World's Oldest Motorcycle Racer Sets Guinness World Record
On September 13, 2023, the Guinness Book of World Records announced a new record holder for the world's oldest motorcycle racer. Leslie Harris, aged 97 at the time, competed on his BSA Bantam at the Pukekohe 43rd Classic Motorcycle Festival in Auckland, New Zealand in February 2023.
The event was already significant for multiple reasons. Harris raced alongside his eldest son Rod, 64, and granddaughter Olivia, 21, making it a special family affair. Additionally, it was the last time the event would be held at the circuit, adding a bittersweet element to the occasion.
All three members of the Harris family participated in the Regularity race, which focuses on consistency rather than speed. Les had previously won this event in 2019 at the age of 93.
Les had faced various obstacles preventing him from competing between 2019 and 2023. He underwent hip surgery after the 2019 event, followed by a rib injury during qualifying in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic further halted racing events for a couple of years. However, in 2023, the drought ended, and all three members of the Harris family were able to race.
Les finished in fourth place, Rod took eighth, and Olivia placed 21st in her first year of competition. With Les' extensive racing experience spanning 70 years since 1953, it is likely that the younger generations have fond memories of time spent at the track with him.
As a Guinness World Record holder, Les plans to continue racing in February 2024 at the 44th Classic Motorcycle Festival, aiming to break his own record at the age of 98.