Foss Deckhand sets World Speed Record at Bonneville

Marine Transportation Deckhand Casey Meyer, center, set the record. With him are his brother, Christian, left, and Mark Troutman.

A Foss able seaman rode a motorcycle to a world record speed of 119.6 miles per hour at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah recently, demolishing a previous class record by almost 5 miles per hour and surprising himself at his accomplishment.

“I can hardly believe it,” said Casey Meyer, who works in the Marine Transportation division and is an engineer-in-training. “It was our first year down there, and we didn’t expect to break a record, but we came away with one.”

The record was in the 500 cc class, a mid-powered motorcycle category. It was recorded as the average speed over two runs on a three-mile course.

The record-setting bike was a land-speed bike ‘project’ that involved a rebuild and reconfiguration.

Meyer wasn’t the only Foss connection to the record-breaking performance. His brother, Christian, is a Marine Transportation mate and was part of his support crew. Mark Troutman, former Foss port engineer in Portland who now works for Tidewater Barge Lines, built the bike.

“It was a land-speed bike ‘project’ we bought from a gentleman whose family didn’t want him racing due to his age,” said Troutman, a longtime motorcycle enthusiast himself. “I rebuilt and reconfigured the bike.”

Casey Meyer, 35, has been riding motorcycles since he got his first one at age 9. He and his brother teamed up with Troutman about 10 years ago, road racing vintage bikes.

“We wanted to try something new so we decided to go to Bonneville,” he said.

Asked about the danger of traveling at such high speeds on a bike, Meyer said, “The worst that could happen is if you burn out an engine or blow out a tire. It’s probably more dangerous to ride a bike on the street, with all the cars around you.”

Why does he enjoy it?

“I guess I like the adrenaline of racing and taking a bike to top speed, and the challenge of pushing myself,” Meyer said.