Speed record holder who died in Porsche crash was greatly admired, family says

Straightliners Land Speed
Straightliners Land Speed - (Copyright PA Media)
19:02pm, Fri 02 Oct 2020
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Daredevil businessman Zef Eisenberg, who died trying to break a speed record in a Porsche 911 Turbo, was greatly loved by his family who “followed his progress with great admiration”, they said in a statement.

The 47-year-old father-of two died at the scene of the crash at Elvington Airfield near York on Thursday afternoon, when his vehicle went out of control at high speed at the end of a run.

He had already survived Britain’s fastest motorcycle crash at the same airfield in 2016 when his turbine-powered motorbike failed to stop at the end of the runway, breaking bones in his legs and pelvis – which meant he had to learn to walk again.

Eisenberg, a former teenage bodybuilder from north London, had made his fortune with the Maximuscle fitness brand of protein powder, eventually selling to pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline and moving to Guernsey.

He concentrated his mind on motor sport, and once said: “The human body and a vehicle engine have close similarities.

“Both require the best care, fuel and maintenance to perform at their best.”

An ultra-speed motorbike racer, in the past decade he amassed over 90 land speed records on two wheels and four.

After five years of intense work on a powerful bike, he set a new Guinness World record for the fastest turbine bike in the world at 234.01mph.

He underwent gruelling rehabilitation after the devastating 2016 crash and exactly a year later he was competing again on the rebuilt bike.

His enthusiasm for motor sport led to presenting the ITV show Speed Freaks, focusing on the design, build and engineering of extreme cars.

Last year, also at Elvington, he broke the record for the fastest unfaired electric motorbike and dedicated the achievement to friend and colleague Daley Mathison was due to ride in the Isle of Man TT Zero race earlier that year.

Eisenberg told the PA news agency he carried a photo of his friend in his leathers and also wore Mathison’s knee slides at the time, adding: “He was with me on every ride.

“We all felt he was there with us.

“He’s hopefully smiling down now from heaven.”

His family released a tribute statement, which said: “Known for the enthusiasm that he applied to each of his projects, Eisenberg injected his positivity into everyone he came into contact with.

“They, in turn, were left feeling upbeat and in an enlightened mood.

“His family have described him as a ‘true genius with unique talents’.

“Eisenberg leaves behind a loving partner Mirella D’Antonio and two children.

“His parents and four siblings all adored him and followed his progress with great admiration.

“All have expressed their great sadness and ask for their privacy to be respected at this tragic time.”

Motorsport UK said a full investigation will be held into what happened.

Elvington Airfield was the scene of a crash involving former Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond in 2006.

The 50-year-old was left in a coma for two weeks and with brain injuries after crashing a jet-powered car.

The privately-owned venue, which is an active airfield, is also a facility for driving, driver training, filming and other testing purposes for professional organisations.

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