ACTIVE AGEING: Peter is speeding his way through a full life
PETER Mounsey plans to celebrate his 90th birthday by attempting to set a world land speed record on a salt lake in South Australia.
The master mariner, who has sailed around the world twice, completed several short and single-handed ocean races with great success and last month helped sail a 30-foot yacht from Sydney to Hobart, has caught a land bug.
Early next year he will head to Lake Gairdner to participate in the Dry Lakes Racing Association's annual Speed Week.
"I am going to see if I can do 100 miles an hour on a 77-year-old bike," he said.
"For me, life is doing things and while I can do it, I will try it."
Peter will 90 by the time he attempts the record in February 2018.
Living next door to him is Stuart Hooper, the owner of a velocette motorcycle which he has used for salt lake speed records for last several years.
Stuart broke a world speed record last year at Lake Gairdner when he raced his modified 1959 velocette to 193.061mph.
"I went with him last year," Peter said.
"I thought, s**t, I can do this.
"Whether I do or not, is another thing, but I will give it a try."
Stuart will be alongside Peter in 2018 as they push their motorcycles against the clock on Lake Gairdner which is located about 150km north-west of Port Augusta.
It's a large, dry salt lake which doesn't connect to river or ocean, of about 80 miles long and 20 miles wide.
"It's just about solid salt," Peter said.
"You have to go through some desert to get there; it's a bit hair-raising.
"Then you have to go from dustpan down onto a landing where it is shallow salt and follow a platform which goes out until it's solid enough for a car to be on."
While Stuart will be pushing his much larger Velocette on the longer 9-mile course for motorbikes aiming to achieve more than 175 miles an hour, Peter will be on the shorter course for bike speeds under 175 miles.
There are laser beams about half-a-mile apart on the track which are used to record speeds at the critical judging time.
Over five days of Speed Week the drivers can make several speed attempts.
This year among the international field of participants was a blindfolded rider, Ben Felten who achieved 125mph, so why not a 90-year-old who has mastered the ocean and now wants to master the lake ?
"There's no personal gain (doing this) except my own satisfaction of achieving something that not many people do," he said.
"I'm a bit afraid of motorbikes, but it will safe as a bank out there as you just go in a straight line."