Someone once completed a lap of the Isle of Man clocking 165 kph on a 500cc Royal Enfield!

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Added in: Features

That someone is 62-year old Steve Linsdell, a British motorcycle road racer, known mainly for his achievements aboard unlikely machines at the Isle of Man TT. He first started racing in 1977 on a hand-built 1951 350cc Royal Enfield Bullet – coming second in his first ever race in the newcomer’s category at an average speed of 94.87 mph. This was despite competing against machines over 20 years newer!

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After this, he had a virtual clean sweep over the next two seasons – adding a 700cc Royal Enfield as a second ride in 1978. Steve’s customized 700cc Royal Enfield ‘Meteor’ dominated the big class for 3 years, winning over a 100 races. His early results had him club champion at the Vintage Racing Motorcycle Club aboard his Royal Enfields.

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For several years he was said, in documents such as the Motor Cycle News, to be almost unbeatable. Linsdell is still the last ever Royal Enfield racer to stand on the Isle of Man podium.

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Steve is also featured in the TT Superbike Legends PlayStation 2 game, which was developed by Jester Interactive and released in November 2008. While we still await a new 750cc twin to debut, which is rumored to develop 50hp+, in the year 2011, Steve Lindsell completed a lap of the Isle of Man clocking 102.52 mph (nearly 165 kph) on a modified Bullet.

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That feat made his Bullet the first British pushrod single, ever to average a ton at the TT. The modified bike pictured above employs a 500cc RE engine, which with a shortened stroke, makes more than 50hp at the back wheel and revs till 8200 rpm quite reliably. A copy of the first bike he rode in 1981, this machine was built in 2009.


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Royal Enfield has an illustrious past at the Isle of Man which dates back to as far as 1926. In that year,  J.G. Burney finished 6th in the Junior TT 350cc category clocking 60.84 mph (nearly 97.91 kph), while W F Bicknell finished 5th in the lightweight 250cc category at an average speed of 48.47 mph (nearly 78 kph).

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In the year 1935, Royal Enfield entered a 500 cc Four valve-Racing model for the Senior TT 1935. Ridden by C S Barrow, the bike finished 8th, clocking an average speed of 74.62 mph (nearly 120 kph). We know after reading this, the way you look at your Enfield won’t ever be the same again. However, don’t blame us for any damage you might cause to your bike trying to replicate these achievements mentioned here. It was all done on a modified machine. The one you own will still vibrate and make its mirrors turn backwards beyond 100 kph. And that is a sign to back off. Having said that, there is no contesting the fact that RE is undoubtedly the most emotive affordable machine money can buy.

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