Over the weekend of September 26th-27th 2020 at Elvington Airfield in Yorkshire, after jumping through a few metaphorical hoops, scooter racer Keith Terry took his full-bodied Lambretta GP up the strip and set a few new FIM World Speed Records (currently subject to official ratification). Making his scooter the fastest (official) full-bodied Lambretta in the world.
Updated 23rd February
After being slowed down by Covid, the FIM have confirmed Keith Terry has indeed set four new FIM World Records. Keith is awaiting the diplomas with final speed and times but the records are for two directional runs.
We asked Keith how and why these records came about “With my scootering I have always been interested in finding somewhere or something surrounding scooters that is worth a punt. For instance, back in the good old days – when scootering was controlled by the FOBSCA. I worked out that I could win an ACU title on a scooter, so in 1992 I competed in and won the National Sprint Associations overall title. It meant I could take my scooter to the TT sprint in 1993 with the number 1 plate on! Only possible because they had a scooter class!
Before this, my first records meeting in 1991, the FIM were there but told me my scooter would not be legal for FIM records which was a shame as they had reclassed them all and there were none set, which sowed the seed…
Up to a few years ago these world record meetings were as about as common as hen’s teeth so there was no chance of having a go. But Straightliners will now run world-level events at their national record meetings if you pay the dollars required.
So the bottom line was that I built the ‘Orient Express’ – my full body GP, to ensure FIM scooter legality. I fought with the FIM to get geared scooters put back on the menu, spent loads of wonga to jump through hoops to conform and prove I was fit enough to ride up the runway at Elvington and set four FIM world records.”
took a while but made me smile” just about sums it up.”
Keith wishes to thank John Balcomb of JB Tuning for putting together the engine, Putoline Oils, AF Rayspeed (for the five-speed Clo5e gearbox, Straightliners for putting on the event, his wingman – Mikey Bonett, long-suffering wife, Bev and daughter Kirsty.
To negate the effects of head or tail winds, a World Record speed attempt is done as an average speed of two attempts taken in different directions during the event. During the weekend Keith had some epic on-track battles with fellow Lambretta sprinter, Eric Cope (we covered Eric’s 127mph flying mile a while back). Record attempts were made over the standing 1/4, flying 1/4, flying kilometre, as well as standing and flying mile. With only 1 mph separating the two riders (in less than ideal conditions for sprinting) it gave a competitive edge to proceedings. Eric took the fastest overall speed by 1 mph but only Keith would be competing for the Official World Records.
Keith is a very naughty boy!
Before Keith even got to the track he was in bother. Whilst testing his road-legal sprint scooter out locally he accidentally tried to outrun a police BMW. He told us “I was giving it large when at the last moment I spotted them concealed by other traffic in a layby. No chance to slow, so I kept going as I was turning off soon. The trouble is they had a very quick BMW. Only my youthfulness saved me”. The scooter was impounded and cost him £160 to get it released but he was lucky enough to sweet talk the nice policeman so didn’t gain any points on his licence.
Jumping through FIM hoops
You’d imagine setting a world record on a scooter would be quite straightforward, turn up, go fast against a timing device and get presented with a certificate and a place in the Guinness Book of World Records by Norris McWhirter. It’s not quite as simple as that though. Especially seeing as geared scooters were dropped from official records in favour of modern autos a couple of years back.
Keith Terry was understandably perturbed about that, so he set about trying to change things. This involved a few emails to the governing body of motorsport, the FIM. Their response was that they were just “Moving with the times” by cutting out classic scooters. Although it seemed like a mistake had been made when the regs were revised, rather than any deliberate geared scooter discrimination. Earlier this year they agreed to change the regs to include our beloved machines. ‘All’ Keith needed now was a special FIM licence to compete…
More hoop-jumping ensued, luckily this helped to get the man of a pensionable age physically fit for a set of medical tests that had to be carried out in Harley Street. The FIM medical included a stress ECG and echocardiogram. Despite being tax-exempt, 69-year-old Essex lad Keith passed his MOT with flying colours.
Then he had to sit a set of online tests, aimed more at anti-doping for Olympic athletes than they were for speedy scooter lads. Keith passed those and was issued with an FIM race licence. Next, he had to submit photos of his riding kit. Despite having a top of the range gold stamped ACU stickered Shoei, his helmet wasn’t up to the latest FIM regulations so he had to splash out on an FIM approved and hologram stickered Arai RX-7.
That’s not the end of the expense though. Although the Straightliners event he was to compete at is well recognised and respected, you can’t just use the timing cards from the event and hope to get a new official world record. The FIM officials and marshals have to be in attendance. Of course, that doesn’t come for free either. It’s a time-consuming and expensive hobby if you want a world record. Dedication, that’s what you need!
The Orient Express
The record-breaking scooter is a full-bodied Lambretta GP. It was tuned by JB Tuning using a Casa Performance SS 225 top end and long stroke crank, taking it up to 246cc. It also runs an AF Rayspeed Clo5e 5-speed gearbox, JB Tuning exhaust, 38-39mm Lectron carb and is lubricated by Putoline Oils, mixed with methanol. Although the scooter used methanol over the weekend, Keith says that’s more for its cooling properties than power gains.
Waiting for verifiication
Keith set his best speeds on Sunday with a 112.809 mph standing mile and 112.575 flying kilometre but problems with timing meant they weren’t counted. Even so, you can’t really be too upset with a 108.509 and a 110.752 standing start mile, a 13.971 second standing 1/4 mile, 112.8mph flying kilometre, or a 103.726-105.060 standing start mile.
Below are some of Keith’s timing cards from the weekend. He’s currently awaiting verification from the FIM, as soon as he gets it in writing we’ll let all you speed freaks know exactly what you need to aim for. One thing is for sure, Keith may have managed to reinstate classic scooter world records and will have claimed some records of his own but the Likes of Eric Cope will be aiming to beat him…
Photos: Keith Terry and Harvey Brewster
More details and sprint results can be found on Straightliners
A few of the weekend’s timing cards
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