On the plus side, James Foldenauer now holds a semi-official record as the fastest convicted speeder in the state of Iowa. The down side to that is that Foldenauer is now facing a one-year suspension of his license, serious fines, up to two years in prison for eluding police, and, we’ll bet, some impressive legal bills.
The Council Bluff man’s troubles began when police tried to stop him for traveling 89 mph though a construction zone on August 5, 2009. A woman riding with Foldenauer on a second motorcycle stopped, but Foldenauer didn’t.
Instead, the motorcyclist opened the throttle of his 2003 Suzuki Hayabusa, a bike capable of 200 mph with a few simple (and common) modifications. The rider quickly eluded police in patrol cars, but didn’t bank on the fact that the Iowa State Patrol was also clocking him via aircraft.
Trooper Scott Pigsley, the pilot, watched Foldenauer split between lanes of traffic and even dodge cars on both shoulders. Pigsley used pavement markings and a stopwatch to determine the calculated average speed, then followed the rider to his Council Bluffs home.
Michael Murphy, Foldenauer’s attorney, maintained his client’s innocence despite the eyewitness testimonial. Murphy told the Des Moines Register, “His motorcycle was... kind of a bright orange. Everyone (in law enforcement) identified a red motorcycle, so that was the problem we had.”
Jurors weren’t convinced by that argument, and we doubt we would have been either. At speeds approaching the double-ton, we suspect that bright orange looks an awful lot like red.
Foldenauer may have earned some expensive bragging rights in Iowa, but he’s got nothing on a rider from Stillwater, Minnesota. In 2004, a Minnesota state trooper (also in an airplane) clocked Samuel Armstrong Tilley at an average speed of 205 mph aboard a Honda RC51.