Sunday Night: Chasing Speed with Leslie Porterfield
by Eileen Marable
Have you ever done something just because someone said they didn’t think you could? If you have then you’ll understand what motivates Leslie Porterfield. She’s been riding motorcycles since she was 16 – because she can. Because she loves it. And, because she’s damn good at it.
Leslie doesn’t just ride, she chases speed. She holds several world records as the fastest woman on a motorcycle.
Leslie Porterfield has always pursued her dreams with a passion. She turned her love of motorcycles into a career by opening her own motorcycle dealership – High Five Cycles in Dallas, TX. It’s her home base as she trains and sets her sights on breaking records at the legendary Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.
The Bonneville Speedway has been used as a place to set speed records since the 1930s. The flat, hard salt surface is perfect for the long tracks where vehicles of all sorts are used to make attempts.
Leslie Porterfield has gone to Bonneville many times trying to break speed records on motorcycles. On her first attempt at a land speed record in 2007 she crashed at 110 mph and ended up with seven broken ribs, a punctured lung and a concussion.
That would have been enough to stop a lot of people, but not Leslie. She went right back to chasing that dream of a speed record. That’s takes a special kind of courage and determination – and one we love to celebrate here at Velocity!
Leslie went back to Bonneville in 2008 and set her first record of 209 mph on an unfaired motorcycle. This is what earned her the honor of being the first woman in the Bonneville 200 mph club on a conventional motorcycle in its 61-year history.
2008 was a big year for Leslie – it was at the 2008 BUB Speed Trials at Bonneville that she became the world’s fastest woman with a speed of 232.522 on her 2002 2000cc turbo-charged Suzuki Hayabusa. The record was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records and earned her the title of the World’s Fastest Woman on a Motorcycle.
All told, Leslie Porterfield holds or has held Motorcycle Land Speed records in four classes and in 2009 she took the Top Speed of the Meet award at Bonneville for an amazing 240 mph pass – and that was for both men and women.
Chasing Speed: Leslie Porterfield joins Leslie at High Five Cycles as she’s preparing to head to Bonneville to take on the stock 1000cc production bike challenge. She is planning on taking the bike over 200 mph – something riders have tried for years.
Our show will join Leslie as she trains for the event and gets into the mindset of a record breaker. We’ll then join her on the Flats to see how it turns out.
Chasing Speed: Leslie Porterfield airs Sunday, April 1 at 10 pm E/P