Speed Records: Cars, Trains, Bikes, Boats, and More

Speed Thrills

Here are speed records set by some of the world’s fastest-moving vehicles. Many of these vehicles were specially built, and all were operated by professionals—so don’t try this at home!


ThrustSSC at Black Rock Desert, Nevada, USA

Land car

Andy Green, behind the wheel of ThrustSSC (Super-Sonic Car), zoomed at a speed of 763.05 m.p.h. in Black Rock Desert, Nevada, on October 15, 1997. It took him only a few seconds to travel one mile.

Railed vehicle

The fastest conventional train (one built to carry passengers) is France’s TGV (tres grande vitesse, which means very great speed). On a test run in 1990, it barreled along the tracks at a top speed of 456 m.p.h. while carrying just a few cars. The record for a train on a scheduled route goes to a TGV that travels on a line from Paris to Strasbourg, in France. In 2007, it reached a top speed of 357 miles per hour.

Non-conventional vehicle

In 2003, an unmanned sled train propelled by a rocket motor traveled 6,453 m.p.h—more than eight times the speed of sound—at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.

Water-borne vehicle

In 1998, the Spirit of Australia, steered by Aussie Ken Warby, raced over the waters of Blowering Dam, Australia, at an average speed of 317.18 m.p.h. Warby not only piloted his jet-powered hydroplane but he also built it from scratch in his backyard.

Motorcycle

American Dave Campos rode Easyriders, his 23-foot-long streamliner-style motorcycle, at an average speed of 322.87 m.p.h. He sped his supercycle over the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in 1990.

Bicycle

In 1995, Fred Rompelberg of the Netherlands pedaled his way to history. The professional bicycler reached a speed of 167.04 m.p.h., also on Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats.


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