H. Alex Balogi drives along Interstate 680 when suddenly another car flies past him and swerves into the next lane. He points at the car and says, “Organ donor.”

“They don’t realize how much power they’re dealing with,” Balogi says. “A crash that wouldn’t dent their paint could take off my leg.”

Balogi knows about power. A hobbyist mechanic most of his life, last year this San Jose resident set a motorcycle class land speed record on his red 1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport, a brand known more as a touring bike than for speed.

This week, he’s heading back to Bonneville for Speed Week to see if he can beat his own record: a suicidal 125 mph. But while driving to Walnut Creek to pick up a seat for another bike on a warm Saturday afternoon, both hands stay on the wheel almost the entire trip.

“I started being an idiot at 15,” he laughs, saying he would split lanes in his native Chicago at 100 mph. A Volkswagen shop apprenticeship there taught him how to wrench. Later, as a Hewlett-Packard employee, he would move to Silicon Valley. He’s now retired.

Balogi wasn’t into racing until he fell in with group of car collectors who invited him to their weekly lunch. One of the collectors, Glen Dennee, asked Balogi to help install a data acquisition system on his record-smashing lakester (an open-wheeled racecar popular with speed freaks).

Balogi toiled for weeks before completing the project the day before Speed Week opened. When they arrived at Bonneville, however, they discovered the lakester’s water pump was busted—and with it, their hopes of competing. But when the crew in the next pit over heard of the problem, they handed over a water pump off their own car. The generosity struck Balogi.

“Even the people that normally avoid each other are like that,” says Balogi. From that moment, he was “hooked on Bonneville” and land speed racing.

It took Balogi three years of modifying and racing his red Moto Guzzi before finally breaking the record last year. His bike is named Porco Rosso—Italian for “red pig”—after the titular character from famed anime director Hayao Miyazaki’s film about a World War I flying ace turned bounty hunter.

To secure the record, he’s modified his riding posture, as well: Scooting all the way back, he lays as flat as possible, tucking his feet in towards the frame. He keeps his helmet down, looking at the ground for the greater part of the run.

Dangerous? Absolutely. But he keeps a dark sense of humor about it, even when talking about the futility of his protective leather suit.

“It doesn’t protect you for shit, it just keeps all your parts in one bag,” he says. “It’s good for organ donors.”