Elvington, North Yorkshire - What’s it like to wheelie a motorcycle at 343km/h? If you’d rather not try it yourself, check out this video of Dutch rider Egbert van Popta’s record-breaking run at the 2016 World Wheelie Championship.
Balancing only on the back wheel, Van Popta rode his turbocharged Suzuki Hayabusa to a top speed of 343.4km/h over a distance of one kilometre. That’s nearly three times the freeway speed limit!
Riding on the back wheel as fast as possible is the goal of skilled (and somewhat crazy) riders competing for the annual Wheelie World Champion title. The 12th championship is set to take place in England next weekend, with up to 30 top competitors from the USA, UK, France, Netherlands and Ireland competing for the wheelie king title at the Elvington Airfield in North Yorkshire on 19 and 20 August.
Wheelieing a bike at more than 300km/h is even more difficult than it sounds, as lifting the front wheel too high creates air pressure around the back wheel that could destabilise the motorcycle and end up in a very messy heap. The front wheel needs to be lifted as low as possible, just high enough to ensure it doesn’t touch down accidentally during the run.
Check out the onboard footage of Van Popta’s 2016 run here:
And here’s a spectator’s view of the same run: