A senior police officer who clocked a motorcyclist at 218km/h says it is one of the fastest speeds he has recorded.

Former competitive motorcycle racer Robert Noel Tichborne was riding his Kawasaki ZX 1200cc motorcycle on the Napier-Taupo road when he sped past police conducting speed checks about 1.18pm on February 22.

Tichborne, a mechanic from Clive, told police he was speeding so he could "get home quicker".

Arresting officer Senior Constable Taina Puketapu yesterday said the 56-year-old should consider himself lucky. "This was one of the fastest speeds that I've detected in many years of policing," he said.


"It was fortunate that it ended with the rider spending the day in court rather than in hospital, or even worse, by being another statistic."

In Napier District Court yesterday Tichborne pleaded guilty to a charge of driving at a dangerous speed.

His lawyer, Philip Jensen, passed a letter of apology and photos of the road to the court.

"This was a good straight piece of road with no one else on it at the time," Mr Jensen said.

He argued his client was aware of the "inherent danger" in his actions, yet said he was a former competitive motorcycle racer and therefore "knew speed".

Judge Tony Adeane said while the case was "dramatic on the face of it", he accepted there were no other motorists on the road at the time. "The greatest danger presented in this case was to himself," Judge Adeane said.

He imposed a fine of $500, court costs of $130 and a three-month driving disqualification.

After his appearance Tichborne told Hawke's Bay Today he was "remorseful" but had assessed the road and traffic conditions before deciding to accelerate. "I am a skilled rider," he said.


Asked if he agreed he was a danger only to himself, he replied "absolutely".

He had raced motorbikes competitively since his "young years" yet retired in 2010. During competitive racing he said he often reached speeds up to 260 km/h on the track.

"I won't really miss riding for the next three months. Winter's coming and I'm a fair-weather rider."

Hawke's Bay road policing Senior Sergeant Greg Brown earlier said he was "horrified" at the speed.

"This is just plain stupid, and in light of the [motorbike] crashes we have had recently."

A police spokesman yesterday refused to disclose the highest recorded national road-speed due to "public safety reasons".


"We do not want to encourage copycat behaviour," the spokesman said.

In 2011, Hastings baker James Buckrell, 36, was clocked at 202km/h in his Holden Commodore. He was fined $1250, ordered to pay court costs of $132 and disqualified from driving for eight months.