Leslie Porterfield on life @ 374km/h

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‘The fastest speed on a conventional motorcycle by a female pilot is 374.208km/h (232.522mph), by Leslie Porterfield (USA) on a modified Suzuki Hayabusa at Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, USA, on 5th September 2008,’ says the recently issued Guinness World Records certificate. So, yes, while Leslie was already the fastest female motorcyclist in the worldwhen we last spoke to her back in December 2008, her record setting feat now has Guinness’ official stamp of approval.

‘Bonneville is an amazing place. Its stark white expanse of salt makes it seem other-worldly. The competitors are welcoming. Everyone that goes to Bonneville has a passion for the sport and the camaraderie is unlike any other sport,’ says Leslie. ‘I had a great time taking my Hayabusa to a record speed of 232mph, and a production CBR1000 to 192mph. It was an amazing year for me,’ she adds.

‘I returned to the salt in 2009 and set a record at 234mph, with a first run at a spectacular 240mph average through the mile. The return run ended up being a little slower due to wheelspin,’ says Leslie. ‘I took the prestigious ‘Top Speed of the meet on a Motorcycle award’ that year and this was the first time in history that a woman took that award. I’m excited about returning to the salt this summer for more record-chasing,’ she says.

So how exactly does it feel to have that certificate from Guinness, we asked her. ‘I still haven’t found a permanent place for my Guinness Record certificate. I move it from place to place… In my shop, by the bike, home… I just need to make some good copies. Maybe it would make good wallpaper!’ says Leslie.

Now, while she’s ridden bikes faster than most of us ever will, there’s more to Leslie Porterfield than just speed. There’s also style. She’s shot with top fashion photographer, Markus Hofmann, at BMW’s Aerodynamics Test Centre in Munich, Germany.

‘We chose not to use any motorcycle outfits, as Leslie already has many pictures like this and I wanted to do this shoot with haute couture. I called Karl Lagerfeld’s agent and they were happy to send across some outfits. Marcel Ostertag and other fashion designers were also involved. In the end, we had a choice of about ten items, of which Leslie chose four to model,’ says Hofmann. ‘It was cold in the wind tunnel but she put up with that extremely well,’ adds Art Director Dirk Meycke, who, along with the rest of the crew, kept their winter coats on throughout the photo shoot…

After fast bikes, fashion shoots and a thriving business of her own, what’s next? ‘In the future, I am hoping to go faster and look forward to chasing more records. I think as technology improves, we will continue to see faster speeds – I hope we will all safely achieve higher speeds every year. The biggest change for me ahead will be piloting a new motorcycle – this new challenge makes the 2010 season a very exciting one for me,’ she adds.

Well, we’re sure Leslie will keep getting faster and… umm… faster! We wish her all the very best.

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