Valerie Thompson and American Motorcycle Association Hall Of Fame member Denis Manning will return to the Bonneville salt flats this coming weekend for the Motorcycle Speed Trials, with the aim of breaking the land speed record of 376.36 mph (605.69 km/h) with the Team “7” Streamliner (aka BUB 7).
At last year’s event, Thompson piloted the “BUB 7” at a scorching pace of 304.263 mph (489.663 km/h) on what was only her fifth run to become the first female rider over 300 mph and earn the Fastest Time of the Meet award. The Manning designed and built “BUB 7” has held the record twice before, but the current record belongs to the Top 1 Ack Attack team, who set it in 2010.
This battle for the record will be documented on film by P-51 Pictures and Executive Producer Dana Brown, creators of “Dust to Glory,” “On Any Sunday” and the award-winning “Out of Nothing” motorcycle racing documentary. For more than 12 months now, P-51 crews have followed the teams to gather footage for the land speed-racing documentary, “Rockets & Titans,” scheduled for worldwide theater distribution in 2018.
A crew of more over 20 technicians will film speed trial highlights both on and off the track. Asked if all the activity is at all distracting, Thompson said, “Believe it or not, no. The film crew is very professional and easy to work with. More importantly, I’m delighted land speed racing will get a worldwide stage through this documentary. It’s excellent exposure for sponsors like TROON Inc., Vision Wheel, ilium Works, Wheels Through Time and others who make it possible for us to chase our dreams.”
Thompson has seven land speed records, set on various bikes ranging from Harley-Davidsons to BMWs, and is a team owner/driver and a member of six land speed racing 200 MPH Clubs. If she breaks the current land speed record, this will be her first set in a streamliner.
“I set my first record at Bonneville in 2006 and fell in love with land speed racing, where you can keep the throttle open and push the equipment to its ultimate limit. I’ve prepared for this moment since then, so I’m anxious to get back on the salt,” said Thompson. “With Denis Manning leading the best team I’ve ever worked with, I know the bike has the power. It all comes down to track conditions, weather and me hitting my marks.”
Manning has raced at Bonneville since his teenage years. He earned his first world speed record at age 24 as builder of Cal Rayborn’s 1970 entry, which reached a top speed of 265 mph. “I’ve pursued this dream with my family for over 40 years, a dream I hope to fulfill with Team “7” Racing and three generations of Mannings,” said Manning. He added, “I’m confident we’ve properly prepared the vehicle, especially considering the expertise of Team “7” owners Jon Jans and Joe Harrelson, who are ‘best in class’ machinist and builders. I know Valerie is more than ready. She dreams about Bonneville as much as I do.”
Keep up to date on this record attempt to see if “7” truly is a lucky number!