Top 10 Must Knows When Visiting Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials

Top 10 Must Knows When Visiting Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials

If you’re into exotic motorcycle speed machines, making it to the Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials in late August is a must.

Top 10 Must Knows for Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials

The 2014 Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials – sanctioned by the AMA as a Grand National Event – are set for August 23-28.

If you plan to visit the Bonneville Speed Trials – either as a spectator or participate –  which is near Wendover, Utah, and West Wendover, Nevada, here are the top 10 things to know before going.

1. A blacktopped road, Speedway Road, takes you out to the salt flats from I-80 and ends at a type of cul-de-sac referred to as the “boat landing.” It is very important to enter the salt flats only along the designated route. Do not be tempted to freelance out away from the marked route out on the salt.

Areas away from the marked route may have a thin salt layer that won’t support the weight of a vehicle. If you break though, you will probably get stuck in the mud underneath and it may cost you both for repair to the salt surface in addition to the cost of a tow to get out.

Keep to the right on the paved access road—the left or outbound lane must be kept clear for emergency vehicle traffic. No parking on the access road is allowed. Don’t enter the salt until event staff clears you to do so from the boat landing. Out on the salt, follow event staff instructions about spectator parking and, if you are a competitor, about setting up in the pit area.

Top 10 Must Knows When Visiting Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials

Henry Cokes aboard the Brough Superior Baby Pendine

2. No overnight camping is allowed on the salt by Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rule. Even if you drive in with an RV or camper, you must leave the salt flats by dark. Only event security staff is allowed to remain out on the site or in the pit area.

3. Food and drink vendors are generally available on the salt in the pit area, and bringing your own supplies is allowed. Having plenty of water on hand is a great idea. Portable toilets are provided out on the salt. Packing up and taking your trash with you at the end of the day is very helpful, but some trash receptacles are available out on the salt.

4. There tends to be a lot of sun out on the salt flats in August, though rain is never out of the question. Don’t forget your sunglasses and a light sun hat—the glare from the white salt surface can be very bright. Good sunblock and light clothing to protect your skin is a good idea, too.

5. Daytime high temps can be very warm, but it can be quite cool in the early morning and late in the day, so having jacket, sweater and some warm clothing items are recommended.

6.  Comfy shoes are recommended—the salt surface is rough to the point of being abrasive, so going barefoot is not likely to be comfortable. For competitors, a tarp or other similar item for ground cover in the pit area is necessary to prevent contamination of the salt from oil, fuel or coolant dripping from competition vehicles. Pit parking pass is required and must be displayed in the vehicle windshield.

7. There is no natural shade out on the salt—you have to bring your own. This may be in the form of an “easy-up,” tent, tarp, sunshade on folding chairs or whatever you may have to work with your vehicle or RV. Take these down at the end of the day because winds can be strong overnight and could damage or destroy them.

Top 10 Must Knows When Visiting Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials

This image gives some idea of the vastness and breathtaking beauty of the Bonneville Salt Flats as a lone rider (the author) heads out toward the timed mile—and shows why good binoculars and/or a spotting scope are good gear for spectators to have at the Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials.

8. Bring good binoculars or a spotting scope to watch the action. The tracks (there are usually more than one course in use) are some distance from the spectator area and the pits. While you can enjoy the competition fairly well without them, those items will enhance the experience and the view.

9. Bring your personal-use camera; if you plan to shoot video or photographs for commercial use, sale or distribution you must get press credentials and follow the rules that apply. See:

10. Have some cash on hand—not all vendors or the front gate entry have credit/debit card processing capability.

Competition will include runs for FIM recognized world records, AMA recognized national records, and the non-record “run-whatcha-brung” class that offers the opportunity to run a bike on the salt and have the run timed, but no record-setting will be recognized.

For additional information/questions, and to confirm arrangements, see:
Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials
Wendover, UT visitor information
West Wendover, NV visitor information
American Motorcyclist Association
FIM official website for world speed records
Bonneville Speedway


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