Land Rover, Terry Grant Set Two-wheel Record at Goodwood Festival of Speed
Automotive spectacle is an important part of our driving heritage. As the car entered into the mainstream, daredevils climbed into the driver’s seat and began crashing them into things. Even automakers got in on the action. The Plymouth Motor Cooperation released a film in 1935 that consisted of some of the best vehicular marketing in history. Dubbed “ Trial by Torture,” the reel opens with a person being stabbed with hot pokers and progresses to stuntman Jimmie Lynch “torturing” a 1936 model to prove its mettle — which involves driving it through burning walls and intentionally rolling it over at high speeds. It’s amazing.
Lynch toured America with a troupe of stunt drivers, known as the Death Dodgers, who repeatedly wrecked, jumped, and rolled Chrysler products to entertain crowds until the 1950s. In an era that predated seat belts, it was pretty ballsy and undeniably awesome.
These days, the public can just log onto the internet to get their fix of automotive mayhem. But the spirit of showmanship persisted, even as safety improved. At this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, the big news involved Volkswagen setting a new record for electric vehicles. However, there was a another record broken that was more fun to watch and would have made the founding fathers of automotive stunts proud.
With the help of a Range Rover SVR, some extra-hard tires, and a tweaked differential, Terry Grant hoped to break his previous record and cement his reputation as the fastest man ever to run up Goodwood on two wheels. Grant also held the previous world record for the fastest two-wheeled mile — a time five seconds shy of three minutes.
After crashing during his initial (and much slower-looking) run, the stunt driver proclaimed the vehicle fit for duty and made a second attempt on Sunday afternoon — smashing his old record by over thirty seconds.
Using a ramp to get the expensive SUV onto two wheels, Grant occasionally reached highway speeds. That’s incredible considering the 1.16-mile course is exceptionally narrow and filled with turns that could easily upset the delicate balance required to keep the necessary angle.
“It really shouldn’t be underestimated how difficult a two-wheeled speed run like this is; you are always fighting to keep the car balanced right on the edge, as it tries to tip either one way or the other,” Grant said. “You need to be conscious of everything, from the camber of the road to the strength of the wind. Thankfully, conditions were excellent and the Range Rover Sport SVR was the perfect precision tool for the job.”
[Images: Jaguar Land Rover]
A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.
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