Traverse City Man Quietly Celebrates World Records in Land Speed Racing

Michael Cole, manager at Cartridge World in Traverse City, has a mighty secret: he’s a three-time national champion and world record-breaking land speed racer.

Cole co-opened Cartridge World with Bill Burch on South Airport Road five years ago.

In honor of their anniversary and the finalization of his racing career, Cole brought in his Kawasaki motorcycle and some gear from his past, for customers to check out all throughout the month of April.

He raced on 10-mile tracks in the Bonneville Salt Flats and broke world records there in 2009, 2016 and most recently in 2021.

Now retired from racing, he says it was the greatest adrenaline rush.

“You’re actually, pedal-to-the-metal, full throttle for eight miles, if you imagine doing that in your car or any of the new motorcycles, it’s very exciting,” says Cole.

Growing up racing his whole life, he loves to talk about his time on the tracks with anyone who stops in.

“To stand on the race course where men have died trying to set world records is an awesome experience,” says Cole. “I’ve seen two fatalities out there, simply trying to set records, so to have three, I’ve been very blessed.”

Cole says he’s doing motorcycle restorations now and hopes to take his bike on the road, talking to shop classes about engineering and restoring vehicles.