Motorcycle record: At 97 years old, New Zealander becomes world’s oldest racer!

Motorcycle record: At 97 years old, New Zealander becomes world’s oldest racer!

On September 13, 2023, Guinness World Records announced a new record, the world’s oldest motorcyclist. In February 2023, 97-year-old Leslie Harris rode her BSA Bantam to the 43rd Pukekohe Classic Motorcycle Festival in Auckland, New Zealand. So he moved on to the top of this particular record, although it wasn’t purely about speed.

This event occurred about 3 weeks before his 98th birthday, and the event was already very special to him, for multiple reasons. First, Harris was racing with two other generations of his family. His eldest son Rod, 64 at the time, and his granddaughter Olivia, 21, also attended the festival. For Harris, it was a unique opportunity to compete in this event with his family. The event also had a bitter aftertaste, as the arena on which the festival was held was sold out, and this was the last time an event of this kind was held there. So the asphalt veteran must have been feeling nostalgic, but he was still able to enjoy his family, who were there to live the experience with him and we imagine it with some apprehension given the age of the driver’s arteries… The three members took part in a regular race that was not intended for speed. Despite everything, this event remains a motorcycle race. The rider with the most consistent lap times wins. Harris had already won the event in 2019, when he was “only” 93 years old.

Here’s the video of Leslie Harris becoming the world’s oldest competitive driver.

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New Zealander’s grandfather Leslie Harris has been running for 70 years.

During the ordeal, everything went well for all three members of the Harris family. Leslie placed fourth, Rod placed eighth, and Olivia placed 21st in her first year of competition. When motor racing becomes a great family affair it is always fun to see, we can imagine Rod and Olivia will have great memories to tell and remember. Dean Harris would have competed in his first race in 1953, 70 years of competition, stronger than Valentino Rossi or Giacomo Agostini! It is enough to realize the dream of more than one racer, and obtain the necessary experience to pass on their knowledge to their successors.

Going forward, if things go as planned by Leslie, he will take part in the 44th edition of the Classic Motorcycle Festival in February 2024. He will then be 98 years old and should break his own record. We think this big guy is probably aiming to participate on his 100th birthday, and that would be pretty awesome.

Finally, we point out that there are all types of motorcycle records:

Record production model for the BMW GS

500 hp and 300 km/h as a duo

It crossed 15 European countries within 22 hours

The elbow position speed was recorded by Bertrand Gould of Moto Revue

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