Photo : - Martini Racing
Photo: The location is the high speed track at Wolfsburg (Germany) in August 1978. On the right, is Henri Pescarolo who needs no introduction. Left, is a Porsche 935 of the Martini Racing team. In the centre is Jean-Claude Rude and his bike.
The objective : To return a speed record return France, specifically the record for a bicycle ridden behind a drafting vehicle, at that time held by American Al Abbott at 223 km/h.
The action : The rider started slowly, very slowly. It takes muscle to turn the huge pedal sproket. As the bicycle picked up speed, Pescarolo then came into action. He adjusted his speed and let Rude approach the Porsche. The front wheel touched a roller integrated into the rear bumper of the car, and they were off. The 935, accelerated gently. Huddled, sheltered from wind resistance, Rude exceeded 150 km/h by pedal power alone. At 175 km/h, the tyre of the rear wheel overheated and burst violently. The bicycle wobbled and fell. It was a failure, but the rider was miraculously unharmed.
The follow-up : Henri Pescarolo returned his attention to racing. As for the Porsche 935, it went on to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans ten months later.
Post-script : "I beat the speed record for bicycle accidents! " joked Jean-Claude Rude shortly after the record attempt. Unfortunately he died before re-attempting the record with special tyres that Michelin had developed for him. The record is currently held by Fred Rompelberg who reached 268 km/h at Bonneville on the 3rd October 1995.
Photo : WOLFSBURG (ALLEMAGNE), RECORD ATTEMPT OF PAR JEAN-CLAUDE RUDE, AUGUST 1978. Jean-Claude Rude, Henri Pescarolo..