land speed record


If the future of motorcycles is electric, then is this the future of land speed racing for motorcycles? The WMC250EV by White Motorcycle Concepts has been making the rounds on the internet this week, primarily for its big claims and unique design.

Boasting of unparalleled streamlining, Robert White and his team are looking to make waves, first by breaking the land speed record for electric motorcycles in Britain later this year, and then taking on the FIM world record for electric two-wheelers (228.006 mph).

Earlier this summer, we wrote about the efforts of the Voxan brand to break the land-speed record for an electric motorcycle.

The company’s plans included the services of six-time world champion Max Biaggi, and a land-speed record course on the Salar de Uyuni salt flat in Bolivia. That was, of course, until the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Having to relocate their plans to the Châteauroux Airfield ‘Marcel Dassault’ in France, last week Biaggi set not just one FIM record, but 11 of them, on the Voxan Wattman electric motorcycle.

We were surprised to hear that French brand Voxan was going to make an attempt on the FIM land speed record for electric motorcycles (specifically the I.A1.B VII +300kg record).

Last we heard, the Voxan brand was being shut down by parent company Venturi, with the company’s electric cruiser model, the Voxan Wattman, classified as dead on arrival.

Now taking that same platform (though the two motorcycles seem to share nearly no components), Voxan has sprung back to life to try and tackle the outright FIM record for partially streamlined two-wheeled electric motorcycles.

Another victim from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials (BMST) have been canceled.

The news comes as a joint decision by the FIM, AMA, and local organizer Deliciate Promotions LTT, with the races intended to be held on the iconic salt flats on August 29th through September 3rd.

While no elaboration was given in the FIM’s terse communication on the event’s cancelation, one can only surmise that the logistics of the international event were impossible because of the global lockdown in place because of the coronavirus.

With the salt conditions at the Bonneville Salt Flats finally improving, land-speed racers can once again flock to the Utah locale for their high-speed pursuits.

One such effort will be the folks at Triumph Motorcycles, who are resuming their bid to be the fastest motorcycle on earth, with their now-named Triumph Infor Rocket Streamliner project.

The mark they must beat is 376.363 mph, and Triumph hopes that they can be the first two-wheeler to break the 400 mph barrier. To help them in that effort, they have enlisted road racer and daredevil Guy Martin to aid their cause, picking up where their LSR project stalled in 2015.

Racing seems set to return finally to the Bonneville Salt Flats this year, as the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) has found the conditions favorable to run its Speed Week event next month (above is a photo taken of the salt flats, just two weeks ago).

This is good news for land-speed racers, as racing at Bonneville has seen a two-year hiatus because of deteriorating salt conditions in 2014 and 2015.

Now, the SCTA says that it sees the Bonneville Salt Flats as being suitable for three courses – an 8-mile “long course”, 5-mile “short course”, and a 3-mile “rookie course” – and has begun prepping the salt for its Speed Week event next month.

After being a tentative “go” for racing last week, the 2015 Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials has now been canceled because of conditions on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

The announcement comes after rains in the Salt Lake City, Utah area put water on the salt flat racing course, and now currently half an inch of water sits on what the BMST calls its “Mountain Course” area.

Racing at the Bonneville Salt Flats has been a tumultuous affair for 2015, with the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) forced to cancel its Speed Week event for the second year in a row, just to see the AMA now proclaim its Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials event a tentative “go” barring more weather in the Salt Lake City area.

One of the teams we hoped to see competing on the salt flats was Triumph, with its Triumph Rocket III Streamliner and Guy Martin at its helm. With Guy Martin’s savage crash at the Ulster GP leaving the Lincolnshire-man with a broken back, sternum, and ribs, Triumph has had to re-think its 2015 land-speed record program.

As such, Triumph is calling this year a wash, and will return to the salt flats in 2016, where hopefully conditions, and more so fate, will allow the team to race towards its 400 mph goal.

UPDATE: The 2015 Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials has now been canceled, due to salt conditions.

The conditions at the Bonneville Salt Flats are worrying, to say the very least. Each year the conditions of the salt flats are worse and worse, and 2015 marks the second year in a row that Speed Week has been cancelled by the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) because of the conditions.

Last month, when Speed Week was cancelled, there was a lot of doubt cast on the rest of the land-speed record season, but the AMA says that its Speed Trials event has found a suitable course its motorcycle-only land-speed racers.

Set to run August 29th thru September 3rd, as of right now the “AMA Land Speed Grand Championship” that is the Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials is a tentative “go” for racing.

Bad news continues from the Bonneville Salt Flats, as the SCTA has officially cancelled its upcoming Speed Week event — an event that was cancelled last year as well.

As we reported earlier, Speed Week was put into serious doubt because of the conditions of the salt flats, which were shown to have a thin salt layer and wet/muddy conditions that made the historic site unsuitable for land speed racing.

Spending Tuesday morning at Bonneville looking for a suitable stretch of salt for a 2.25-mile course, SCTA President/Race Director Bill Lattin & the BNI Chairman Roy Creel deemed the conditions unsafe for a race course, and thus dashed any hopes of the event being salvaged.

Perhaps the only silver-lining to today’s news is that if the salt dries out, future land speed racing events might be possible at Bonneville this year.

Conditions at the Bonneville Salt Flats continue to deteriorate with each passing year, and 2015 is no different. Testing for the upcoming Speed Week, put on by the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA), has been cancelled, and the salt conditions for the August 8th event are questionable, at best.

Readers will remember that last year’s Speed Week was cancelled, after torrential rain flooded the salt flats. This year, the salt layer is so thin that the uneven desert floor is poking through in some spots.

Out surveying the salt flats last week, Russ Eyers from the SCTA told the Salt Lake Tribune that he couldn’t find a 7-mile stretch of land suitable to land speed racing on the Bonneville Salt Flats, with some portions still underwater and others where the salt is mixed with mud.