Daredevil granddad breaks world speed record with eco invention

Posted on 27 Jun 2023 by The Manufacturer

Graham Sykes, a self proclaimed 'nutty inventor' and precision engineer based in Bedale Yorkshire, has propelled himself into the record books with his mind-boggling steam rocket bike, ‘The Force of Nature’.

Donned a feat in engineering and innovation for the UK, the Force of Nature uses the latent energy of superheated, pressurised water that is then released through nozzles. The bike then turns this water to steam which thrusts it forwards. The invention is eco-friendly and uses nature, science and innovation to reach incredible speeds – breaking the World Landspeed record at 163mph in 3.87 seconds over 1/8th mile.

Grandad to nine grandchildren, and turning 60 later this week, Graham reflects on his achievements, “It’s just a big bomb really, and it all started in my shed. I’ve taken the principles of chemistry, and married them with precision engineering to create something I’m passionate about – fast bikes. I wanted to do this in a way that is sustainable for the planet (I’ve got 9 grandkids after all), and demonstrates that you don’t have to compromise on speed, you just have to get creative.”

After a dedicated 10-year journey, Graham and his team, which includes his wife Diane Sykes who is equally passionate about the bike, accomplished a remarkable feat at the UK&ITA World Records Speed week where the “Force of Nature” claimed the title of the outright fastest steam-propelled motorcycle in the world. This triumph marks a significant milestone in Graham’s career, as he had previously shattered the British National record for the fastest three-wheeled vehicle in 2015 with his self-built V8 3-wheeler “SYKO,” reaching a peak speed of 180.3 mph (171.4 mph average over the flying 1/4 mile).

Before Graham’s groundbreaking creation, the fastest recorded steam-powered motorcycle had reached a speed of 80.509 mph in 2014, the wheel driven bike was crafted by American inventor Bill Barnes – differing from the Force of Nature, which is thrust driven.

With plans to break their own record and become the fastest steam-powered vehicle ever, the Force of Nature Steam Rocket Bike aims to surpass 200 mph in the standing 1/8 mile. Emphasising its commitment to environmentally friendly practices, the bike utilises steam power, with the water heated by HVO (Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil), showcasing the Force of Nature’s green credentials.

“The Force of Nature,” proudly designed and built in a shed at the back of Graham’s house, represents the epitome of British innovation and technology. Employing state-of-the-art CAD modelling and CNC Machining, this remarkable creation embodies the indomitable spirit of British engineering.

To continue their impressive journey, Graham Sykes and his team will be showcasing the “Force of Nature” at upcoming drag race meetings and participating in meetings such as the Straighteners Top Speed at Cambletown on the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland from 24th-25th June. They will also be heading to Germany from 25th-27th August to run exhibitions at the renowned Hockenheim Circuit during the Nitro Olympics night show.

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