Biker banned for `160mph madness'

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A motorcyclist whose speed was clocked by police at 178mph was sentenced yesterday to 180 hours' community service and banned from driving for two years.

Anthony Pearce's speed was measured as he rode his Honda Fireblade machine along the A38 near Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, in July last year. But after independent tests by Motorcycle News magazine, commissioned by Pearce, proved that the bike had a maximum speed of 160mph, the speeding charge was dropped.

Pearce, 31, who admitted dangerous driving, was also ordered to pay £45 costs and take an extended driving test before requalifying for a full licence.

Ian Whitney, for the prosecution, told Sutton Coldfield magistrates that Pearce's excessive speed was a danger to other drivers. He said a police officer had spotted a motorcycle clearly travelling at very high speed. "As it passed under a bridge the equipment recorded a very high - exceptionally high - speed. The defendant carried on for three miles before he was stopped."

David Munro, for Pearce, said his client had "succumbed to a moment of temptation to open the throttle and see what the machine could do".

Pearce said after the case: "Ten seconds of sheer madness has cost me the lot. I have lost my freedom, my bike and I could lose my job and maybe even my marriage. I have done a stupid thing and I have to accept the consequences."