This Motorcycle Runs on Vodka and it Held a Land Speed Record for Three Days
A 1980 Yamaha XS650, found abandoned in a field in a non-running condition, was modified by 41-year old Ryan Montgomery based in Montana into a machine that briefly held a land speed record.
This 1980 Yamaha XS650 brieflye held a land speed record set at the Bonneville Salt Flats. (Image Courtesy: Facebook/Montgomery Distillery)
You might have heard that the greatest inventions were made in makeshift home garages and that saying has been proved yet again. A 1980 Yamaha XS650, found abandoned in a field in a non-running condition, was modified by 41-year old Ryan Montgomery based in Montana into a machine that briefly held a land speed record.
Hand-built and ridden by Ryan, who attended the Springbank Whiskey School in Scotland, is the owner of Montgomery Distillery. He is reported to have decided to give land speed racing a go last year and modified the Yamaha to run on the ‘head’ that is produced during the vodka distilling process and is discarded as it is not fit for drinking. However, this ‘head’ also makes for a clean-burning fuel – something that the bike was modified to run on. The fact that Ryan had never raced or built a racing motorcycle did not deter him from his goals.
The motorcycle that took shape was named ‘Sudden Wisdom’ named after the distiller's rye whiskey brand.
It took months to master the technique with the help of Ryan’s friends and help from sponsors which helped Ryan reportedly gather $1000 towards the project, which is said to have cost about $5000 in total.
The testing ground for the Sudden Wisdom was the iconic Bonneville Salt Flats which is known for being the home for several land speed records. The amateur race team competed in the class for 1980 and older 750c modified bikes that run on alternative fuel. And while the speed achieved during road tests was 96 mph, Ryan was aiming at a speed of 98 mph which was the record set back in 2016.
However, the motorcycle far exceeded the target by achieving an average speed of 113 mph and broke the land speed for its class. The speed was then surpassed by another entrant with a 1974 Honda CB750 three days later who achieved an average speed of a whopping 143 mph.
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