Monday, day two at Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials (BMST) started off with gusting winds that threatened to spoil the epic conditions at the salt flats, but racers wouldn’t be denied the opportunity to put their names in the FIM World Records books. Four more records were set on August 26 with some upping their own records set just yesterday.
Along with the good fortune came the bad luck for several teams…
The FIM’s own Ralph Bohnhorst, debuting the brand new “Aurelija” sidecar streamliner, was forced to end his week prematurely after discovering that yesterday’s vibration was in fact engine failure. Bohnhorst, an FIM Steward for MotoGP and five-time German National Sidecar Champion, headed out for a “shakedown run” on day one, but pulled off when he felt a vibration in the engine.
The FIM World Records event at BMST marked the first run on the salt for the American-made sidecar streamliner project, which Bohnhorst explained they have been working on for five years. They were, of course, disappointed in the mechanical issue, but didn’t come to Bonneville with the expectation of reaching their ultimate goal (300 mph) on their first time out.
“Hopefully we can reach 300 mph, but that will take time,” Bohnhorst explained. “Not at this event. This is our test event and later we want to go very fast. It’s possible to fix [the engine] here, but we said we’ll do it in our workshop because it’s more clean and everything and we’ll come back for another event.”
Nonetheless, it was a worthwhile trip for the Hayabusa-powered Aurelija. The team got to practice some push starts, and Bohnhorst was able to get a feel for the brand-new streamliner, which he notes is very stable.
Monday was also the end of the road for Hirohisa Koiso and his team. The Las Vegas, Nevada rider wanted to follow yesterday’s record of 223.195 mph (359.197 km/h) with an even bigger one, and made a tremendous improvement with his opening run, reaching an incredible 259 mph (416 km/h). But Hiro ran out of luck as he sped through the trap when the front tire began to shred. “We still made it out the back door and got 260 mph (418 km/h)on the kilo,” crewmember Jeff said. “So far it’s the fastest time of the meet.”
An inspection of the motorcycle back at the pits also revealed a hole in one of the pistons of the big V-twin Harley-Davidson, signaling the end of competition for Koiso and his team. But with one FIM World Record on day one, and possibly the quickest one-way pass of the meet, Koiso might not be too disappointed.
Kazutoshi Mizutani, piloting the all-electric Motibec EV-02 motorcycle, aimed to take the silent assailant to a 200-mph run (321 km/h), aiming to break the current Electric +300kg record of 196.420 mph (316.107 km/h). “Kaz” was out to a great run, but experienced a wobble while in the timed mile which quickly turned into a wild ride. The Japanese rider came off at 184 mph, sending the Motibec machine sliding for over 350 yards.
Fortunately, Mizutani was uninjured in the crash aside from a twisted wrist and a skinned knee. Unfortunately for the team who traveled all the way from Japan to compete at BMST for a new FIM World Record, they are finished for the event.
In another unique FIM World Record entry at BMST, Pietro Zanetti launched a 50cc assault on Bonneville aboard his 1963 Mosquito 38 B moped. The unique machine proved to be more than just a beautiful copper-trimmed style statement as Zanetti scooted through the timed mile with dogged persistence. Unfortunately the winds kicked up at the end of the day, which prevented Zanetti from completing a return run to put his name in the FIM World Record books, but tomorrow will hopefully afford him another chance.
Racers Cayla Rivas and Stephen Garn both managed to up their own records today by a few miles per hour. Rivas and the Royal Enfield team are relentless in their attempt to find more speed aboard the 650 Twin, and are now on the cusp of the 140-mph barrier. Rivas averaged two runs for a new record of 139 mph (224 km/h).
Jay Allen also claimed a new FIM World Record on day two. Allen rode his “Poor-man’s Turbo” Harley-Davidson Dyna into the record books with an impressive 191.8-mph average (308.6 km/h), marking his second FIM World Record in as many days. Steve Garn took his 1974 Yamaha RD350 to 116 mph (187 km/h) today, upping his own 110-mph record set just yesterday. Garn insists the little twin has more to give, and plans to take to the course early tomorrow in pursuit of even bigger numbers.
With mild temperatures and calm air in the forecast for tomorrow, racers are looking forward to improved conditions and another full day on the salt.
Story and Photos by Jean Turner