What’s up, BUB?
We mean no disrespect, but it needs to be pointed out that Denis “BUB” Manning, president and owner of BUB Enterprises, was unable to slip into the cockpit of the world’s fastest motorcycle for the simple reason that he was a Big Ugly Bastard. Hence the nickname, which he is quite happy to acknowledge. However, that’s of little importance in the Greater Scheme of Things -a scheme that involves recapturing the absolute land speed title as soon as possible. To do so, Denis and his team will need to carry out a few tweaks on the missile-shaped BUB 7 Streamliner that held the record for two years before losing it a few months ago to a competitor propelled by two Suzuki Hayabusa engines.
Powering the BUB 7 is a turbocharged 3-litre V4 than runs on methanol to produce a useful 373 kW. It’s squeezed into a carbon fibre, Kevlar and aluminium honeycomb monocoque body with a claimed drag coefficient of 0,09 – and that’s seriously slippery. In September 2006, with pilot Chris Carr at the controls, the two-wheeler streaked across the hard-packed surface of the Bonneville Salt Flats to achieve a new world mark of 564,693 km/h. Talking to Manning is an invigorating experience. Ebullient, breathtakingly candid and relentlessly goodhumoured, he radiates the kind of enthusiasm that leaves one in no doubt as to his ability to get the title back – possibly as soon as September this year. What kind of speeds does he envisage? “Well, 400 miles per hour (about 644 km/h) would be good, but we’d settle for 360 miles per hour.”