The millionaire founder of Maximuscle has been revealed as the driver who died trying to break the British land speed record yesterday.
Zef Eisenberg was killed when his car ‘veered off the runway and flipped’ at Elvington Airfield, a former RAF base to the east of York, on Thursday afternoon.
The 47-year-old from Guernsey, who launched the supplement brand in 1995, had previously been involved in a 230mph crash at the same track in 2016, which nearly killed him.
Eisenberg’s wife confirmed to the BBC it was him who had died as a source revealed he had ‘veered off the runway and flipped’ the car.
His last Facebook post shows his Madmax Porsche team car refuelling on Wednesday, with the caption: ‘Late night testing….for the next stage of MADness….’
Zef Eisenberg (pictured with Keanu Reeves in April) was killed when his car ‘veered off the runway and flipped’ at Elvington Airfield, a former RAF base to the east of York, on Thursday afternoon
Eisenberg’s wife confirmed to the BBC it was him who had died as a source revealed he had ‘veered off the runway and flipped’ the car
The driver died while trying to complete a land speed record. A car is seen on the back of a tow truck
His last Facebook post shows his Madmax team car refuelling on Wednesday with the caption: ‘Late night testing….for the next stage of MADness….’
Officers wearing face coverings search the area where the car crashed during an attempt at the British land speed record yesterday
How a bodybuilder made millions by getting into the fitness industry before turning his attention to speed
Zef Eisenberg was originally a gym instructor, nutritionist and herbalist, with expertise in the health industry who started his company as it was about to undergo rapid growth. In 1995 he started Maximuscle, the only UK-based sports nutrition supplier at a time when the American market was already saturated – but still growing, as the health movement gripped the USA.
Eisenberg already had a cult following when, as a competitor himself, he wrote and self-published an expose dispelling myths on what products worked and which did not, selling 24,000 copies. The book, in 1993, earned him the £3,000 that he initially used to set up Maximuscle in 1995. He never borrowed a penny but working ‘stupid hours’, he made it a market leader in Britain.
The creatine product, which aids performance, was used by England and Arsenal football teams, and traded off a reputation for including nothing that would make professional athletes fail drug tests. He built it into Britain’s largest supplier of sports nutritional products, which was sold to Darwin Private Equity in 2007 for £75million but Mr Eisenbrg remained the largest private shareholder.
In 2011, he cashed in, getting £162million for his stake from drugs company GlaxoSmithKline, and originally agreed to stay on as a consultant. However, he later left Maximuscle altogether and launched a £150million Dragon’s Den-style health fund, hearing pitches from entrepreneurs.
Eisenberg, who has a Guinness World Record and about 50 British and world land speed records, was well known for presenting ITV4’s Speed Freaks and The Bike Show.
The former bodybuilder’s 2016 crash at Elvington Airfield nearly killed him as he drove a jet turbine-powered motorbike at 230mph to try to set a new world record.
He was riding a £350,000 bike – the fastest of its kind in the world – built by the Madmax team he funded with cash from the £162million sale of Maximuscle in 2011.
The incident left him with 11 broken bones and he was presumed dead but overcome the devastating injuries and was back at the racetrack for the anniversary of his crash.
Mr Eisenberg, also a herbalist, personal trainer and nutritionist, founded the Maximuscle company in 1995 with just £3,000 of his own money.
He built it into Britain’s largest supplier of sports nutritional products, which was sold to Darwin Private Equity in 2007 for £75million but Mr Eisenbrg remained the largest private shareholder.
In 2011 he cashed in, getting £162million for his stake from drugs company GlaxoSmithKline, and originally agreed to stay on as a consultant.
However, he later left Maximuscle altogether and launched a £150million Dragon’s Den-style health fund, hearing pitches from entrepreneurs.
North Yorkshire Police said they were called out to the ‘serious collision’ shortly after 4.30pm. It said the driver’s family had been informed and an investigation into the circumstances had begun.
Motorsport UK said it was working with the police and event organiser to probe the tragic incident.
In a statement, the body said: ‘Motorsport UK is deeply saddened to announce that a fatal accident occurred this afternoon at Elvington Airfield during a British Land Speed Record attempt.
‘Motorsport UK, together with the event organiser and the local police, has begun a full investigation into the circumstances of the incident.
‘Further information will be provided once the initial findings of the investigation are available. Our thoughts are with the driver’s family, who have been informed, the organisers of the event, and other members of the motorsport community present.’
North Yorkshire Police said they were called out to a ‘serious collision’ shortly after 4.30pm
North Yorkshire Police were again on the scene of the crash on Friday morning as their investigations continue
Last year Eisenberg beat the ‘flying mile’ record held by actor Idris Elba, who took the title in 2015 after it stood for 88 years when Sir Malcolm Campbell reached 174mph in his iconic aero-engined Blue Bird.
Mr Eisenberg had already broken the sand speed record on a motorbike and added the flying mile record at 182mph (293km/h).
Recent British land speed records:
- October 2013: Paul Drayson hit 205mph to set the electric car land speed record.
- May 2014: Sam Green at Elvington Airfield hit 105mph on an electric Saietta R bike.
- May 2018: Zef Eisenberg at Pendine Sands hit 201.5mph on a supercharged Suzuki Hayabusa bike.
- April 2019: Zef Eisenberg at Pendine Sands hit 182.49mph on a supercharged Suzuki Hayabusa bike.
- May 2019: Zef Eisenberg at Pendine Sands in Wales hit 210.332mph in a custom Porsche 911 Turbo.
But his attempts to top 200mph were thwarted after the engine on his Mad Max 400bhp supercharged Suzuki Hayabusa blew up.
He averaged 182.4mph over two miles on the beach in Carmarthenshire.
A flying mile takes the average speed over two mile-long runs, with a mile to get up to speed.
Actor Idris Elba achieved 180.361mph in a 650hp Bentley Continental Super Sport twin-turbo W12 in 2015.
However Eisenberg needed only a single run in both directions on the to surpass them both, with a rear tyre that was found to be falling apart after the first run.
Elvington was an RAF station until 1992 and has become a popular motorsports venue since entering private ownership. It has hosted dozens of world record attempts and is also used as a filming location.
On Sunday, Jason Liversidge, who has motor neurone disease, set a world speed record in his custom-made electric wheelchair.
And last week Andy Jennings, 28, from Swindon, set the Guinness World Record for the fastest wheelie bin, reaching speeds of 45.35mph in his homemade motorised bin.
It was the scene of a horror crash involving former Top Gear presenter 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.
Elvington Airfield was the scene of a crash involving former Top Gear presenter Hammond in 2006