Imagine putting on a pair of inline skates and then being towed at 200mph (320km/h) behind a BMW S1000RR ridden by five-time land speed record holder, Valerie Thompson, one the world’s fastest women on two wheels. That’s the fate awaiting Swiss stuntman Jürg Schläfli—also known as ‘Indi200’—when the pair of adrenaline junkies make a joint attempt to set a new inline drag-speed skating record in late September of this year.
Jürg Schläfli is an experienced stuntman who has been practicing inline drag-speed skating for 16 years and has amassed an impressive list of 14 world drag-speed inline skating records. He has been towed at 186mph behind a car and his fastest speed behind a motorcycle is currently 174mph (278km/h), but this latest ambitious challenge will see Jürg and Valerie attempt to use BMW RR power to break the magic 200+ mph barrier together.
Valerie is no stranger to life in the fast lane and has more experience than most in setting land speed records—especially on two wheels—so it made perfect sense for the pair of them to combine talents and work towards a common goal.
“Jürg and I were introduced via mutual friends in motorsports who were aware of my racing accomplishments and desire to set a variety of new world records related to motorcycle racing,” says the five-time motorcycle land speed record holder. “Within the next several weeks we will announce the location and date for the record-setting run. Our plan is to have the Guinness World Record officials on-site to record and document this historic event, in addition to members of the local and national media.”
As with any high-speed racing endeavor, there are many risks, ranging from equipment malfunction to rider error. Because of this, Jürg and Valerie will spend a lot of time together over the next few months testing and preparing for every eventuality. Naturally, the RR is a very fast motorcycle, especially one that has been modified specifically for land speed racing by Thompson, but there are a few extra changes required for this kind of record attempt, as Valerie explains.
“Jürg needs something to hold onto safely while being towed, so we have added a special mount for him at the tail section of our BMW. We will also experiment with anenhanced mount next month since Jürg will be going much faster than any of his prior attempts. We are also designing an improved ‘rider-to-passenger’ communication system with the innovative UCLEAR helmet communicator.”
For Jürg, there is a lot of skill and strength needed to hold onto the back of an RR capable of accelerating from zero to 100 mph in just a few seconds, and then all the way to the magic 200 mph mark—on roller blades! Dealing with the physical stresses of acceleration, windblast and deceleration requires superhuman strength and stamina, and the Guinness World Record attempt is expected to take a phenomenal amount of energy and concentration, from both rider and passenger.
Naturally, Jürg’s skates are not “off the shelf” items, and have been modified for the speed, load and resistance he will encounter through his eight little wheels. The shoe of the skate itself is made of carbon fiber, and is one size smaller than his foot measurement so that he feels every single movement through the stronger frame construction. The actual wheels have ceramic bearings from SKF, which allow them to reach over 100,000 revolutions per minute at a speed of 160mph (250km/h) without overheating like typical in-line skates. Jürg also has a variety of wheels to adapt to the many different surfaces his records require racing upon.
As for Valerie, she knows all about life at full throttle, so the coming months will be spent getting to grips with the prospect of having an unconventional passenger behind her, who will undoubtedly affect the handling and dynamics of her RR. “We already completed a first test at the end of January where we just experimented by taking speeds up to around 130mph (200km/h) at the Wild Horse Motorsports Park in Phoenix. I will be working on fast and smooth launch procedures, leading up to a top-end speed of 200mph-plus, with the help of the Go AZ Motorcycle technicians here in Scottsdale. Furthermore, Jürg and I will be working on a number of special events throughout the US, in the approach to our record-setting event, including exhibition shows at racetracks and other venues.”