For SpeedWeek 2013, Shunji Yokokawa set out on a journey to set a land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats, but what he had not anticipated were the challenges that lay ahead.
Yokokawa had always dreamed of riding on the salt flats, but it was not until 2013 as Assistant Chief Engineer for Honda Japan, that he was afforded the opportunity to fulfill his dream, which he describes as “gliding” across the flats.
Assisted by a 2-man crew, Yokokawa traveled to Utah with a bone-stock 2013 Honda CBR600RR in hopes of adding yet another record to one of the many that Honda holds. The CBR was set up specifically with one goal in mind: to break a land speed record with a production class motorcycle, but as Yokokawa and his team wuold find out, there is a reason why so many fail.
Some of the challenges he and his team, as so many others, have faced were finding traction on the rough, constantly changing surface at Bonneville.
One of the many reasons the course is always changing is due to the mountains that surround the salt flats, leaving them in a valley that can produce crosswinds of up to 20 mph, which drastically alter the salt texture and content from one day to the next.
170.828 mph later, Yokokawa and his team had done it, setting a land speed record for a production class 600cc motorcycle, and while he is pleased for the time being, he hopes to return next year to break another record, this time with a Honda CBR1000RR.