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Life Begins at 200 (mph)
August 5, 2010 3:36 AM   Subscribe

"...Connie set a land speed record on her 1350cc Suzuki going more than 209 mph and Nick, though not a record for the type of bike he was on, managed to top 220. She said setting the mark provided the biggest high of her life. He said he'd like to get up to 300 mph one day. She's 70 years old. He's 80."

You can see a brief glimpse of her in the saddle starting at 18 seconds into this video.

A few more photos of Connie and her machine. (Photos from Southern California Timing Association website.)
posted by maxwelton (48 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
you know, maybe when you hit 7 decades you figure, 'what the hell? GO FOR IT!' and certainly they know what broken bones & bruises feel like. but this is just plain stupid.
posted by msconduct at 3:53 AM on August 5, 2010


When I grow up, I wanna be just like her.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 3:54 AM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


It was just a year and a half ago that Connie Beavers was airlifted to a hospital after breaking 12 ribs and puncturing a lung in a motorcycle crash at El Mirage dry lake bed in the Mojave desert.

And she got back on the horse. Connie is all kinds of awesome.
posted by three blind mice at 4:02 AM on August 5, 2010


Old age: You're doing it right!
posted by Salvor Hardin at 4:13 AM on August 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


This is good stuff... Sometimes I wonder if I should still be riding...then I see someone like these folks!! Good for them!
posted by HuronBob at 4:15 AM on August 5, 2010


This is one of my favorite motor sports. Lots of history, big boom after WWII with vets racing hot rods in the desert and the birth of the SCTA. The participants are mostly amateurs. Check out The World's Fastest Indian for another geezer goes racing story, or watch the Nat Geo documentary about Bonneville. Go Connie!
posted by fixedgear at 4:16 AM on August 5, 2010


I don't want these people on roads anywhere near me.

Well, really I don't want any people over 70 on roads near me. But these people, in particular, please don't come near me.
posted by Jimbob at 4:19 AM on August 5, 2010


@Jimbob: Just stay in the slow lane and you'll be just fine!
posted by Djinh at 4:23 AM on August 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


If only we could fast forward to Jimbob's 70th birthday, when he solemnly surrenders his drivers license.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 4:26 AM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I know it isn't the sharpest photo and all, but she doesn't look 70. Perhaps speed is the fountain of youth? (provided you don't crash and burn).
posted by dabitch at 4:26 AM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


she doesn't look 70

I think it's a relativistic effect. Subjectively, she's only 32.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 4:29 AM on August 5, 2010 [10 favorites]


If only we could fast forward to Jimbob's 70th birthday, when he solemnly surrenders his drivers license.

To be fair, there are definitely some people who're sharper at 70 than others are at 55. It's kind of insane that we allow people to drive 50+ years after they've proven a capability to drive simply because they remembered to renew their license and kept their eyeglasses prescriptions updated.

I'm not sure exactly at what age it should kick in, but there definitely needs to be a point at which mandatory testing happens every 5 years such that drivers prove they're at least as good as nervous 17-year-olds. This won't even keep all terrible drivers off the road, because most can drive courteously for 15 minutes in the presence of an official, but it'll keep the most egregiously dangerous from driving.

Not that this has any chance of passing as a law. If it didn't happen before, it's not gonna happen now that Baby Boomers are hitting retirement age.
posted by explosion at 4:50 AM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is badass. I hope my parents are brave enough to go for shit they love when they get to that age. Hell, I hope I am.
posted by edbles at 4:51 AM on August 5, 2010


I also think it's rad that they work on their own machines, this is an all-consuming passion.
posted by edbles at 4:52 AM on August 5, 2010


It was just a year and a half ago that Connie Beavers was airlifted to a hospital after breaking 12 ribs and puncturing a lung in a motorcycle crash at El Mirage dry lake bed in the Mojave desert.

And she got back on the horse. Connie is all kinds of awesome.


I'm wondering how insurance works for her.
posted by Fizz at 5:00 AM on August 5, 2010


"I'm wondering how insurance works for her." Just like downtown, Fizz.

Anyone with a hobby such as this pays higher premiums for life insurance...and probably for health insurance as well.... just a price you pay 'cuz you love what you're doing....

JimBob...these folks probably have better skills than most 30 year olds.... a bit ageist there, aren't ya?
posted by HuronBob at 5:07 AM on August 5, 2010


With Australian eyes, it just horrifies me to see people, any people, on sports bikes without helmets.
posted by wilful at 5:23 AM on August 5, 2010


Bob, the parenthesis performance art is starting to ache.
posted by Wolof at 5:33 AM on August 5, 2010


Fuck, ellipsis art. Posted when potted, although sentiment is accurate.
posted by Wolof at 5:35 AM on August 5, 2010


Sometimes I think the point to life is to do the maximum possible number of life-shortening things. Which means you don't want them to be too life-shortening, or else you don't get to do any more of them. But you also don't want to sit around being perfectly safe all the time, since that's not as much fun.

It sounds like these folks maybe have a similar idea. It also occurs to me now that the optimum risk level actually increases as one gets older, as the number of potential future life-shortening things one could miss out on, sadly, decreases all the time.
posted by FishBike at 5:49 AM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Happened to notice on the SCTA website linked in the FPP, this news item:

"03/03/10: Nick Nicolaides and Connie Beavers were married on March 3rd. They were seen spectating at the Mojave Mile and Connie was glowing (as usual). Connie was recently diagnosed with liver cancer and is being treated at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles while waiting for a transplant donor. The prognosis is reportedly very good for her. She is a very strong lady."
posted by woodblock100 at 5:59 AM on August 5, 2010



Not that this has any chance of passing as a law. If it didn't happen before, it's not gonna happen now that Baby Boomers are hitting retirement age.

There are very few cities you can reasonably live in without some sort of access to a vehicle.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:23 AM on August 5, 2010


Perhaps speed is the fountain of youth?

No, sorry, it's not. Not for most people. What we have here are outliers. Sexy-cool outliers, sure. But outliers nonetheless. Like pack-a-day smokers that live to be 100. Or lottery winners.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:25 AM on August 5, 2010


I would drink a beer or three with these two. That is my criteria. Would I be willing to sit at a bar and have beers with them?

Seem like interesting people who have thought out their decisions and are good with them. What more do you want?

Sad to hear about the cancer. Probably what prompted them to get married.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:26 AM on August 5, 2010


There are very few cities you can reasonably live in without some sort of access to a vehicle.

And ain't that a god damned shame.
posted by anthill at 6:33 AM on August 5, 2010


Well, really I don't want any people over 70 on roads near me. But these people, in particular, please don't come near me.

I think I'd be more comfortable with these people driving next to me than you, JimBob. If you can make it to 70 or 80 as a motorcycle rider, yur doin' it right. There are old riders, and there are bold riders, but there are no old, bold riders.

If you get killed on a motorcycle at 30, you've wasted 45 years of life. If you get killed on a motorcycle at 80, you've wasted a handful of years. The older you are, the less risky it is!
posted by pjaust at 8:00 AM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


My mom is running for the state legislature, right now in the midst of the race, the first time she's run for elected office. She'll be 70 in November.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:08 AM on August 5, 2010


There are very few cities you can reasonably live in without some sort of access to a vehicle.

That sucks. Let's fix that, too. But that's a remarkably poor reason to avoid double-checking that people can still drive safely.
posted by pmb at 8:37 AM on August 5, 2010


such that drivers prove they're at least as good as nervous 17-year-olds.

Oh, no thanks!

For both men and women, drivers aged 16 to 19 years of age have the highest average annual crash and traffic violation rates of any other age group.

I'd rather share the road with Connie and Nick than a 17-year-old.
posted by rtha at 8:50 AM on August 5, 2010


but she doesn't look 70

I'll say she doesn't.

Okay, that's it. I'm buying my ass a motorcycle.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 8:58 AM on August 5, 2010


I'd rather share the road with Connie and Nick than a 17-year-old.

Personally, I prefer my roads free of reckless drivers no matter what age they are.

If Connie and Nick can do this on empty roads without endangering other drivers then that's great.

But it's hard to control any vehicle at such high speeds. I'd rather not be collateral damage.
posted by zarq at 9:20 AM on August 5, 2010


She looks like she's having a great time. And she and her partner both look decades younger than their ages.
posted by zippy at 9:29 AM on August 5, 2010


"...Connie set a land speed record on her 1350cc Suzuki going more than 209 mph"

I bet she had her turn signal on the entire time.
posted by puny human at 9:42 AM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


zarq, did you even click any of the links? They set these records on speedways and empty dry lake beds.
posted by zsazsa at 10:09 AM on August 5, 2010


They would have gone faster except they had to stop at 4 for dinner.

Ok, I got nuthin'

Well, except for the 'hard to control these vehicles at high speeds' comment, actually thats false too, and makes me think the poster has never ridden a m/c. Larger downside to a fuckup for sure.
posted by sfts2 at 10:16 AM on August 5, 2010


I did. Did you read rtha's comment? That's what I was responding to.
posted by zarq at 10:16 AM on August 5, 2010


Well, except for the 'hard to control these vehicles at high speeds' comment, actually thats false too, and makes me think the poster has never ridden a m/c. Larger downside to a fuckup for sure.

It was "hard to control any vehicle at high speeds." Not "these."

I've ridden a motorcycle.
posted by zarq at 10:17 AM on August 5, 2010


This has to suck for their kids.

Imagine trying to explain why you don't want your teenaged son to get a motorcycle. You point out that they are dangerous and he could hurt himself. He comes back with "But grandma does it".
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:31 AM on August 5, 2010


And I was responding to explosions's comment: I'm not sure exactly at what age it should kick in, but there definitely needs to be a point at which mandatory testing happens every 5 years such that drivers prove they're at least as good as nervous 17-year-olds.

I was taking issue with the implication that 17-year-olds are "good" drivers. They're not, statistically speaking. They're worse, in fact, than older drivers. That was my point. My point was not that I'd like to share a public road with Connie and Nick going 300 mph.
posted by rtha at 11:10 AM on August 5, 2010


I knew a couple like these two - the man was a consummate gentleman around 70 years old and rode a CBR600 sport bike. The wife rode a fast Yamaha.

He died on a ride, missing a corner somehow and going over the edge. His wife was a much faster rider and when he didn't show up, she rode back and forth a few times, then went home. I don't know if he died instantly, but I hope so. I went to the funeral and haven't ridden with the local group much since.

I always think of him when I consider when or if I'll stop riding.
posted by letitrain at 11:32 AM on August 5, 2010


OK. Fair enough.
posted by zarq at 11:32 AM on August 5, 2010


"I'm not sure exactly at what age it should kick in, but there definitely needs to be a point at which mandatory testing happens every 5 years such that drivers prove they're at least as good as nervous 17-year-olds. "

I suggest 21. And make the tests a good order of magnitude harder at the same time.
posted by Mitheral at 12:30 PM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Impressive, but not as impressive as setting the blind land-speed record.
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:54 PM on August 5, 2010


To all those arguing for more testing:

Driving skills don't have much to do with all the idiot drivers on the road. They all know they should look before they change lanes. They all know the right of way rules and all that.

The problem is that most people you meet just don't give a rat's ass about anyone they don't know and feel they're entitled to do what [i]they[/i] want, when they want it and fuck everyone else: If you're in the way when I want to change lanes, you'd better move over.

We, as a society, can improve a lot, including our road manners, by starting to give a fuck about everyone else.
posted by Djinh at 1:58 PM on August 5, 2010


Okay okay, it was a cheap shot. I suck. Old people driving rule. There, you all win.
posted by Jimbob at 2:09 PM on August 5, 2010


Obligatory mention of the delightful based-on-true-old-man-on-fast-bike-breaks-record-story movie The World's Fastest Indian. Admittedly Bert Munro was only in his 60s, but the principle's the same and the movie is lovely.
posted by Hogshead at 4:12 PM on August 5, 2010


"Driving skills don't have much to do with all the idiot drivers on the road. They all know they should look before they change lanes. They all know the right of way rules and all that."

I disagree. There is a significant portion of the population who doesn't remember, if they ever actually knew, how to
  • navigate a yield and stop sign intersection;
  • what to do when a regular traffic light goes to flashing red one way and yellow the other;
  • how to parallel park;
  • what a flashing green traffic light means;
  • the difference between a solid and broken white line;
  • and probably dozens of others.
Some of these deficiencies make them a serious hazard.
posted by Mitheral at 5:00 PM on August 5, 2010


Nobody reads my comments.
posted by fixedgear at 7:37 PM on August 5, 2010


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