2016 Wheelie World Championship

On the back wheel for one km at 190mph+ is the goal of this year's competitors

Gary Rothwell 2015 World Wheelie Champion
Gary Rothwell was the 2015 World Wheelie Champion, achieving 209 mph.Photo by Andy Menzies

Riding on the back wheel for a kilometre at over 200mph is the goal of motorcycles competing for the wheelie world champion title. This can be seen over and over again at the 11th World Wheelie Championship set to take place in England in mid-August. Up to 30 top competitors from the USA, UK, France, Holland and Ireland will be competing for the world title. Success depends exclusively on the rider’s high-level skill, which is used to control the speed and balance of the motorcycle. This is no mean feat as some of these retro fitted machines are the most powerful in the world.

Paddy O'Sullivan third place World Wheelie Championship
Paddy O'Sullivan took third place on his Suzuki GSXR in the World Wheelie Championship, reaching a speed of 189.822 mph.Photo by Worldreach

Thousands of spectators are expected at the motorcycle World Wheelie Championship that takes place on August 20th and 21st in England. The participants will ride very powerful customized motorcycles with some rated at 450 horsepower, viewed by thousands of spectators. The winner and world record holder will be the fastest to complete a kilometre in the wheelie position. Success depends on the rider’s high level skill to control the speed and balance of the motorcycle as no electronic or mechanical aids can be used.

Egbert van Popta 2015 World Wheelie Championship
Egbert van Popta taking part in the 2015 World Wheelie Championship.Photo by Phil Evans

The top wheelie riders at the event will be current record holder Gary Rothwell from England who achieved a 209 mph wheelie in 2015. Also present will be Egbert Van Popta from Holland riding a 195.805 mph Hayabusa Turbo, and Paddy O'Sullivan from Ireland riding a 189.822 mph Suzuki GSXR. Representing UK will be Dave 'Dodge' Rogers, previous World Wheelie Champion, who conceived the World Wheelie Championship and is the original driving force behind the event.

“In the early days of wheelie world records," ‘Dodge’ said, "it was dominated by an elite few with high powered turbo bikes. Working with Straightliners we wanted to also involve the average guy on his sports bike. The rules for the World Wheelie Championship has achieved this by attracting serious motorcycle riders from all walks of life.”

Gary Rothwell 2015 World Wheelie Champion
Gary Rothwell was the 2015 World Wheelie Champion, achieving 209 mph.Photo by Andy Menzies

The World Wheelie Championship is organized by Straightliners and takes place at Elvington Airfield, North Yorkshire, England. Straightliners is affiliated with the Auto-Cycle Union (ACU) and the International Organization of Professional Drivers (IOPD). Rider participation including record ratification and timing is administered by the UK Timing Association (UKTA). Both Straightliners and UKTA were set up by renowned motorcycle racer Trevor Duckworth.