News Story..
March 22, 2000
Les Arcs, France
By: Rod Ratzlaff

Shimmy into your aero-suit. Slip on your Darth Vader helmet. Have a seat and get into your tuck. Take a deep breath and let gravity have it’s way. Faster.. everything is a blur now, the wind feels like a hurricane, 100mph,  just a little more..  hit the brakes, hard. Just another day at the office for Romuald Bonvin, speedbiker.

On March 22, 2000, during the world championship of speed skiing held on the olympic track of the Arcs, he broke the official world skibob speed record, gliding at 184.9 kph (114 mph). He broke the record of 173 kph (107 mph) set in May 1999 by..... Romuald Bonvin. These records were set using a bike built by Flachsmann Switzerland.

In 1964, the first skibike world speed record was set at 166 kph (103 mph) by Eric Brenter, of Austria.  This record endured  for 35 years.

At his other “office”, Romuald is an account manager for Sun Microsystems Switzerland, who also sponsor his speedbike endeavors. His other hobbies include flying and football.

But, this is just the beginning, according to Mr. Bonvin. A new bike is in development which should enable him to break the record yet again. It is being designed by the School of Engineering-University of Geneva in collaboration with various industrial sponsors for materials, including Dynastar and Rossignol, as ski providers. More details, with photos, follow below.

Romuald Bonvin breaks world speed record, again...
Photo: Laurent Sphor
Wind tunnel test (2001) @270 kph!
Romuald believes the bike could have 250 kph  (155 mph) potential. Aerodynamics are the key.
* Updated 2006 - Another new record! See bottom of page..*
* On April 17, 2003 at Les Arcs, France, Romuald Bonvin broke his own speed record, again.. Breaking the mythical 200 kph barrier, he advanced the worlds skibob record to 201.790 kph, or 125.3 mph. Congratulations Romuald, speedbiker supreme!!

* Another record!! In April of 2006 at the Pro Mondial Championships at Les Arcs (France), Romuald again advanced the skibike speed record to an amazing 204.430kph, or 127.026mph!

A Report from Romuald:

• World record at the speed skiing championship in Les Arcs, France

~~~Not only am I one of the Service Sales employees in Gland, I’m also an avid skibob racer. Speed skiing is the fastest non-motorized sport on earth. A speed skier can go from zero to 200 km/h in less than 6 seconds. The greatest challenge in this sport was to overcome the fears and manage the acceleration in 5.6 seconds.
~~~Weather conditions were ideal – three beautiful days. The entire ‘Pro-racer’ speed ski world was present to do its best, at the fastest race of the season. The track was not exactly in top condition though; the snow was rather wet, icy and extremely abrasive, but I was ready to perform my best for the final World Cup race of the season.
~~~I had improved my skiing throughout the past few months – on the slope and also during my 280 km/h test in the wind tunnel at the University of Geneva. I need a test like this every year to be sure that all my physical resources can be used at very high speeds and that my mental capabilities can handle these extreme conditions.
~~~At this final race in Les Arcs, I increased the speed even though the start was not on the same altitude as last year. I decided it would be best to start from 150 meters below the top of this 1800 m long track with a maximum incline of 92 percent! Furthermore, I decided to do only two runs – one as a test run and one for my target – the world record.
~~~Despite my fears, I skied faster and made the cut to be the first man to ever ski more than the mythical 200 km/h with a skibob. I truly had the best run of my life. It felt so incredible to have achieved my fastest speed ever. The compression at the bottom of the track made me feel the force of gravity. I was just able to maintain control after the finish line to break the speed. This was the most difficult task considering the force that the speed generates – approximately 20’000 kg.
~~~I am really happy with my success and am looking forward to more high-speed competitions in Portillo (Chile) and in Verbier in April 2004, where the new track is the fastest in the world with a speed estimate of 265 km/h. There, if conditions allow, I will start from the very top of the Montfort mountain during the final of the World Cup 2004.
~~~Well the season has come to an end. I accomplished more than I ever could have imagined. In addition of being ranked number one in the world championship, I achieved a new world record of 201.790 km/h. This result confirmed the good shape I was in this season, and even more, was evidence that the gap to the ‘speed skier’ has been closed. Next year, with a new skibob and the latest ski technologies, my target will be to ‘run’ or should I say ‘fly’ to the limit of the most extreme possible speed. Risk gives life lots of boost... •

Romuald Bonvin
SunFlash 04/03


> November 2011: An interview with Romuald