Guy Martin: Wall Of Death World Record Set At Just Under 80 MPH

Guy Martin set a wall of death world record on Monday. Broadcast on live TV in the UK, Martin set the speed record of just under 80 mph riding a wall of death built just for him. Martin performed the wall of death stunt for a special Formula One episode of his Channel 4 Speed with Guy Martin series.

Best known as an English motorcycle racer, Guy Martin will race just about anything to set a speed record. So far, on Speed with Guy Martin, the 34-year-old lorry mechanic and TV presenter has attempted to break speed records on a bicycle, sled, hovercraft, and soapbox racer, and on Monday, Martin successfully set the world record for riding a vertical wall of death on a motorcycle.

The wall of death, also known as the well of death, is mainly used as a carnival sideshow, where motorcyclists or mini automobile drivers do stunts along a vertical wall inside a barrel-shaped, wooden cylinder. Made completely of wooden planks, the wall of death is typically anywhere from 20 to 36 feet in diameter, but Guy Martin wanted to go beyond the norm during Monday’s live stunt and had a wall of death built just for him.

Normal speeds inside a normal wall of death usually only reach just over 20 mph. Guy Martin’s goal was to race around the wall of death at over 60 mph, which would have been impossible inside a normal sized wall of death due to basic physics. The force on Martin’s body, known as the G-force, would have been too much for him to handle.

Up until Monday, the wall of death world speed record was right at 60 mph, but since Martin wanted to beat that speed, a much larger wall of death had to be built. Martin’s wall of death measured over 130 feet in diameter, a size that allowed him to get on the wall, stay under 10 Gs, and ride parallel to the floor long enough to reach world record speeds.

Radiotimes reports that for Martin to even stay vertical on the wall of death, he would need to maintain a G-force of 2.5, which first meant building up a speed of at least 57 mph by racing around the base of the wall.

“It’s harder than it looks,” said Martin. “You have to get your brain to calculate what’s happening. You have to recalibrate your senses.”

“Ignore the front wheel of the bike. Don’t look forward. Tilt your head back, and look at the top of the drum. Don’t worry about where you are, because you won’t know where you are. Just keep moving, fast. And keep the red line at the top of the drum in the corner of your eye line. And don’t worry when your vision goes.”

Losing vision and even passing out is a real possibility when reaching Gs as high as Martin reached. To get used to such a high G-force, Martin went up in a stunt plane where the pilot reached 8.5 Gs. According to Martin, he did in fact lose his vision, but he managed to remain conscious the entire time.

“I know I’m going to black out, but it’s good. I will get a warning before I black out. Maybe I’ll black out before I pass out. That’s called GLOC, which stands for G-induced loss of consciousness.”

Wearing trousers made to maintain tension and blood flow in the legs, Martin trained by doing several 30-second test runs at speed around the specially built wall of death that had to be housed inside an aircraft hangar.

Martin admitted he was bit nervous about taking on the wall of death at such a high speed, but during Monday’s live performance that was broadcast on Channel 4 from somewhere in historical Lincolnshire County in the eastern part of England, he managed to keep his sight and stay alert while surpassing 60 mph.

At 78.150 mph in the final run, hitting a G-force of 5.2, Guy Martin smashed the previous wall of death world speed record on Easter Monday, but said he really wanted to reach 100 mph.

[Image by Bamboofurniture/Wikimedia Commons]

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