Ice cold passion.

An interview with Guinness world record holder Robert Gull.

As soon as ice and snow appear in Sweden Robert Gull gets crazy - and so do his ideas. Robert modifies his own motorcycles in such a way that neither snow nor ice are safe from him. BMW Motorrad met with the Guinness world record holder, who wheelied at 200 km/h across the ice for the interview.

Why did you pick out a BMW RR for your Guinness world record attempt?

In 2014, I set the Guinness world record for the "fastest motorcycle wheelie on ice" at 183.3 km/h over 100 meters with a Honda. Due to the rules and regulations and of the many papers that are required, I hadn't intended to make another attempt. But then in February 2015 Ryan Suchanek from the USA broke my record.

And I knew: To get the record back, I would need a stock bike with the best possible performance for even higher speeds. Luckily my sponsor Northbike brought me together with BMW Sweden. Both helped me to recapture my world record. The result: 206.09 km/h over 100 metres - on one wheel!

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What was the feeling like to reclaim the Guinness world record?

Above all, it was a great feeling to be the first person to drive faster than 200 km/h on ice - and that on the rear wheel only. The second time was even more special since we didn't make it into the Guinness Book the first time, but now we made into the 2016 edition. All the hard work was worth it. It's clear to me that others will try to break this record, and I wish them all the best here. Without competition, we wouldn't be getting faster and faster. And we wouldn't be spurring each other on to reach ever higher speeds. Now another rider has to set the benchmark. And then we'll see whether I raise it again later. I know one thing: It's doable.

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What do say about the S 1000 XR after having set the record on an RR?

I'm quite fascinated by the BMW S 1000 XR. My father and I have devised a plan that we call 'Faroson'. It's a Swedish word that can mean 'father and son'. Or literally translated 'danger zone'. My father always wanted to take a long-haul trip to Russia or on Route 66. I'd like to take such a trip with him. We're very good friends and share lots of great memories. I find that you can't collect enough memories, which is why such a trip would give me more experiences that I can look back upon when I'm older. For such an undertaking the S 1000 XR or maybe the R 1200 GS would surely be the perfect bike.

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Where and how did you grow up?

I'm grew up in a small town called Tyresö on the outskirts of Stockholm. My mother and my father are still happily married and I have a sister who's 3 years older than me. At the moment I live in two places: With my girlfriend in Södertälje, where I work as a mechanic for Scania, and with my parents. They have a motorcycle workshop with all the fun 'toys'. That's why I'm there most weekends to play around a bit.

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How did you become such a good driver?

My father, Anders Gull, has always loved motorcycles. In his younger years, he was a Swedish Motocross champion. In 1996 he began to import pocket bikes to Sweden. I naturally wanted to try one. I still remember how he even built me a wheelie bar so that I could do wheelies just like him!

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I've done 206,09 km/h over 100 metres - on a motorbike!

Robert Gull

What races have you driven in?
I've driven in most categories that exist for modern sport bikes. I had my best years in the 125 cc Grand Prix category, where I was Swedish Champion in 2007 and 2008. I drove a whole season in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, where I was up on the podium and had good results numerous times. The same year, I had a wild card appearance in a 125 cc MotoGP race.
When we then decided after 2008 to upgrade to larger motorcycles, I switched directly to the 1000 cc class. I had to more or less fight with the transition from a two to a four-stroke engine. In 2011, on top of that, I had a serious accident, after which I sat in a wheelchair for a few months. But during this time I truly realised how much racing and bikes really mean to me.
Which motorcycles and cars do you have at home?
I spend all my money on building things in order to have fun with them. To do that, I have to settle for cheap cars. This is a conscious decision because I would rather spend the money on motorcycles. That's the reason I drive an Audi A3 - from 1997. It cost me 500 euros. Since the clutch is really bad I also have a VW Manhattan from 1990 as a backup. I got it for 170 euros. The better 'toys' are in the garage - not overly exclusive ones, but enough to have some fun. I've got a KTM 450 SMR Supermoto, a KTM 450 SXF and a Yamaha 450 YZF for motocrossing and a Honda CBR600 racing bike.
You've tried out the RR, which you set the record with, in different situations - how is it in terms of the technical requirements?
I've always been technically skilled, but the real leader was my father. Since we usually do everything together, I learn a lot from him. I have lots of ideas and tell him about them. He thinks for a while and then finds a way to implement these ideas. Our path to realisation is the exchange of ideas.
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And where do the ideas come from?
The ideas often come to me at night when I'm lying in bed and can't sleep because they vibrate in my head. Cool ideas often come about this way. And the first person I tell them to is my father. He usually laughs and tells me that what I've come up with is impossible. Then he gives it a few days worth of thought and usually finds a solution.
Are there projects by others that you support?
I try to give assistance to young racers from Sweden. Their parents often ask me for advice. I'm glad that they want help from me - and I'm happy to help.
Would you like to make a living from riding a motorcycle?
This possibility might actually exist, but it would feel too much like work. I don't want to view motorcycling as work. When I'm on my bike, I want to just be happy. And experience moments that I'll remember later. I have a 'real' job as a mechanic at Scania.
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In your opinion, why are people from Sweden such creative motorcycle manufacturers and designers?

If you think creatively, you live creatively. I believe that we have the ability to see a product before the design drawing is finished. We can imagine it and then design it in our heads. But exactly why we Swedes are so good at it is hard to say.

Have you ever had contact with your compatriot Ola Stenegard?

No, I've never been in touch with Ola Stenegard. But I've naturally heard of him and I know that he's doing amazing things in the design team and creating fantastic bikes for BMW.

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How do you make the films for your YouTube channel?

My family and my friends shoot everything. I work with full-HD onboard cameras and also with a drone. This toy belongs to my father - and that's why there are only aerial images when he's there.

Who are your motorcycling heroes - and why?

My father and Valentino Rossi. It sounds maybe strange to compare the two, but when I see my father's enthusiasm for motorcycles, it's just like watching Rossi drive. They are guided by their heart, not their head. My father was and is my best friend and supporter and my main source of inspiration. When I was 9, I went to a school party wearing motorcycle clothes and I looked just like my father. The theme of the party was "Dress like your idol".

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