Vicar speeds to new world record

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A VALIANT vicar has celebrated setting an inaugural world record for a motorcycle hearse on which he reached a top speed of 114mph at Elvington Airfield.

Rev Ray Biddiss, who calls himself “heaven’s angel,” needed to reach a speed of more than 80mph on the airfield runway in his specially built “trike-hearse” to be recognised by Guinness World Records.

The clergyman, from Halifax, managed to hit 114.1mph in The Rocket, which he says he uses for real funeral services.

Built by Liversedge-based DTB Panther Trikes, The Rocket is a Triumph Rocket III with a 2.3 litre, three cylinder engine made to Mr Biddiss’s specifications and within the relevant road traffic regulations.

The unique hybrid trike-hearse merges the body of the British-made 2008 Triumph Rocket III trike conversion with a coffin carrier.

The reverend, who has been biking for more than 40 years, said before the record run: “Many people who are, or have been, bikers agree that a motorcycle hearse is the only way to travel for your final journey.”

He said he hoped that by showcasing The Rocket, bikers around the UK who do not want to make their final journey in a car may opt for his creation, which is available to all funeral directors.

Mr Biddiss said: “The Rocket is the purest form of bike hearse. Not a side car or trailer, it’s a true vehicle in its own right.

“I wanted to create the most powerful of all coffin carriers - a vehicle that maintains the integrity of a motorcycle, appeals to the most passionate of bikers and brings a credible alternative to the traditional four-wheeled hearse or other motorcycle hearse outfits.”