A Look Back at the 2014 Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials

The Bonneville Salt Flats is one of those special places that most motorcyclists only dream of visiting. It is the host location for all things speed. We have seen the movies, we have heard the stories. My firsthand experience exceeds any and all you may imagine about the legendary location.

The 2014 BMST was an opportunity of a lifetime. Formerly the BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials, the Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials is one of the last bastions of high profile amateur motorcycle sporting events. The event is wholly volunteer run and kept that way to keep the “money people” from tarnishing the integrity of what many consider the premier speed trial event in motorcycling.

The volunteers at the BMST demonstrated an equal dedication to the sport as the racers themselves. The days were long, the conditions desolate, the mornings cold and the days hot, and the morale was through the roof. Most days for this volunteer were spent 6 miles down course on the Mountain Course 4 mile post, with a porta-potty, a 10x10 pop up and a green flag to launch racers that have qualified for a world record run.

Three things stuck out throughout the event. Professionalism, Perseverance, and Sportsmanship. I decided to write this article by illustrating examples I witnessed in each category.

1. Professionalism: Cayla Rivas. Cayla is the 14 year old daughter of bagger legend Chris Rivas. Cayla’s accomplishment this year was a two run average of 118.992 mph on a 500 cc Buell Blast. The speed was impressive, and after AMA verification will be a new world record. The 14 year old racer demonstrated professionalism beyond her years when after her down run the entire Bonneville course was closed for excessive wind. AMA rules dictate that in order to qualify as a world record, two runs must be completed on the same calendar day.

Cayla Rivas, with the record dangling in front of her, watched as the time past. Hours were spent at the return run start line waiting for the wind to die down; hours were spent in impound while the opportunity for the record slipped away. Cayla remained in her leathers, kept her head focused on visualizing the run, and still found time to autograph some T-shirts for some new fans.

2. Perserverance:  Dan Parker.  I don’t think I need to go into Dan Parker’s accomplishments, but if you do not know who he is, look him up and learn the story of a champion and the “go to guy” for chassis and tuning in the drag racing world for many years.  On March 31, 2012 Dan’s life changed forever at the 8th annual “The Quick and The Scared Outlaws” event when his car became airborne for no apparent reason resulting in broken limbs and a total loss of sight.  Dan has made the quote that in racing “stuff just sometimes happens”.

Dan’s accomplishment at the BMST was impressive to say the least, with a down run of over 59mph and a return run of over 64mph. After FIM verification the average speed will be enough for a world record. I got to speak with Dan at the BMST awards dinner and he mentioned that these speeds were his fastest to date.

Whether the meeting took place on the course, in the pits, at Carmen’s Black and White bar, or the laundry mat, talking with Dan and his crew was always a pleasure.

3. Sportsmanship: Brian Klock. Brian Klock of the world renowned Klock Werks Kustom Cycles took the volunteer’s vote for the most Sportsmanship at the awards dinner held at the conclusion of the BMST event. Brian had made a successful qualifying run on his 2008 Victory Hammer going for the FIM world record. For the FIM records to set the racer must complete the down run and the return run within 2 hours.

After Brian’s successful down run, he reported to impound for inspection, all the while the clock is ticking. Brian was ready to complete his return run but time was running out. With the clock running out, a 7 mile ride to the starting point, and a world record hanging in the balance, Brian demonstrated excellent sportsmanship by following all rules and speed limits on the course return road (35 mph). BMST Tower personnel (situated mid way down the track), knowing that the record was in jeopardy waved Klock on with no speed restrictions.

Brian’s refusal to break the rules before receiving permission to deviate from the speed limits even with a world record at stake, caused to run to be completed 17 seconds too late to qualify. Brian returned on Tuesday after a wind delay shut the course down on Monday, to make an average run of 163.472mph. This will be a new world record in the M-BG/2000 class once verified by FIM.

I got to spend a week around legends, witness unparalleled camaraderie, sportsmanship, professionalism, and perseverance. I cannot wait for the 2015 Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials.

Mike "Biggus" Jacques is one of the co-hosts of Monkey Butt Radio. A former United States Marine and Harley Davidson test rider who loves riding solo on the open road. Biggus lives in Glendale, AZ with his wife and their 9 rescue animals.


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