The world’s fastest Kiwi

A New Zealand man has broken two world land speed records at the famous Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

Corey Bertelsen, of Muriwai, was among hundreds of motorcyclists from around the world to race at the speedway last week.

The venue was made famous by the movie The World’s Fastest Indian, which follows the life of Kiwi motorcyclist Burt Munro.

Representing Salt Brothers Racing NZ, based in Waimauku in Auckland, Bertelsen broke two records in the 250cc sidecar motorcycle class.

His first achievement saw him come off with a top speed of 214.56km/h in the 250cc gas world record. He beat the previous record by about 20km/h. The next day he again rode his way to success, breaking the 250cc fuel world record with a top speed of 214.53km/h.

The 41-year-old has long had a passion for motorbikes and has been taking part in such competitions for the past five years.

Speaking from the US, he said: “I did motocross throughout New Zealand for a long time and the body just couldn’t handle it any more – all the broken bones. So I thought this would be a bit easier on the body.”

More than 500 motorcyclists from around the world and of all ages took part in this year’s races at the Salt Flats, which regularly attract tens of thousands of spectators. Bertelsen said it was exciting to perform in front of so many people – many of whom had come to know his name.

“There’s about 30,000 people watching every day. It’s huge. People have started to sort of know us, which is pretty cool. It’s buzzy over here. Everybody wants you to have fun – that’s what it’s all about.”

He said competition could be gruelling, but it was more about preparing mentally.

“It’s not so much physical. It’s definitely a mental game. I’m waiting a long time for my turn … you don’t get to pick when you run. You just have to get into gear and wait your turn.

“To qualify, you have to actually break the existing record. Once you’ve broken that, the next day you have to back it up and break it again. Then they take the average of those two speeds and that determines whether or not you get a record.”

Bertelsen will be back in Auckland in the next month or so.

In the meantime, he is gearing up for his next big challenge, looking to come away with a record at the American Motorcyclist Association competition being held this week.

Corey Bertelsen


Broke two short course records at Speed Week, Bonneville Salt Flats, in the 250cc motorcycle class.

Day 1
214.56km/h (previous record: 193.15km/h)

Day 2
214.53km/h (previous record: 201.33km/h)

Source: NZ Herald