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Grid talk with Rebeka Powditch | Columns | Gassit Garage

The matriarch of an Aussie family obsessed with land speed racing brings us up to date on the recent history-making exploits of Team Powditch

Now you’re settled back home from Lake Gairdner, how’d it all go?

In 2017, our boy Lachlan (now 16) rode the old Cagiva Mito 125 in the production class, increasing his record from 96.504mph to 107.443mph.

This year Dry Lakes Racing Australia (DLRA) allowed Lachlan to ride a 2013 Suzuki GSX-R600. After achieving his 125mph and 150mph licence, Lachlan smashed the 650 MPS-G (modified partial streamliner – gas) record from 161.812mph to 171.217mph.

He also took home the long-standing production record at 169.109mph. He now holds land speed records in four classes.

Wow. An amazing achievement for a teenager.

Lachlan has proven himself time and again while competing at Lake Gairdner. His attention to detail amazes us. He can precisely answer any questions thrown at him in regards to what rpm or gear or speed he is doing at any mile marker. His achievements since 2014 have been acknowledged by DLRA with the Rangers Choice Award.

Not a bad effort for a young fella! But then I am a bit biased, being his mum.

He also had a run on a GSX-R1000?

We entered Lachlan on his grandfather’s brand-new 2018 GSX-R1000 just to get the feel of it and he was under instructions from me to not go faster than 180mph! His grandfather (Grant Schlein, Rebeka’s father and a veteran record-breaking salt flats racer) said 181mph.

So, as he does, Lachlan went through the first speed trap at 181.232mph and the second at 180.814mph. (Even experienced riders struggle to get this close to the numbers they are aiming for.)

So Lachlan’s back at school now. That must be a bit boring?

Yes, the pace certainly does slow down. Lachlan goes back to riding his Suzuki GSX250R to school and home, all in 50km/h zones. He does all his speeding on the salt flats. Our preparation for Speed Week 2019 has already started.

We hear hubby Paul did okay up on the salt

Paul rode my father’s 2008 Suzuki Hayabusa with an Airtech fairing for a personal best at 218mph. This year conditions on the lake were not favourable to bikes with modified fairings, so personal bests felt as good as records. Achieving 350km/h is nothing to be disappointed by!

And we understand you guys are inspiring others to go fast on the salt?

Yes, our extended family and supporters are getting the salt-lake fever. Paul’s cousin Martin Powditch had never ridden a motorbike until six weeks before his first Speed Week.

Martin obtained a motorcycle licence just to compete at Lake Gairdner. He brought a 650cc Hyosung (named Budget Busa), modified the bike based on aerodynamics he’s learnt through Circuit Hydroplane racing, and now holds two land-speed records.

Is age a barrier to all this?

Just ask our long-time sponsor, team member and friend, Mike Adi (owner of Advanced Headers). At 68 years young he rode the 2018 Suzuki GSX-R1000 to increase the production record from 199.115mph to 201.986mph. It was the First Production 1000cc motorcycle to break the magic 200mph in Australia. He also managed to break the MPS-F (modified partial streamliner – fuel) record as well with a speed of 200.145mph.

That sounds like a piece of history

It sure is. Our team has a total of 15 current Australian Land Speed records and three first-time Aussie Records (all set on Suzuki’s): First Motorcycle to break 200mph; First Production bike to break 200mph; First 1000cc Production bike to
break 200mph. 

  Interview Hamish Cooper