Most competitors had packed it up by the fifth and final day of Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trial (BMST), but those who were still active at the meet took it all the way down to the wire in search of world-record speed on Thursday, August 29. The remarkable Belen Wagner came to BMST an 18-time FIM World Record holder, and helped herself to two more records today to make it an even 20 in her collection. Wagner demonstrated her breadth of skill by starting her day with a record aboard her KTM 125cc two-stroke and ending it with a 219-mph pass aboard her 1600cc turbo-charged Suzuki Hayabusa.
“I backed it up with a 218 on a 213-mph world record,” Wagner said of taking home her 20th FIM World Record aboard her Scott Horner-built Hayabusa. Her combined runs amounted to a new record of 217 mph, also marking the final FIM World Record of the week.
“It’s just been a great year,” said Wagner, who also took home multiple national titles. “The salt’s awesome. The volunteers are just pushing people through the line so fast, it’s glorious.”
Cayla Rivas of the S&S Royal Enfield team was another rider who took it down to the wire, lining up for more attempts on Thursday morning before the close of the meet at noon. Although they did not up their record from yesterday, Rivas and the crew consider it a very successful week.
“I’m pretty happy with the final results. We bumped our own record six or seven times, blew two engines, and upped the record by 57 mph so I’d say we had a pretty successful week,” said Rivas.
Despite six consecutive long, hot days on the salt, and no less than 22 runs on the course, the 18-year-old seemed to be more energized as the week went on, and each time the team returned to impound with a new speed, Rivas’ smile seemed to grow wider.
“Each day got faster and faster and with speed comes more excitement for me,” Rivas said. “I had a lot of fun. It caught up with me and I was super drained by the end of each day. The salt and the heat and the speed… it’s just super mentally draining.”
Rivas was also motivated by the factory S&S team effort behind her all week, who worked hard to keep her heading back to the line.
“Usually it’s just a family affair with us. We come out with my mom and my dad supporting, my grandma, my grandpa and I have my Buell Blast and that’s what I’ve ridden every year. This is the first year I’ve been a hired rider with S&S behind me, and Royal Enfield. They just did an amazing job with the whole bike and everything. They made it an amazing experience for me.”
It’s clear to see Rivas’ place in the future of FIM World Records as the young lady clearly has the drive and the talent to succeed. What’s next for Rivas? She replied with a single word and a smile: “Faster.”
Story and Photos by Jean Turner