The 11th World Wheelie Championship ended on a high note after Egbert Van Popta set a new world record on his way to the title. His 213 mph (343 km/h) exit speed after a full kilometer on the back wheel was enough to edge Gary Rothwell's previous record of 210 mph (337 km/h) from last September.
Organized by the Straightliners, the eleventh edition of the World Wheelie Championship was hosted at the Elvington Airfield in Yorkshire, UK. More than 30 competitors from several countries contested the one-kilometer (0.62 mi) airstrip on their back wheel in an effort to exit with the highest possible speed.
During the last few years the event has been dominated by two champions and their turbo-charged Suzuki Hayabusas; Gary Rothwell from UK won last year, taking the title from 2014 winner Egbert Van Popta from Holland. Their duel regularly occupies the top two spots of the championship and has evolved into a world record fight.
Last September it was Rothwell who managed to set a new record of 209.822 mph (337.676 km/h), setting the stage for this year's showdown where Van Popta retaliated. He started with a 214.669 mph (345.5 km/h) attempt that was later declared invalid because his front wheel touched the ground before his motorcycle had cleared the speed sensors at the finish line. His next run would clock 213.309 mph (343.3 km/h), still enough for a shiny new world record.
Unlike last year, Rothwell couldn't achieve more than 206.049 mph (331.6 km/h) in his two runs, landing comfortably at the runner-up spot. Third place went to Cecil "Bubba" Myers from Minneapolis, who in his third participation at the Championship wheelied his Kawasaki ZX-10R to a perfectly round 197 mph (317 km/h).
Apart from the star competitors, Straightliners's events are meant to encourage the average rider to join the fun. More than 30 participants stood on the start line of the Elvington airstrip, as 15 of them managed to get their names on the official books with a complete kilometer wheelie. Among them Kimberly Davy Schyven from Holland missed out on the opportunity to become the first-ever female rider to register in the official results, as her 141.518 mph (227.7 km/h) did not count because her front wheel had touched the ground half-track.
Enjoy Van Popta's record run as captured from two cameras on board his 500+ hp Hayabusa, courtesy of Take Van Popta.
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