On the Salt At the Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials

GP photographer Andrew Wheeler shoots the action at the BMST.

BMST rider meeting
Mandatory riders meetings are waaaay earlier than your usual AMA road racing rider meetings and tend to be very straightforward. And at sunrise.Andrew Wheeler, AutoMotoPhoto

When you run off what is known as the “boat ramp” onto the salt and as we approached the encampment with all it’s tents, big trucks and trailers, Misa, my girlfriend said that “we could be on the North Pole” and I quipped in return, calling the whole thing “Salt Station Zebra” (a play on words…).

This venue is so unique. You could be on Mars. the moon, and even with the luxury of air conditioning in our rental car you’ll be surprised how quickly the window glass gets to a point where you can’t touch it because it’s so hot. The last time I attended the BMST was back in 2014 invited by a friend. It was a few months after my wife Emily died from cancer and I needed something to distract me from where I was emotionally, but I needed something that embraced my love of all things motorcycles, but not road racing (my normal line of work).

Curtice Them, ex Yamaha mechanic
Curtice Them, ex Yamaha mechanic, works on Erin Hunters record breaking BMW prior to tech.Andrew Wheeler, AutoMotoPhoto
BMST paddock
In this paddock you find the cool with the eccentric, and it’s all good.Andrew Wheeler, AutoMotoPhoto

As a result, and with great thanks to my friend Jenny, I ended up on the Bonneville Salt Flats at the Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials.

Fast forward to 2017.

I'm not fan of Silverstone (MotoGP is my regular gig and coincidentally was running at the same time as this event) and so I reached out to Erin Hunter (an extremely talented, multi-award-winning, landspeed Guinness Book of Records motorcyclist) to ask if I could cover her speed trial attempt. Erin, along with fellow ADV rider Trevis Richter is working with Race for Relief, a motorcycle therapy based group that has been created to help vets with PTSD and other issues to find support through ADV motorcycling.

antique bikes at Bonneville
A nice old piece of kit. A Matchless. yes, folks run antique bikes on the salt.Andrew Wheeler, AutoMotoPhoto

To bring greater awareness to the Race for Relief program, and the fact that the program is based around using adventure motorcycles, such as the BMW GS1200, the goal is to have the worlds’ fastest GS BMW motorcycle. On mid afternoon Monday the goal was achieved with Trevis riding the BMW GS1200 and attaining a speed of 142mph.

So in my first BMST gallery you’ll see a selection of images that includes the (mandatory) riders meeting, “pit work” and the riders/racers lining up awaiting their dispatch for their turn on the track.

officials at bmst
The “red shirts” worn by folks signify that they’re “official.”Andrew Wheeler, AutoMotoPhoto
Rolls Royce on the salt
Pre-staging…and yes, that’s a Rolls Royce.Andrew Wheeler, AutoMotoPhoto
Supercharged H-D
Hiro Koiso Racing's 3000cc blown Harley-DavidsonAndrew Wheeler, AutoMotoPhoto
Bubba Rocho’s NHRS 1,650cc V-twin
Bubba Rocho’s NHRS 1,650cc V-twinAndrew Wheeler, AutoMotoPhoto
Pre-stage at bmst
Pre-stage launch zone. At this point, the bikes and riders line up to be sent out to start their runs.Andrew Wheeler, AutoMotoPhoto
Jay Allen Racing 2000cc blown S&S motor
Jay Allen Racing 2,000cc blown S&S motorAndrew Wheeler, AutoMotoPhoto
Erin Hunter aboard her BMW
Erin Hunter aboard her BMW.Andrew Wheeler, AutoMotoPhoto
3,000cc blown H-D
Hiro Koiso aboard his 3,000cc blown H-D waits for the signal to be sent out for his run.Andrew Wheeler, AutoMotoPhoto