Most Legendary Motorbike Endurance Racers of All Time

Most Legendary Motorbike Endurance Racers of All Time

Adventurous motorbike riders sometimes challenge themselves to long endurance rides across difficult terrain. While many endurance riders participate in organized racing events, others travel solo across uncharted territory, paving the way for future races. Some people who pioneer long rides have established world records as the first riders to document their accomplishments. Some gain fame from their rides, joining an elite group of riders with legendary status.

Just consider a few of the most acclaimed motorbike endurance riders:

1. Nick Sanders

Briton Nick Sanders established a world record for the speed with which he rode his motorbike around the world. Sanders journeyed an incredible 19,930 miles in the amazingly brief period of just 31 days and 20 hours. He had previously circumnavigated the world four times, twice on a bicycle and twice on a motorcycle, but this was by far the fastest he had ever done it. After his record-setting performance, he formulated the Motorcycle World Challenge to blaze a path for other endurance riders.

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2. Benka Pulko

A biologist with training in massage therapy, Slovenian Benka Pulko set a Guinness World Record for completing the longest solo female motorcycle journey. In 1997, she set out to travel 111,856 miles on her motorbike over a 2,000-day ride. In addition to setting impressive records, Benka became the first woman to travel alone by bike across Saudi Arabia, and the first woman to journey on a motorbike in Antarctica. Today, you can immerse yourself in her adventure with her 220-page coffee table book filled with pictures from her journey.

3. Dave Barr

Born in 1952, Dave Barr received induction into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2000. A double amputee with two prosthetic legs due to a land mine explosion in Angola, the former military officer traveled around the world during a 3.5-year journey on a motorbike. Later, he conducted two long rides which established Guinness World Records. He completed the first (and fastest) solo motorbike journey across 9,375 miles from Le Conquet, France to Vladivostock, Russia. In 2002, he spent eight weeks riding across Australia on his bike.

4. Simon and Monika Newbound

Simon and Monika Newbound rode their motorbikes together on a trip through 54 nations during an effort to establish a new world record while raising money for a children’s hospital. Their epic journey took them across 113,700 miles and secured them the top spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.

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5. Colton Haaker

American Colton Haaker has become a spokesperson for Husqvarna Motorcycles after competing successfully in a number of formal motorbike endurance events sponsored by the Federation Internationale de Motorcyclisme (“FIM”). He has ridden his FC350 in the Endurocross, the Extreme Enduro, and the Super Enduro, becoming one of the most consistent athletes in the field.

Many of these legendary motorbike endurance enthusiasts have written about their experiences, encouraging other riders to take up the sport of long distance motorbike riding. While motorcycle endurance racing only developed as a formal racing sport recently, it appears poised to attract a growing number of participants in the future.

 

Top 5 Endurance Races in the World

Top 5 Endurance Races in the World

Endurance racing has become a popular racing genre across the spectrum of motorsports, from sport bikes to automobiles. Here we’ll look at five of the top endurance races in the world:

 1. Bol d’Or

The first and most famous of endurance races began at the Bol D’Or in 1922 and featured bikers who rode nonstop for 24 hours, breaking neither for gas nor meals. Its first champion, Tony Zind, covered a total of 1245.63 kilometers on a 500cc Motosacoche. Today’s races are now split between teams of 3, with the record currently held by a Suzuki’s 1999 team. The event has become a popular stage for brands like Honda and Kawasaki to demonstrate the sheer power and ability of amazing racing machines.

Teams in the Bol d'Or race for 24 hours straight in an endurance race that tests both man and machine.
Teams in the Bol d’Or race for 24 hours straight in an endurance race that tests both man and machine.

Although featured over the decades at various prominent tracks throughout France, recently completed renovations at the circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet have returned motorsport competitors to what many believe is the rightful home of the Bol D’Or. Paul Ricard was host to this historical race for years leading up to its closing in 1978, but new reconstruction has promised now bigger, better track conditions.

2. 24 Hours of Le Mans

This event has been a spectacle for racing fans since 1923, making it the oldest active sports car race in the world. Its unique focus on the endurance of not only the driver but also the condition and fuel economy of the vehicle itself has earned it the nickname “Gran Prix of Endurance and Efficiency”. Competitors on the Circuit de la Sartha attempt to navigate this 5,233-kilometer route in sports cars capable of maintaining minimal mechanical damage despite a full day’s worth of constant top speed action.

3. 24 Hours of Liege

The original racing track at Spa-Francorchamps featured just under 10 miles of scenic raceway marked with steep inclines, sharp turns, and public roads marked with dangerous obstacles that made the 24 Hours of Liege endurance race infamous. Numerous competitors died crashing into walls, houses, and various markers throughout the towns. Finally, the circuit was deemed too treacherous and was closed. In later years, due to growing interest and demand, a newly modified version of the track was opened. Racers now compete on a shorter map, equally intense but substantially less deadly.

4. Suzuka 8 Hour

In 1978, the racing world welcomed the Suzuka 8 Hours Endurance Road Race. Because it required no international racing license, high numbers of motorcycle manufacturers from around the world entered to compete and display their powerful new racing machines. In early years, most manufacturers would form racing teams of high caliber riders to compete, allowing the Suzuka 8 Hour to become one of the fastest paced, high speed endurance races of all time. European interest in the event has waned in recent years, but thousands of ecstatic motorbike enthusiasts still appear to support their favorite racers.

The Suzuka 8 Hour has captured the attention of speed-loving fans since 1978.
The Suzuka 8 Hour has captured the attention of speed-loving fans since 1978.

5. Albacete 8 Hours

Southeast of Madrid, endurance racing championships take on an all new form. The Albacete circuit is significantly shorter than the lengthy day long challenges of the previously mentioned competitions, but the skill and talent involved is no less striking. This race is filled with short 50-minute bursts of intense high-speed racing that delivers intense competition.