American Leslie Porterfield Fastest Woman in the World
Riding motorcycles since the age of 16, Leslie Porterfield is now a well-known name in motorcycling. She holds the Guinness record as the fastest woman in the world on a motorcycle. She managed the average speed of 232.522 mph on Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats in 2008. The record was previously held for over 30 years by motocross rider and stunt woman, Marcia Holley, set in 1978. Holley’s record of 229.361 was set with a single engine stream-liner motorcycle.
Leslie entered the land speed racing scene at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah in August of 2007 but things didn’t go as planned. She had a high speed crash while going about 110 mph. She was taken by helicopter to the hospital with seven broken ribs, a punctured lung, and a concussion. Prior to the crash her earlier run that day on her modified turbocharged Suzuki Hayabusa convinced her she could break the 200 mph barrier. Those into land speed records know the 200 mph club is the first target of any rider!
After recovering, she returned to Bonneville in 2008 where her determination paid off and set her first record at 209 MPH on a naked (unfaired) motorcycle. This put her into the Bonneville 200 MPH Club and the honour of being the first woman in the Bonneville 200 MPH club on a conventional motorcycle in its 61 year history.
The following year, 2009 on Bonneville’s final day, Leslie made a one-way pass at an average speed of 240.382 mph, shattering the Altered Partially Streamlined Blown Fuel 1350 cc world record by 13 mph. Her return pass of 228.470 mph gave her an average speed of 234.275 mph. This milestone was soon bested with just minutes to spare before the Speed Trials ended. This gave her the Top Speed of the Meet award (man or woman) on a motorcycle with my 240 mph pass against a record of 227 mph. This was the first time in history a woman has taken the award – the BUB – Bonneville Speed Trials Enterprises-sponsored Top Time Award for “sit-on” motorcycles (as opposed to fully enclosed “sit-in” stream-liners).
Another woman in motorcycling defying the odds!