How are Brad Pitt, Jay Leno, Ewan McGregor and Ryan Park, the solar-power executive featured on ABC’s The Bachelorette connected? Race Tech President and Founder, Paul Thede.Many of us are aware of the concept “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” which is defined as: a trivia game based on the concept of the small world phenomenon and rests on the assumption that any individual can be linked through his or her film roles to actor Kevin Bacon within six steps. It has been expanded by articles in magazines like The New Yorker that for all of us, if using our resources of people and acquaintances in our lifetime, to get to the person we need to meet or have a conversation with, we can do so, in just six steps. (VIDEO AFTER THE JUMP)
Paul Thede has built his entire career around motorcycles by founding Race Tech in 1984. Race Tech produces suspension components for all kinds of motorcycles. His business is now international and has over 50 Race Tech Centers throughout the world. He too, is one of those guys that just wants to go fast. That’s it…pretty simple, hop on a bike, go fast, have fun, win and make a living from two wheeled vehicles.
He won Pikes Peak Hill Climb in 2007 and has set 15 land speed records, including the most recent, being the first person to go over 200mph on an electric motorcycle at the Bonneville Salt Flats in August of 2011.
I remember first meeting Paul Thede at Bonneville in 2007. He was trying to achieve another record on a very big, horse powered, fuel burning motorcycle – with all the tricks. Best technology, best components, experts at getting the records and a rider who had the experience to get a record, but for whatever reason, the Salt was not going to let it happen.
A group of us ended up having lunch at the taco stand in the gas station, right as you get off to head to the Salt – Exit 4. If you have seen The World’s Fastest Indian, you might remember Anthony Hopkins’ character and the rest of the group eating in that very same truck stop, chatting about what they needed to change to get more speed. The taco place hasn’t changed – ever – it is just like walking back into land speed record history, knowing that the greatest of the great Salt racers, have stopped there at one time or another. Their pictures hang all over the walls with their autographs and memorabilia. I also knew that many a conversation of “how do we get more speed” was had at those very same tables as racers, engineers and mechanics ate a quick meal hoping someday to be on the walls of a truck stop.
I was in awe of the surroundings. I imagined if only the walls could talk and then I realized I too, was at a table witnessing my own version of The World’s Fastest Indian.
“197mph. Not 198, not 196….197!” Thede proclaimed in his booming voice as he told our entire table of his frustration – but of course, still in Paul Thede style with a big grin across his face – of not being able to get the motorcycle any faster than….you got it….197mph!. “If anybody needs to be taught to go 197, I am the guy to do it!” 197…197…over and over and over he kept saying as he munched on a taco.
After lunch I remember talking to Paul Livingston and Rod Falkner, Falkner Livingston Racing, about Thede’s very pronounced statement. “197”. I didn’t get it. These guys were some of the best out there and hold numerous records. Certainly, they will go faster and break a record, right? “Many people wonder, what’s the big deal. It is just going as fast as you can, in a straight line, on salt.” The salt flats are just that – salt.
As I learned, that in itself IS the big deal and it isn’t easy.
Snap to 2011, when I saw the reports that Paul Thede had broken the 200mph record on an Electric Motorcycle – I knew that history had just been made. Realizing the sheer magnitude of taking the Lightning Motorcycle to 218.6mph and being the very first person, and the ONLY person to go over 200mph on an electric motorcycle. Paul Thede put a stake in the ground and the record books will always show him as being first. He is the first winner and that record will never change.
The record isn’t the only piece that is important about the run. The Lightning Electric Motorcycle proved that the record setting run used only 18 cents worth of energy…and it is fast. 218mph fast. Yep. 18 cents of energy and more than 200mph.
Watch the video of the record run and listen to Paul Thede’s comments of how an electric motorcycle can not only help turn 50 years worth of oil into 250 – but how the Lightning Electric Motorcycle well, has the “cool” factor too. Check this video out:
Back to the Six Degrees of Paul Thede and connections with Brad Pitt, Jay Leno, Ewan McGregor and Ryan Park. Paul only knows one of these guys, but mentioned each of them for different reasons the first time we spoke after setting the record. He knows an electric motorcycle would make a difference in our future, our kids’ futures, he needed others to try it out. He knows that to prove to the world that an Electric Motorcycle has the “cool” factor, he would need key personalities to experience what he experienced – an electric motorcycle can be efficient, fast and fun.
Let’s see if this article and video can spark six connections from My Life at Speed readers to get the test rides done. Any takers?
The real question, “How do we make 50 years worth of oil turn into 250 years worth of oil?”
Maybe by going fast on an electric motorcycle?
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