Valerie Thompson set yet another land speed record on her BMW S 1000 RR during the 28th annual World of Speed event, with a 208 mph run at the Bonneville Salt Flats. In this exclusive interview, the seven-time motorcycle land speed record holder and spoke to BMW Motorrad about her continued life in the fast laneWhat does life feel like at over 200 mph?Believe it not, everything seems to slow down at 200 mph because your focus is so intense. In my case, I feel free from the world and unstoppable, I just wish the feeling would last longer.How would you describe this sensation from inside your helmet?It's very quiet at 200 mph. My heart rate and engine RPMs are in sync while my mind seems to be going at 300 mph.Do you enjoy being a respected woman in a predominantly man's world?While racing has traditionally been male dominated, that has changed a great deal in the last decade. Women have won over 100 national events in NHRA drag racing and we are seeing more and more females in most racing series. It took several years to earn the respect of my male competitors. The first priority is to prove you have the talent and resources to win. With hard work, discipline and dedication, respect will follow.What is your motto for living your life?There are no speed limits in life!You ride a fine line between success and failure, where fractions of a second, or speed, make all the difference. Where do you find the extra 1% needed to be a winner?The first priority is having the best equipment and an excellent support team. Without that, nothing else matters. Then you focus on driver performance issues, such as optimal riding techniques and physical fitness. Each venue requires pre-race research to determine the best set-up, since track surfaces range from salt or pavement to dry lake beds. Adjusting to changing weather conditions is also critical.Who are your sporting heroes and why?Andy Green, the world's fastest man on land. The Thrust supersonic car holds the overall World Land Speed Record, set on October 15, 1997, when it achieved a speed of 1,228 km/h (763 mph) and became the first car to officially break the sound barrier. Why is he my hero? Because I want to go that fast! My bike number is 763.What does the RR offer that other motorcycles don't?Over the years, I have raced many bikes, ranging from H-Ds to Buells. The BMW RR is easily my favourite because it delivers excellent performance across the board – from rocket-like acceleration, top speed and handling, to riding comfort. The RR is a powerhouse, both on and off the track.What is your advice to riders who have yet to explore the extreme performance limits of their sport bikes?First and foremost, learn how to ride safely. Anyone can go fast; the key is doing it within the rider and equipment’s capabilities. I hold seven land speed records, but I still attend racing schools to learn more about going faster without hurting anyone.Are you superstitious and do you have any pre-race rituals?Superstitions are the added edge I need to ‘get into the zone’ before any competition. My superstitious routine includes the following. First I apply lip gloss. Then when suiting up, I always put my left side gear on first (sock, boot and gloves). Before staging, I double tap my gas tank and the lanyard three times. I take two deep breaths before closing my face shield. Then, when I’m in sixth gear, I say to myself; relax and enjoy the ride!Describe the ideal conditions for a record-breaking run on the salt?The ideal conditions include very dry salt, little to no cross-winds, a bunch of tail-wind (it’s the cheapest way to add horsepower!), cool temperatures and a lot of traction. Getting these types of conditions all at the same time is very rare, that's why salt racing is so challenging for both drivers and crews.What are your next targets?I would like to take my land speed racing to 250-300 mph by the end of 2016. By 2017, I’d like to become THE female motorcycle racer on the salt flats.And finally, please describe how you would like to be remembered?I would like to be remembered as the fastest BMW S 1000 RR racer of all time.
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