Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials (BMST) is ready to kick off tomorrow, Sunday, August 26 at Utah’s famous Bonneville Salt Flats. The annual AMA meet is a chance for competitors to chase FIM World Records, and 21 racers are ready to take their shot on the international course during the event, running 26 August to 1 September.
The pits were filled with eager anticipation during technical inspections on Saturday, 25 August. Racers, promoters and officials alike are thrilled to see the Bonneville salt in fantastic condition. The hot, dry summer has produced the ideal surface for racing, and competitors are looking to take advantage of the “20-year salt” this week.
“This is a once in a lifetime thing,” exclaimed FIM competitor Jay Allen, who has been coming to the Bonneville Salt Flats for 16 years. “I think I’ve seen this maybe two or three times in my career. This is epic salt. If you’re bike’s running good, you’re going to run as fast as you ever have in your life out here at Bonneville 2018.”
A host of notable land speed racers ready to reach for FIM World Records at BMST include 18-year-old Cayla Rivas, daughter of four-time NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle drag racing champion Chris Rivas. Young Rivas will be piloting a brand new Royal Enfield 650 Twin and is hoping to make history in the naturally aspirated 750cc division.
Despite her young age, the 18-year-old from Fresno, California has several years’ experience in land-speed racing, and has multiple AMA records to her name. BMST marks Rivas’ first FIM World Records event. “I’ve been land speed racing since I was 12,” Cayla explained. “I started on a Buell Blast 250cc, moved up to 500cc and now 650. I’ve been setting records on every pass we’ve made! [laughs] The Buell Blast got up to 140 mph [225 km/h] and so now we’re on this Royal Enfield hoping to go faster.
“We’ve never seen salt like this before; it’s just excellent. I’m super stoked to be riding on this concrete salt. It should be smooth sailing!”
Al Lamb is on the salt and ready to take advantage of the prime conditions, as well… but once again finds himself in the precarious position of hoping his container will arrive. The ill-fated container failed to arrive on time in Bolivia for Cook’s Top Oil Land Speed Shootout on the Salar de Uyuni, and was returned to the states, but now finds only a short window of opportunity to arrive midweek at earliest.
Meanwhile, Lamb’s Honda CBR1000RR SP1 is prepared for Erin Okonek to race for the 1000cc naturally aspirated record. Other notable competitors include Nick Genet, who has the possibility to compete for three different records, Michael Salimbeni aboard his Aprilia RSV4, and Jay Allen with his pair of turbo-charged Harley-Davidsons.
FIM World Records at BMST has drawn an international contingent as well, including Greg Watters and Kim Krebs of the Australian Black Arts Racing team and Japanese competitor Takushi Chikakane, all the way from Osaka with his partially streamlined 125cc Super Cub. “It’s the fastest Super Cub in the world,” Chikakane said with a smile. “That makes it a super Super Cub!” Chikakane expects he will make it official by entering the FIM World Record books.
Good luck to all competitors this week at Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials 2018!
Story and Photos by Jean Turner