Still riding high
Jason Swan has nothing left to prove. The laid-back Papakura engine tuning specialist helped build the world's fastest motorcycle but he's not shouting it from the rooftops.
"When you're on the way up you beat your drum but when you get your goal you don't need to any more.
"And that's what happened to us. On the way there I had something to prove and I wanted people to know what we were doing and it became really evident when we broke the record and got our goal.
"Then I didn't feel like we needed to do anything any more because we'd got what we wanted to do."
Mr Swan is chief engineer of the A-Ward Racing Team, a small Kiwi outfit with a penchant for speed.
The team's modified 1350 Suzuki Hayabusa set the Federation Internationale De Motocyclisme (FIM) world record of 261mph - 420.429kmh - for an open class motorcycle on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.
The team, sponsored by Auckland demolition company A-Ward Attachments and including Australian-based Kiwi rider Richard Assen, has amassed a swag of speed records at Bonneville since 2007 but the overall open class crown proved elusive.
Mr Swan reckons they could've gone another 10mph faster.
"It's tough out there. The weather's crap at times and the track's slippery. I reckon we could've added another 10mph had it not rained three days earlier."
From a builder's point of view he's especially proud of how team members "worked their guts out" improving their times on each trip.
"The main thing for me is it was done safely and we never blew a motor because we didn't have the money to blow.
"We learnt heaps but getting the job done is the main thing.
"You see guys out there mucking around until the cows come home and not getting anywhere so they'd pack up but there's nowhere for us to go - we can't pack up and go home.
"We have to make it work," he says.
Team sponsor Simon Ward says it's still "pretty cool" to have the record 12 months after breaking it.
"It's always been a boyhood dream to be the fastest.
"We set the bar pretty high and I can't see anyone breaking it for a while," he says.
The news of their world record status went under the radar at a time when New Zealand was engulfed in Rugby World Cup mania.
"We learnt a lot about media in New Zealand - unless it's a ball or a bat they don't want to know about it. It didn't help that we broke this right on the Rugby World Cup."
The guys have talked about "building something from scratch" to reach for 300mph but are having a break.
"The next step will be a large chunk of money and building something from scratch will be a lot more risk as well," Mr Ward says.
Mr Swan is back in the Papakura workshop and reluctant to make any commitments for now.
"Like the old guys say out on the salts ‘It was a bloody good ride'," he zays.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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