Ralph Hudson dies weeks after World Land Speed Record attempting crash

World Land Speed Record Ralph Hudson dies at the age of 69 after succumbing to injuries sustained in a 250mph record-attempting crash in Bonneville

Ralph Hudson

World Land Speed Record holder Ralph Hudson has died after succumbing to injuries sustained in a 250mph accident while attempting to break another record.

Hudson, 69, was competing at Bonneville Speed Week in an official Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) record attempt on August 14 2020 when a gust of wind at over 250mph reportedly caused him to lose control of his motorcycle. 

Though initially stabilised while being treated for serious injuries at Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Hudson sadly lost his fight for life on September 6 2020.

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Hudson leaves a tremendous legacy as one of land speed racing’s most successful and distinguished competitors, that continued to flourish well into his 60s.

He remains the FIM World Record holder for the fastest run on a non-streamliner motorcycle, while he clocked an official 297mph personal best on the salt flats of Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia as recently as July 2018. 

In fact, Hudson did reach his 300mph milestone with a 304mph run but because he couldn’t quite hit 300mph on his second attempt, it couldn’t be officially ratified.

“It’s great to have gone 300 and to have it officially recognized, but I didn’t do two runs with an average over 300 and get an FIM World Record,” he was quoted as saying at the time. “To know that I have a bike that was capable of doing that but not putting the two runs together is very disappointing. You know, you set your goals and it’s disappointing if you don’t reach them.”

Hudson had made plans to return to Bolivia in future in an attempt to achieve the career landmark.

He is survived by his son David, girlfriend Leslie Murray and the broader Land Speed Racing community of which he was such an established and inspirational figure.

“Information regarding a celebration of life and a memorial scholarship in Ralph’s name will follow when available,” read a post from his family on social media. “We sincerely thank everyone for their kind words, prayers and support during this very difficult time. Ralph would want everyone to stay strong and keep going fast.”