Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 salt racer smashes class land speed record

THE Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 salt racer known as SABRE, has smashed the class record at the a severely rain shortened annual Speed Week event at Lake Gairdner, South Australia.

Built by Mid Life Cycles, SABRE was created during Royal Enfield’s ‘Busted Knuckles Build-Off’ in 2019. A crowd favourite, it was ready to take to the salt flats, but the dream was cut short to due to COVID-19.

Ridden by first-time salt racer Charlie Hallam, the Interceptor 650 Twin broke the four-year-old Class M-F 650 record on each of its runs, leaving the new mark at 132.050mph or 212.514km/h.

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The category is open to 650cc un-streamlined motorcycles running commercial unleaded fuel. The old record of 119.961mph was set at Lake Gairdner in 2016. Hallam broke the record with his first run on Monday, March 8, with a speed of 121.782mph.

He backed that up with a 123.601mph pass, for a provisional record of 122.691mph. On the morning of day two, he ran 128.935mph and 130.204mph for a new provisional record of 129.570mph.

The Geelong-based HRA team, headed by experienced salt racers Andrew and Kate Hallam, thought this was an extraordinary result for a 650cc single-cam, air-cooled Twin, but Charlie believed there was a little more to come.

That afternoon, the Interceptor ran 130.370mph and was then impounded overnight until it could do a back-up run the next morning. This run, under increasingly stormy skies, saw a stunning 133.779mph top speed, for a new record of 132.050mph.

For Mid Life Cycles, the trouble-free record passes by the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 reinforced the confidence the team has in the engine package and traditional twin-loop steel frame that was carried over from the road bike to the racer.

For the Dry Lakes Racing Association who put on the event, Speed Week was a triumph, run with precision and good humour by a dedicated band who kept their enthusiasm alive through all of 2020, and the border closures and snap lockdowns of recent months.

Even after a successful opening two days, this year’s event threw up further challenges with a storm sweeping through on day three, causing the eventual closure of the meet as the lake surface proved unsafe for high-speed passes.

Those storms and the subsequent big wet also curtailed the record attempt in the 1000cc class by Darren Goulder, aka the Rigid Rider, who is supported by Exhaust Notes Australia.

For those interested, the Mid Life Cycles Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Twin salt racer was developed for competition by HRA Geelong (Andrew Hallam) and Hallam Cycle Works (Charlie Hallam).

The team modified a 2019 Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 frame, engine and ancillaries to meet the specifications for entry to Class M-F 650. The power plant was used as a test bed for parts which can be purchased from Mid Life Cycles.

Andrew Jenkin
Andrew Jenkin
Andrew Jenkin is the ride editor at Exhaust Notes Australia, founding editor of Two Wheel Addicts, a contributor at Bike Review and panel judge for Harley Davidson's Breakout Boss competition. Andrew has a love for anything on two wheels whether that be sports, naked or adventure bikes, with a guilty pleasure for cruisers.


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