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Come and hit the 300mph limit

Like the adventurers who have discovered new horizons, there are others who manage to touch another world, ephemeral and wonderful, where time stands still, as if suspended in another dimension.

This is Rick Pearson’s experience trying to become a member of the legendary Bonneville club of 300, which obliges him to break a land speed record at over 300 mph, or 482.8 km/h. As he puts it: “To become only the 7th Briton in the club of 300 would be a real honour as the top 6 were Sir Malcolm and Donald Campbell, John Cobb, Capt Eyston, Richard Noble and of course, the fastest man on earth, Andy Green. A company of legends! ”

Dressed in his inimitable smoking certified top fuel with seven layers of Nomex, it was aboard the “Flower of Scotland”, entered in the ultimate Streamliner category, where Rick lived this experience. The magnificently lunar landscape of Bonneville (Utah) Salt Lake, hosts this unique event one week a year in summer, when the water recedes and leaves a bare ground, virgin and devoid of all life, ideal for breaking speed records.


The vehicle, built lengthwise to optimize air penetration, is powered by a 1000 cc Kawasaki Ninja ZX11 engine. The whole system grafted with a turbo and fuelled with methanol to reach 11,000 rpm, by developing more than 500 hp for 400 kg. The machine is cooled in a simple and efficient, even archaic way, with a lot of ice cubes poured into it. When they melt, the water is reused to cool the chain, in order to save it from melting and welding itself. And to prevent the fire, the methanol flame of which is invisible to the eye, the racing driver has an infrared camera that projects an image of the engine compartment into the cockpit. Also, two oil and coolant temperature indicators complete the danger detection kit. In this case, the driver will be able to rely only on two levers releasing the parachutes, and on three fire extinguisher buttons. If it is indeed a fire and if he has time to activate them. Or that the toxic fumes of methanol don’t go to his head and make him hallucinate with pink elephants, as happened during one of his previous trials.

At this speed, the senses are severely tested. The field of vision is drastically reduced, and the noise of the free exhaust engine literally cuts you off from the outside world. The front wheels, devoid of tires to cut a furrow in the ground, generate enormous vibrations which also affect the perception of colours, until they fully disappear. The whole run is done entirely by sliding on a layer of salt, unstable and inconstant about 25 to 70 cm thick, which never allows you to find the grip. Also, “pressure ridges” are created on the surface, between the enormous salt crystals compressed against each other. When preparing for the track, these ripples give way to crevices, which add even more vibration. The racing driver is then extremely requested to correct all the deviations caused by the runway and by the winds. From 400 km/h, it is the consciousness which is no longer able to provide the reflexes necessary for piloting. Rick then advises you to keep accelerating, to forget the danger and to fully surrender to automatic reflexes, which can take over and keep you alive.

All which is left to you is your body and the sensations it gives you, compressed in a narrow metal box 56 cm wide, reaching a maximum of 268.358 miles/h (432.30 km/h). And this, by being suspended a few centimetres above the ground. At this moment, the slightest mechanical anomaly, the slightest piloting error, and the vehicle instantly disintegrates. Do you think it’s madness? No doubt! But above all, a moment of magic, of ultimate concentration, of fusion between a man and a vehicle, where time stops at the border of 300 mph.

As the parachute opens, Rick puts his second foot on the accelerator to make sure he doesn’t make the fatal mistake of applying engine brake at this crucial moment. He then lifts each finger one by one from the steering wheel in an intense effort, to finally jump on the parachute lever, yet only a few centimetres from the steering wheel. The package is expelled, bounces on the ground and then suddenly opens, making the rear of the vehicle take off and causing it to slide at more than 350 km/h, leaving a sliding mark of more than one km in the salt.

The car finally comes to a stop in the midst of a blinding white infinity, without a human or animal soul, with only a distant background roar of other engines. The senses are then still on the alert, with hyper-sensitivity at its peak, for this moment of rare intensity. “A real entry into religion” in Rick’s words.

This is the culmination of a development of sixteen years work for an entire team, whose professionalism and comradeship are above the taken danger. Naturally, the partnership between Rick Pearson and Maurice de Mauriac is celebrated around a superb watch created for the occasion: the Maurice de Mauriac ” Chrono Modern DLC”, integrating the Swiss Valjoux movement (ETA 7750) and equipped with a Kevlar strap. You will particularly admire the luminosity of the marks which appear in a green colour of the most beautiful effect. It can be found on the brand’s website where you can admire it as long as you wish: mauricedemauriac.com


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