Kawasaki H2R ridden by Scott Wilkins breaks NZ Landspeed Records
Scott Wilkins is no stranger to speed. With 5 years of Landspeed experience and his team pouring countless hours into perfecting the setup of the Kawasaki Ninja H2R for Landspeed NZ Records – Scott was able to undoubtably etch his name into the record books on Sunday.
The Landspeed New Zealand Association played host for the 2022 Timed Speed Event in the Central Plateau on the 6th of March. The event is in its 5th year having started its creation in 2015 by John Seccombe and a small group of speed enthusiasts. The maximum limit of 40 cars & bikes registered for the Event, with competitors travelling from as far as Dunedin and Kerikeri to take part in the action.
Across the Tag Heuer certified ¼ mile timed section, set in the centre of the 6km stretch of Goudies Road near Reporoa conditions were near perfect. Cloud cover and minimal wind setting the perfect stage for records to be broken.
Caption: Man and machine, ready to make history.
With the event limited by Covid-19 restrictions and no spectators permitted, the comradery between competitors and supporters was electric. Co-operation and unity common themes of the day with racers bouncing advice off each-other to achieve their best times.
Attendees were seeing green with 3 of the top 5 motorcycle positions held by Kawasakis. The fastest speed was set by Wilkins on a H2R setting 364.5 kph one way and 358.4 kph being the two-way average. Not only did the time eclipse the motorcycle record, it broke all NZ records for wheel-driven vehicles.
Patrick Nussbaum (Turbocharged Suzuki Hayabusa) briefly held the NZ Motorcycle Landspeed record by recording an average two-way speed of 348.35 kph earlier in the day. Cole Scammel rounded out the podium for the day aboard his Turbo’d Suzuki Hayabusa with John Seccombe in 4th aboard a Kawasaki Ninja H2R, battling with a slipping clutch.
First of the naturally aspirated motorcycles was piloted by seasoned campaigner Walter Rands-Trevor. Walter is no stranger to landspeed having experienced Bonneville Salt Flats, USA. He managed to increase his Naturally Aspirated 1050cc NZ Motorcycle record by 1.55kph on the day. This was just enough to log a two-way average speed of 323.35 kph and break the coveted 200mph barrier.
Caption: Walter Rands-Trevor claimed the top spot for naturally aspirated motorcycles aboard his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R
The road to the top hasn’t been easy for Scott Wilkins and his team starting their Landspeed objective in 2017 with each landspeed event since being another milestone toward the ultimate goal. Knowing that minor tweaks to aerodynamics, ECU settings, tyres and bike setup can have major consequences at high-speed, getting as little as 10kph extra while travelling upward of 330kph is a mammoth task.
The years of knowledge within the Team proved indispensable on this journey to NZ Records. Brett Roberts (BRM) expertise to interpret data and tune the bike both in pre-race prep and on the day adjustments proved to be an unbeatable match. As the day wore on, richer mapping was necessary to get the most from the motorcycle – ensuring the possibility for man and machine to make NZ history.
Scott’s father and former Kawasaki New Zealand Owner Mike Wilkins, along with his wife Pam were ecstatic to see the record fall. They purchased the bike in 2016 when Mike retired from his role as Managing Director of Kawasaki NZ.
The “for closed-course only” Kawasaki Ninja H2R is a different animal when compared to the road-legal Ninja H2 and H2 Carbon models, featuring a factory claimed output calculation of 326hp. Scotts Team with the help of Brett Roberts were able to push this phenomenal number even further to over 350hp at the crank. This equated to a 303hp at the wheel in dyno conditions, an achievement in itself with only 998cc of displacement to play with.
Caption: Scott Wilkins takes the Kawasaki Ninja H2R to over 350kph.
From the stock H2R in 2017 with 267 hp at the rear wheel achieving 330.5 kph at the Cliffhanger speed trials in Masterton, to the highly tuned & modified H2R with 350 hp at the engine and 303 hp at the rear wheel achieving 264.5 kph in 2022 on Goudies Road, Reporoa.
Asking team owner & manager Mike what the key thing in achieving his goal was, he replied: “Two things. One; we needed a machine that had the engineering strength to absorb the power increase we gave it. For that we thank Kawasaki and number two; we needed a rider who has the courage and skills to ride the bike at that speed on a 7-metre-wide country road, who else but my son Scott. I am so proud of him.”
Now that Scott and his family’s goal has been realised, he plans on hanging up his boots within the Landspeed discipline. However, Scott has his hands in many pies and is a major driving force in the motorcycling fraternity, particularly within the NZ Flat Track scene so you’re bound to spot him wherever 2 wheels are involved.