Reigning WorldSSP Champion sets new benchmark in native Turkey
The most successful World Supersport rider of all time, Kenan Sofuoglu, recently had his sights set on a new and different kind of record – the land speed record on a production motorcycle. With many practice runs and attempts to get ready for the final push, the Turkish rider had been expecting to go for the record at the opening of a new bridge across the Gulf of Izmit, 50km away from Istanbul – before research concluded that an early morning attempt would have the most chance of success.
The WorldSSP Championship leader rode a Kawasaki Ninja H2R for the rescheduled 5am record attempt, complete with winglets, and had a special leather suit made. To lower the risk of a tyre blowout, the speed was to be reached in less than 30 seconds, and the Turk visited the bridge numerous times and at different times of day to check the conditions - such was the depth of his preparation for the tightrope task. Having judged early morning as the best time for the attempt, the record was then broken just after dawn, two days before the official opening ceremony for the bridge.
“I reached 400 km/h, the maximum speed that this motorcycle could have, after a 4 long months of training,” commented the WorldSSP superstar just after breaking the record. “I do not remember where I got this idea of the record from first, but when I signed the agreement on 2016 with Kawasaki, I liked and wanted so much this special edition bike. When I asked for the motorcycle, Kawasaki said its maximum speed was 380 km/h and that their dream was to reach 400km/h. The first time I rode it, I felt its huge power and speed, and I made small changes to the motorcycle - keeping its original settings - and did not modify it. I reached 390 km/h in my last trials and today I beat this and reached 400 km/h. I was planning to do this speed attempt for the opening but we had to catch the best weather conditions and so we did it at 5:00 am. The top speed we get to in the world championship races is about 300 km/h, so 400 km/h is a really high speed. It was a dream to reach this speed and thank god I made it. I currently hold the top place in the World Championship, and my next dream is taking the World Champion title the fifth time.”
Sofuoglu will be back in his Kawasaki Puccetti Racing colours at Lausitzring in Germany from the 16th-18th September after WorldSSP enjoys its summer break – counting down the Rounds in his attempt to achieve a fifth World Supersport crown.