Editor’s note: Nancy Cox is the founder of Research Story Consulting and former CPG corporate researcher. Her work and play include words, sketchpads, cooking (not baking) and the occasional sock puppet. 

Passions, hobbies, healthy distractions and even guilty pleasures – discover how the research community plays and how that plays out in their work life. In the Venn diagram of work and play, what happens when work and play overlap? Research colleagues share their work and play stories in this interview series by Nancy Cox. 

My play is top speed/land speed motorcycle racing with Straightliners Motorsport. When I’m racing, I only think about competing against myself: I want the fastest speed possible from my motorbike, a Gen 1 Suzuki Hayabusa (1300 cc, ~170 bhp). In land speed racing, people are racing to set world records at Guinness-officiated events such as the annual Top Speed and Wheelie Records at Elvington Airfield in York, England. To give you an idea of the records involved, you have land speed racers running 260+ mph, aiming for 300 mph and the wheelie boys going 217 mph on one wheel – for a full kilometer. We’re currently building a Turbo bike with 500 bhp which means I’ll be regularly seeing – hopefully! – 200+ mph. On my current bike, I’m only doing 176 mph – the top end of its limits.

I work on my speed all year – much like my research innovation work, there is the constant quest to find an edge. There’s a lot of experimentation. Wondering, what if I tried this? Asking others what they are trying? What have they learned? I think people would be surprised at how cooperative this community is. Yes, we’re super competitive. But we are enormously unselfish. At events, you’ll see someone miss their turn to race because they’ve gone off to get a part that someone else needs.

The Wheelie Weekend is the biggest event of the year – and my happy place. Competitors from all over the world st...

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