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FLAT OUT has just been nominated for the prestigious DEAN BATCHELOR AWARD!!!

Editorial Reviews


About the Author:


Rocky Robinson is a veteran motorcycle racer who has competed in several classes, from dirt track to Speedway racing. He became involved in land speed racing riding Tenacious II, a world class streamlined motorcycle built by Denis Manning and a crew of talented craftsmen. At the famed Bonneville Salt Flats after several attempts, the team decided to try their luck in Australia where they set a record speed of 289 mph. To this day it is still the fastest pass in Australia recorded on two wheels. Top speed indicated was 297 mph! For 2006, Rocky teamed up with Mike Akatiff and the crew behind the Ack Attack Special, a twin-engine turbocharged Suzuki Hyabusa streamliner.

- Advanced Review

Flat Out!    

Flat Out: The Race for the Motorcycle World Land Speed Record.
Robinson, Rocky (Author)


On September 3, 2006, Rocky Robinson, driving the motorcycle streamliner Ack Attack, set the new world land speed record of 342.797 miles per hour. Two days later someone broke his record, but what matters is that, after nearly a lifetime of training, Robinson became, however briefly, the fastest man on two wheels. This enthusiastically written book begins almost 15 years ago, when Robinson was recruited to drive Tenacious II, the streamliner (streamlined motorcycle) the company owner hoped would break the speed record. It didn’t, but Robinson and his team never gave up, testing new design after new design, edging ever closer to their goal. Robinson captures some of the adventurous, groundbreaking spirit of the Wright Brothers and also a bit of The Right Stuff. His first-person account of racing across Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats speedway on two wheels is exhilarating, leaving the reader out of breath. Gearheads will love the book’s abundance of technical details; everyone else will love the story of sheer, wide-eyed excitement and determination.
— David Pitt


Grant Parsons, Managing Editor / American Motorcyclist Magazine
American Motorcyclist Association


Flat Out!  
Inside the World of Land Speed Racing
The guys who build exotic streamliner motorcycles and chase land-speed records in places like the Bonneville Salt Flats are different from you and me. For one thing, they’re a heck of a lot more determined. For proof, look no further than “Flat Out: The Race for the Motorcycle Land Speed Record,” a new book by flat-tracker-turned-streamliner-pilot Rocky Robinson, who has ridden for two of the titans in the field—Denis Manning and Mike Ackatiff. In 256 pages, Robinson details his rise from being a welder in Manning’s Bub Enterprises shop to riding several Manning streamliners before moving to Ackatiff’s team. He set a world record of 342.797 mph at last year’s Inter-national Motorcycle Speed Trials, only to be eclipsed by Manning and pilot Chris Carr a day and a half later. Highlights of the sometimes-PG-rated book include great descriptions of what it’s like to operate some of the world’s most complex motorcycles, in addition to the overwhelming amount of work and luck it takes to chase the record for years.

I always figured this stuff wasn’t easy, but after getting a real look behind the scenes from Rocky’s book, I have a whole new respect for what it takes—and how long it takes—to go that fast. Get it for $23.36 at www.motorbooks.com. —Grant Parsons



Flat Out!


Jon Amo / Landracing.com


"This book is a NO holds barred tale of Rocky's adventures in the pursuit of the Motorcycle Land Speed Record. From successes to failures and the relationships that guided his path to the record. It is a thrilling adventure to read."

  Flat Out!

Written by Richard Parks / Photographic Consultant, Roger Rohrdanz


 Rocky Robinson has written an exciting book about his efforts to set a land speed record in the streamlined motorcycle class.  The book is called Flat Out: The Race For The Motorcycle World Land Speed Record, and is published by Motorbooks, a division of MBI Publishing.   

The book is hardbound, measuring 6 ¼ by 9 ¼ inches in size and sells for $25.95.  The dust jacket cover is exceptional, and as I have mentioned before, keep the cover in good condition as it enhances the look and value of the book.  As with all Motorbooks/MBI issues, this is a quality addition to your racing library.  The pages are separated into six sections and bound to the spine of the book with a high-quality cloth fabric.  There are 255 pages of text on acid-free matte paper, double-spaced for easier reading.  In addition there are 16 pages of photographs on a special waxed paper that provides excellent reproductive results.  

Flat Out: The Race For The Motorcycle World Land Speed Record contains 39 color photographs and 21 black and white photos.  The B&W photographs appear at the beginning of each of the 21 chapters to the book and are roughly 2 ½ by 4 inches in size.  The color photographs are slightly larger. Robinson provided a three-page acknowledgment section and a 10-page introduction followed by 21 chapters, divided into three sections.  There is no bibliography, table of contents, appendix or index.   

Rockey Robinson tells his story in this interview after record run. (Meggan Bechtol Photo)

The book was written to tell a story about one man’s quest to set an unlimited record in the motorcycle streamliner class on the Bonneville Salt Flats and it is the story that takes center stage here.  There is crossover appeal for those who love motorcycles, motorcycle racing, ultimate speed contests and land speed time trials.   There are many classes and categories for men and women to test their skills and courage in land speed motorcycle racing.  Classes are created according to the size and power of the engine and whether the motorcycle is streamlined or altered from that of a showroom bike.  Streamlining adds aerodynamic panels and turns the motorcycle into a two-wheeled version of a sleek four-wheeled racecar.  From a distance the streamlined bike might look like a small racecar, but make no mistake, it is still a motorcycle and it takes skill and courage to drive these machines. 

It’s hard to comprehend that the unlimited record runs for a four-wheeled vehicle is 200 mph faster than the average speed of a Jumbo jetliner in flight, but at least there are four wheels on the ground.  For nearly two decades men and women have attempted to break Don Vesco’s record of 318 mph in a streamlined motorcycle.  Dave Campos would improve on that mark by a mere four mph and his record would last another 16 years.  It takes brazen courage to race motorcycles at these speeds, courage that few mortal men and women will ever possess -- or absolute ignorance of the hazards faced at speeds that high.  There is no doubt that land speed racing takes a very special kind of man or woman to create the vehicles and then race these machines to the ultimate in motorcycle speed records. 

Most of the time we are fortunate to have a newspaper or magazine interview, with a few photographs, to explain the motivation of these brave people.  In the case of Rocky Robinson, we are privileged to have his very thoughts and feelings as he sets out on his quest to break the world  record. Robinson sets out to build suspense, telling the readers that there are challengers who are also set on breaking Dave Campos’ record.

Any book that sets out to create a suspenseful thriller is bound to have the weaker readers who can’t help but read the last chapter first.  Yes, I was one of those readers who went to the end to see the results.  What makes a book great is not necessarily the end of the book and which race team actually set the record, but in the rereading of the work, it keeps our interests strong.  

Wheeler, Campos & Rocky (Chamberlain Pix)

Rocky Robinson has an easy style of writing.  He is driven by zeal and though his story telling is not always polished. He doesn’t linger on any topic and effectively moves the story along.  It is possible to read Flat Out: The Race For The Motorcycle World Land Speed Record in a few days, but I found myself returning to the photographs and the texts out of interest in the subject matter. 

I won’t give away the ending, only to say that one team set a record at 344 mph, another team broke that record with a two-way run of 346 mph and a third team went 355 mph, but failed in a second run to back up the record.  For a land speed record to be certified, a racer must make two runs within a short period of time in the opposite directions and the average speed of the two runs is the record time.  That rule factors in the wind advantage. 

Knowing the final outcome did not satisfy my need to know why Rocky Robinson set out to put his life on the line to set these dangerous records.  To do that I had to read each chapter and delve into the mind of men like Robinson.  It is as fascinating to know these men as it is to marvel at their fast records. 

There is more to the story than one man wishing to go fast.  It takes a great deal of support and dedicated team members to be able to build a streamliner and afford to race it.  The technological skills and safety equipment must increase with the increase in the speeds of the motorcycles if the racers are to survive in their quests to set new records.   There have to be volunteers who run the sanctioning bodies and maintain the courses where the riders race their bikes.  Land speed time trials require dedicated men and women volunteers at all levels in order to make it possible for men like Robinson to attempt to set such records. 

Rocky gets his victory! (Grant Parsons Photo)

Rocky Robinson is one of only a few men who have gone over 300 mph on a motorcycle and set a record.  It is an exclusive club and the members are a tight knit group.  There are more men who have orbited the moon than those who have set records over 300 mph on a motorcycle. 

Flat Out: The Race For The Motorcycle World Land Speed Record is available at bookstores under ISBN#13-978-07603-3163-7 or by the title of the book. Click on www.motorbooks.com for more books about cars, motorcycles and planes! 


Dan Wright / USFRA Tech Inspector G/FS #667

Flat-out! By Rocky Robinson

Flat Out!

I just finished reading “Flat Out”, Rocky Robinson’s excellent narration of his experiences riding, not one, but two of the fastest Bonneville Streamliner motorcycles ever built. Rocky's unique perspective comes from spending several years piloting the amazing technologically advanced Bub Streamliner before finally landing at the controls of the raw horsepower that defines the Ack Attack Streamliner. The book is written in a clear, easy to read, conversational style that draws you in to the heated intensity of the high speed shoot out for the title of the “Worlds Fastest Motorcycle” which culminated during the BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials in 2006. Rocky lets you come along as an insider as three streamline motorcycles their owners and riders steadily up the ante in top speed competition for the title.

Whether you are dreaming of your first ever trip to the salt or you’re a Bonneville veteran, this book will be hard to put down. From his insightful description of the vast salt flats that is Bonneville to his inside views of the powerful personalities involved, and the intricacies of race strategy, construction details, the unexpected problems, the similarities and differences between these super powered motorcycles, this book has it all.

Personally, as the owner of a newly completed class “G” Bonneville Streamliner, I found Rocky’s vivid descriptions of the sensations of speed and sound, and his candid discussion of the problems with the race course, handling quirks, lack of traction and parachute misadventures provided a real “How To Manual” for Bonneville driving. I felt like I was onboard with him when he experienced parachute failure at high speed. I had always wondered what goes thru a drivers mind when smoke begins to fill the cockpit as the brake pedal pushes thru to the floor.

Whatever your particular interest, motorcycles, world class racing, Bonneville or simply a superbly written glimpse into the world of Land Speed Record racing, you can hardly do any better than Rocky’s Flat Out story.

If your wishing for a little more “Salt” than you find around the rim of your Margarita glass, Flat Out will give you the Bonneville adrenaline fix your looking for.


SPEED Reads: Flat Out - The Race for the Motorcycle World Land Speed Record

Written by: Gregg LearyCharlotte, NC – 8/29/2007
Flat Out!
The dust jacket text for “Flat Out” grabbed my attention immediately. “In the world of motorsports, one record has proven the most vexing to break: the motorcycle land speed record. A motorcycle daredevil named Rocky Robinson rode his Suzuki-powered streamliner at an incredible 344 miles per hour on Labor Day weekend 2006. After nearly a decade of attempting to break the ultimate two-wheeled speed record, Robinson had made it. ‘Flat Out’ tells the story of Robinson’s epic decade-long quest to be the fastest motorcycle rider on earth, capturing the hard work, sacrifice, and dedication required to be the world’s best. Robinson shares the ultimate rush and sheer terror of riding a two-wheeled rocket nearly six miles per minute. This is the ultimate motorcycle speed story.”

OK. I’m hooked. I’ve gotta read this book. I had a 650 Yamaha when I was in college. I thought I rode fast. Rocky has me beat by more than 4 miles per minute! Rocky was used to speed…his motorcycle racing background included flat track and Speedway events. But Rocky was also an expert at going slow. As a trials rider he learned how to balance a bike…even standing still. It was a skill he utilized frequently in riding his streamliners. On one occasion at Bonneville he was not able to deploy the streamliner’s outrigger skids…so “I countered every lean until I’d brought the bike to a complete stop-upright and with no skids!”

Robinson’s keen sense of humor makes his book fun to read. “There’s no real training program for racing streamliners because so few actually do it…going 300-plus only inches off the ground, while lying on your back-how do you train for that? In the motorcycle streamliner racer’s handbook most of the pages are blank.” Fortunately for us Rocky’s book is NOT blank. It contains 255 pages and more than 50 photographs.

What is it like to be strapped into a 300MPH land rocket?

“Not unlike the great Houdini, my arms and legs were restrained…claustrophobia is not an option in this job description.”

“I prepare myself for something neither Disneyland nor Universal Studios has yet to re-create. This is one ‘E’-ticket ride, and I’m in the best seat in the house.”

“The sound is much louder now. It’s gone beyond the angry stage-this thing is pissed!”

“I watch my horizon until I’m sure I’m perpendicular with God and the ground.”
“Crosswinds are no fun and increase the pucker factor tenfold at high speed.” “Side winds at these speeds can cause instant gray hairs and sphincter reactions that were thought humanly impossible.” “The only casualty from this incident was a heavily soiled Fruit of the Loom.”

“I don’t think I could climb into our carbon fiber and Kevlar coffin and barrel down the salt only inches off the ground at inhuman speeds if I didn’t believe I was capable of pulling it off.”

“At 300MPH you would be traveling approximately the distance of one and a half football fields per second.”

“Flat Out” is flat out fun to read. My favorite line in the book is Rocky’s description of former land speed record holder Craig Breedlove… “ at 60 years old, he’s still got more balls than a driving range.”

If I’m not careful my review will rival the length of Robinson’s book. Rest assured you are in for a high-speed read. Some of the people, places and things you will experience include:

Tenacious II.
Big Red
Top-1 Ack Attack
Mike Akatiff
Denis Manning
Chris Carr
Sam Wheeler
Don Vesco
Dave Campos
Lake Gairdner
Bonneville Salt Flats
Area 51
The “seven moon salute”
“total frontal nerdity”

“Flat Out: The Race for the Motorcycle World Land Speed Record” by Rocky Robinson snags three out of five lug nuts.

Book Review: Flat Out

By Bart Madson
Flat Out!  
For one day during the 2006 International Motorcycle Speed Trials by BUB, Rocky Robinson was the world's fastest man on two wheels when he piloted the Ack Attack streamliner to a speed of 342 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats. The new mark shattered the standing record by over 20 mph and put Robinson's name in the record books. It was a feat which culminated many years of ups and downs for the Grass Valley, California, resident, all of which can be heard straight from the man himself in his 256-page book, Flat Out: The Race for the Motorcycle World Land Speed Record.

In Flat Out Robinson relates his land-speed racing career from its unexpected beginning right up to his world record-breaking pass at last year's Speed Trials.

A native Californian, Robinson, raced Flat Track in the Camel Pro Series during the late 70s and also dabbled in Trials for a time, but his land-speed racing career didn't get underway until he got hired on as a welder by none other than BUB himself, Mr. Dennis Manning, the owner of the aftermarket exhaust firm BUB Enterprises. Manning had already built a world-record streamliner in his youth and was looking to regain the title with his streamliner at the time, Tenacious II. Manning saw a potential rider for his world record hopes when he discovered the racing background of his new employee. At that point a partnership was born.

Over the years Robinson worked with Manning on the Tenacious II project and was pivotal in the development of the current BUB streamliner, Number 7 (the machine which broke Robinson's day-long record). The bulk of Flat Out focuses on how Robinson learned first-hand what it takes to succeed in land-speed racing.

From the outside looking in, land-speed racing seems pretty straight forward: Ride really, really fast in a straight line. But the sport is a hazardous, sometimes fatal, endeavor, which requires a rider with great skill and steely resolve. Writing the book himself, Robinson is able to communicate the physics and nuances of what it feels like to pilot a purpose-built ground missile up to speeds well over 300 mph.

In the book, Robinson also talks about the reality of racing. Contrary to what some might think, this is not a sport where the riders get paid millions to gallivant around the world like MotoGP. Land-speed racing is a hobby/slash obsession for folks with regular day jobs. For Robinson that day job for many years was working as a V.P. at BUB Enterprises. For a long time the partnership worked and Robinson and Manning were united in the BUB Number 7 world-record dream, but it didn't work out, with both men going their separate ways before the 2006 Speed Trials.

The relationship between Robinson and Manning is complex and central to the narrative in Flat Out. On the one hand, Robinson is forever thankful for the unique opportunity given to him by Manning (he credits BUB in the acknowledgements). On the other hand, it is clear that there is some friction between the two. Robinson states his side of the story in Flat Out, noting several disagreements he had with Manning in the past, which culminated in his dismissal as Vice President at BUB and his subsequent duties as pilot of the Number 7 streamliner. Robinson manages to air his grievances without sounding too bitter, but there is no question that there's a little bit of extra motivation to wrestle the record away from the boss who canned him.

That's not to say Robinson and the BUB team didn't know how to have a good time together. This reader's favorite chapter from the book was when the BUB squad went Down Under to race their streamliner at Lake Gardiner, which saw Robinson backing in rented RVs on dusty roads in the Australian Outback, the BUB team firing up its two-stroke-powered giant Margarita blender and race officials suspending the action due to kangaroos on the track. It is clear that the BUB squad gave Robinson some memories he looks back on with fondness.

The change of scenery worked out well for both men, from the looks of things. Robinson went on to hook up with the upstart Ack Attack streamliner squad, with whom he broke the world record and seems primed to force that record up toward the 400 mph mark, perhaps bettering the BUB effort for good one day. Manning, on the other hand, was able to get seven-time AMA Flat Track champion Chris Carr to pilot his Number 7 to the current world record set at last year's Speed Trials. In the end, both men were able to achieve their ultimate goal, although Manning has the record... For now.

The Ack Attack and Robinson's inability to hold the ultimate record doesn't diminish the rider's story. No doubt many fans will be rooting for Rocky in the years to come as the world record edges higher and higher. With both squads pushing for the title of world's fastest motorcycle, a definite rivalry has sprung up between the competitors, with Rocky Robinson smack dab in the middle. The rivalry, which this book furthers, has spiced up what can sometimes be a dry sport.

Those interested in the land speed racing would be well served to sample Robinson's biography. It is well written and moves along at a steady, chronological pace. The reader doesn't have to be a Bonneville fanatic to follow the action, however, because at its core it is a book about a man who achieved his dream and is still chasing it. Just don't be surprised if the paperback edition has another chapter tacked on the end, one which states how Robinson retook the world record.
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