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Ducati lined up for motorbike speed record

Tauranga company director Paul Heard lines up Ducati for his $2m attempt on the world production motorbike speed record.

At Sunday’s Cliffhanger Flying Mile in Carterton, Paul Heard missed New Zealand’s 302 kph motorcycle speed record on his turbo-charged 1000cc Suzuki.

“On test runs I’ve had the Suzuki well ahead of the New Zealand record, however on Sunday’s first run of 280 kph I wasn’t getting the full 250 brake horse power from the turbo Suzuki. I was naturally disappointed not to capture the record, but when you’re pushing technology to its limits, everything has to come together perfectly to reach those speeds.

“My focus is now fully on the Ducati and my year-long programme to successively break the faster world production motorcycle speed record.”

In November, Heard and his 10-strong support team will embark on a year-long, world tour to progressively keep breaking the 311 kph world production motorcycle record on a Ducati Desmosedici RR. Heard’s first attempt will be 9 November at Featherston in the South Wairarapa, after which he and his team will travel to Dubai, Bahrain and South Africa before returning to New Zealand in December. In 2009 Heard has confirmed appearances in Australia for the Melbourne GP, then Japan before travelling to the United Kingdom where he will appear on the television show Fifth Gear. Heard will then tour Europe, including a stop in Italy, the home of Ducati. Heard will then carry on to the United States for an interview with Jay Leno before finishing at the famous Speedweek on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in August 2009.

“Sunday’s run on the open class turbo Suzuki was an attempt to capture the New Zealand speed record before switching to the Ducati to re-break the record. I’m now aiming for a double-header in November when I want to smash the New Zealand open record on my way to capturing the 311 kph world production bike speed record. After the first Ducati run on 9 November in Featherston, my world tour begins,” says Heard.

“I’m going to travel around the world, attempting to progressively capture country speed records while continually bettering the world record.

“If all goes according to plan, by August 2009 I will have set at least ten country speed records and in each country reset the world production motorcycle speed record.”

Heard’s need for speed is driven by the kiwi dream to take on the world, and the 46-year-old company director has already captured the imagination of leading international news companies, including CNN, BBC2, and ABC. The Discovery Channel is making a documentary about Heard’s world record attempts, and covered this weekend’s Cliffhanger Promotions Flying Mile at Carterton as part of the build up to the production-class record. A budget of $2m has been set for the year-long tour, with Heard invited to perform record-breaking speed trials at a number of international motor events. Heard is also scheduled to conduct a speed trial on Dubai’s new runway when they open the world’s largest airport mid 2009.

Additional Information

Christchurch-born Paul Heard is a company director and software developer based in Tauranga. Heard has 20-years involvement in the New Zealand racing industry, and is the owner and manager of MV Agusta Motorsport which races in the New Zealand super bike circuit..

On Sunday 21 September, at the Cliffhanger Promotions Flying Mile in Carterton, Heard ran an open-class, 250 brake horse power, 1000cc turbo-charged Suzuki. For the Cliffhanger Flying Mile the rider has a 4km approach run before entering the quarter mile “box” where the average speed is clocked using electronic timing gear. The rider then repeats the run in the opposite direction with the average speed of the two runs used as the official result for the trial.

Heard has now switched attention to a production Ducati Desmosedici RR for the world record attempt on 9 November in Featherston. The Desmosedici RR is closely modelled on Casey Stoner’s 2007 championship winning MotorGP, and with a limited 1500 manufactured, Heard has the backing and support of Ducati to break the world record. With the bike performing at continuous full power for 5km over each run, Heard will rely on specially-designed tyres from Bridgestone which have been developed to perform at extreme speeds over prolonged distances. The current world production motorcycle speed record of 311 kph was set by an American riding a MV Agusta in Bonneville, Utah.


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