Jamie Barrow goes faster than anyone has ever been before on a snowboard, going 211kph! (131.11mph)
As well as breaking the world record, he also broke the Guinness World Record for the fastest Speed on a snowboard towed by a vehicle. Jamie actually attempted to break the 200kph barrier 3 times before, however the previous times there was always something restricting him being able to hit his top speed. Either the car or tyres were not fast enough, or the track not long enough, or technical problems that led to 2 crashes over 160kph. However, this did not hold him back from hitting his target of going over 200kph and faster than anyone has ever been before on a snowboard.
The reason he had to use a car for this record was not only to break the Guinness world record for the fastest speed on a snowboard towed by a vehicle but also because the fastest Speedski tracks in the world recently banned speed snowboarding due to the inherent danger. Therefor to reach these sorts of speeds, a car was the only one way to do it.
To break the record he used an electric Audi Etron GT. It was important to him to do this record using an electric car not only for environmental reasons, but also for their smooth and constant acceleration. Any movement with changing gears could cause the rope to go slack and then tight again, which would result in Jamie not being able to hold on. Electric cars also have more torque at higher speeds, which helps combat the extreme wind resistance around the 200kph mark. Norway is also the world’s largest adopter of electric cars per inhabitant, so it was appropriate to use one when doing the record in Norway.
When traveling at these speeds on ice and snow it requires a very skilled driver to be able to control the car safely. That’s why for this record attempt Jamie got Niki Faulkner from Driving wizards to drive the car. Niki has a huge amount of experience in precision driving on big TV shows like Top Gear and The Grand Tour, as well as films like Mission Impossible and Rush. He is very used to driving on snow and Ice and was the perfect person to make sure the car performed its best.
Jamie had this dream to go faster than anyone has ever been before on a snowboard ever since his life changing injury back in 2013, which resulted in having to drop out of the British team and not being able to take part in the winter Olympics. Despite his injury he was determined not to give up entirely. In pursuit of finding his limits, he set off on to become the fastest person ever on a snowboard. After many years of planning, setbacks, crashes and equipment failures, he was finally able to achieve it.
“Even though I was not able to achieve my dream of going to the Olympics, I wanted to continue pushing myself and my sport to the limits, and through this new world record I feel I’ve still been able to do that”.
There is so much more that goes into breaking a world record than people think. From finding the right location and team, to the physical training and the right equipment to be able to deal with these sorts of speeds. It is so important for everything to be perfect to be able to go as fast as possible and make it official for the strict criteria of Guinness World Records. Jamie and his team have been working on a documentary showcasing this whole process, to show exactly what it takes to break a world record, and it will be out later in the year.
Trying to go over 200kph on a snowboard (even in a car on ice) is very difficult and this years attempt was no different. Jamie and his team actually attempted the record a couple days before, but high winds and a bumpy track meant the car couldn’t get up to over 200kph. Due to a lack of snowfall, the frozen lake Jamie was riding on was very icy with bumps, which meant at high speeds it would vibrate so much that he had very little control. After many adjustments to the track to make it safer, it was dark, and an official attempt could not be made. Despite this, the track looked perfect and Jamie wanted to have a test run. The outward run went well at a slower 160kph. On the return run however at the same speed the car hit some soft snow which blew up into Jamie, pulling him into the icy track of the tyres and into the snow spray. When trying to pull himself back onto his track the nose of the board stuck into the snow and he crashed at over 160kph. Luckily, he was not knocked out but he’d flipped and crashed for over 100metres before coming to a rest in the middle of the track where the crew ran to his rescue. After a couple of tense minutes, he slowly got up, and despite a bad headache, sore shoulders, and being a bit shaken up, he was not seriously injured.
This happened on the Saturday and no racing is allowed on Sunday on the lake, so Jamie had to rest and get prepared for another attempt on the Monday.
Monday came and the high winds were still there. A few adjustments were made to the track before test runs were carried out. The track seemed better, however when Jamie went for a test run behind the car, the high winds were making it too unstable in one direction. Despite this he still tried to push it but was not able to hold a solid position with the cross winds. After waiting for a couple hours, the wind died down and they were able to finally make a full speed run hitting a top speed of 211kph (131.11mph); going faster than anyone had ever been before on a snowboard.
Unfortunately, right before the timing gates the car hit a big ice bump throwing it off, meaning Niki (the driver) had to come off the acceleration very briefly. Even this brief moment meant a drastic speed difference when going through the timing gates. Despite this he was still able to break the Guinness world record for the fastest speed on a snowboard towed by a vehicle in one direction. However, to make the Guinness world record official he had to make a return run within an hour. The record would be the average speed of the 2 runs. Even though this happened, Jamie still felt he had achieved what he set out to do, regardless of the average speed. He went for the return run despite the winds picking up again and not being able to go as fast, just so that he could still make it official. In the end through the timing gates the outward run was 184.71kph and the return run was 192.37 kph making the Guinness world record (which is made up of the average of the 2 runs) 188.54kph
After breaking the record Jamie said:
“My ultimate goal was always to go faster than anyone has ever been before on a snowboard and that’s what I did, despite all the setbacks, crashes, and my back injury. I was still able to push through and achieve what I set out to do. It was a shame to not do the speed through the timing gates but at the end of the day the target was to go faster than anyone had gone before. And we still did that so I am very happy”
The Documentary about the journey he took to become the fastest person ever on a snowboard will be coming out later in the year.
Jamie still has a few other Guinness World Records in the pipeline that he wants to achieve, building on the success of this one.