – “It was murdering me to see a Irish riders being beaten by a English, who’d been drag racing for years, so we grown a bike with nitrous oxide and rediscovered my rival streak” – Mel hung adult his leathers during a finish of a Nineties. Seven years ago, he forked his passion in a instruction of Porsche.

“I’d wanted a Porsche from a immature age and when we bought a Boxster S a few years ago we only felt totally during home. It was like sitting on my sofa, though a lounge with strange handling,” he laughs. “On a twisty roads of Ireland we could keep adult with anything, even cars with a lot some-more horsepower.”

3.2 Carrera Turbo, Ireland, 2018, Porsche AG

Mel Nolan is member of a Porsche Club of Ireland

The Boxster was followed by a 996 Turbo X50, a 3.2 turbo-bodied Carrera, and eventually a 997 Turbo. All 3 lay corresponding in his garage. All 3 benefaction a ideal forgive to be an active member of a Porsche Club of Ireland.

As organiser of a southern region, Mel’s never been busier. “Some clubs have 5 or 6 events a year; by a finish of 2018, we’ll have hold 58. The intercourse is fantastic: there’s always something to do and somewhere to go in your Porsche. We’re a really unapproachable club,” he says, indicating during his shirt where a bar trademark is stitched.

“Motorcycles are a partial of me – I’m still heavily concerned in drag racing – though there’s a lot of adore in my heart for my Porsches. It wasn’t until I’d driven one that we realised a automobile could feel like being behind on a motorcycle. They’re raw, they’re fantastic, they’re happy machines.”

As he sips his pint and wipes a stew from his tip lip, Mel’s eye falls on a new print of his 1984 Carrera on a list in front of him. Mel Nolan is smiling again.

Watch a talk here:

An talk with Mel NolanPlay

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