The 67 year old man you see pictured above is Eric Patterson and he’s been a lover of motorcycles since before you or I were born. 2013 is his fifth consecutive year at the Bonneville Salt Flats attending the BUB Speed Trials, he’s retired the vintage Norton/JAP he took to the first 4 events and now has a custom built Brough Superior that was specially prepared by ex-Formula One engineer Alastair Gibson.
Gibson (formerly of the BAR-Honda Team) built the Brough specifically as a land-speed record contender, it’s been fitted with a hand-beaten aluminium fairing, a slipstreamed rear cowling, board-tracker handlebars, high-speed tires and an engine that’s been rebuilt to put out far more power than the original.
Eric is hoping to reach the 140mph mark this year, up from his previous record of 124.98mph with a best one way official speed of 127.07mph. His longterm aim is to top 200mph, a feat that’ll require a full fairing, further engine modifications, frame strengthening and suspension tweaks.
No article about a respectable gentleman at Bonneville would be complete without a mention of Burt Munro, a man who is now remembered as the unofficial patron saint of slat flat racers. It’s deeply reassuring to see men like Eric out on the sodium, it gives us all hope for a future without Zimmer frames, petunia gardening or retirement homes.
Click here to read more about Eric and Brough Superior’s recent exploits in Utah.
All images by Gary S. France.
Ben has had his work featured on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, and many more.
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