Bonneville Salt Flat
Of all the forms of two-wheel racing that exist, perhaps none are as personal or surreal as the challenge of land speed records.
Unlike other competitions land speed racing is a solitary undertaking, involving just one rider and machine at a time going up against the clock, taking to the salt in individual pursuits of speed.
The hallowed grounds of speed at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah have played host every August since 2004 to the International Motorcycle Speed Trials by BUB, which is exclusive to two-wheel machines.
The event has grown each year and covers the gamut of competition, from rookies who simply want to test the limits of their personal rides, to the high-tech streamliners, BUB has a class for practically everyone.
The event was started-and continues-under the sponsorship of BUB Enterprises, manufacturer of performance exhaust systems for all brands of motorcycles.
BUB was founded by legendary land speed racer and builder, Dennis "BUB" Manning. (BUB stands for "Big Ugly Bastard" – seriously).
Manning’s involvement with motorcycles and speed spans four decades. Starting out in quarter-mile drag racing he migrated to the supreme test of top speed, becoming a regular fixture on the salt flats, building his first streamliner in 1968.
For those who have seen "On Any Sunday" and recall the scenes of Cal Rayborn going 265MPH in the Harley streamliner in 1970, that was Manning’s machine. Forty years later Manning’s BUB Seven Streamliner is the World’s fastest Motorcycle at 367.832 MPH.
The BUB event welcomes any and all brands of motorcycles at all levels, from vintage push rod motors to electric, multi-engine to rockets, there is practically a class and category for any two-wheel contraption.
The BUB event is sanctioned by the FIM and AMA, allowing inclusion into the official record books for competitors that earn category/class record-breaking speeds.
Bonneville is a very unusual place, almost otherworldly. As a motorcycle event for spectators it holds a unique place. And as far as a racing community it’s unlike any other form of competition, with the pits being more like one large family with competitors often lending a hand to rivals.
Racing on the salt, with its theme of a single racer chasing improvements often measured by hundredths of a second, trying to best top speeds by mere fractions, is unlike any other form of competition.
Competitors talk about the strange lure of the salt flats, its addictive qualities and the highly personal challenge of chasing speed. If you’re a motorcycle enthusiast the BUB event is certainly worth experiencing.
For more information, whether you’re a curious spectator or an aspiring racer, go to speedtrialsbybub.com for completes rules, maps, dates, and records.