Auburn Family

Charlie Van Valkenburgh :: AU Alum's Land Speed Motorcycle Record

...word came last week that Huntsville's Charlie VanValkenburgh ('80 Industrial Design) was on the cusp of setting a record in the 1000cc P-P motorcycle class, (at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah)...

VanValkenburgh, 55, is the president of Pit Bull Products, Inc., a motorcycle accessories company he started a dozen years ago after working on the International Space Station for Boeing. He's been going out to the Flats - for the uninitiated, it's a densely packed, wide-open salt pan that allows for some serious speeds - since 2009.

On Tuesday (Aug. 14th), VanValkenburgh sent his BMW S1000RR hurtling across the salt at 198.465 mph. That in itself broke the old record of 197.116, but for it to become official, he had to back it up Wednesday.

VanValkenburgh was unable to do so, forcing him to restart the entire process Thursday. It didn't happen then, either, sending him into the last day of the annual Speed Week without much of a chance.

Down to his final try, VanValkenburgh came up huge Friday (Aug. 17th), going 199.326 in his morning run. He then successfully backed it up with a speed of 197 and change a few hours later to give him the record at 198.2 mph.

"It's an unbelievable feeling," VanValkenburgh said just a few hours after his final run. "I went out there in a pretty negative frame of mind after all of the runs we'd made and it being the last day. (But) it's a magical place."  -  Source: Huntsville Times / - Read the full story.



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Tags: Alumni, Land Speed Record, Motorcycle


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