Land Speed Motorcycle Racer Valerie Thompson Crashes At Nearly 350 MPH And Walks Away
[caption id="attachment_67321" align="alignright"
width="300"] Photo: FIM - FÃ©dÃ©ration
Internationale de Motocyclisme Facebook page[/caption]
Just a few short days after setting a new record of 328.467 mph at the 28th Annual Speed Week in Australia, multi-time land-speed record holder, Valerie Thompson crashed the streamlined motorcycle she was piloting at nearly 350mph and was able to walk away.
Thompson and the Team "7" Racing streamliner crew had been down in Australia to use the Annual Speed Week event (March 12-16) held by Dry Lakes Racers Australia at the Lake Gairdner Salt Flats, as testing for their pursuit of the world's fastest motorcycle title at the World Speed Trials (March 17-19) hosted at the same location. The high-speed crash occurred on the final day of the Speed Trials.
Having just passed 299mph at mile marker 4, everything was looking good on Thompson's run as she attempted to beat the current world's fastest motorcycle record of 376mph held by Rocky Robinson and the Top-Oil Ack Attack Team. However, as she hit 343 mph the tail of the streamliner lifted, then the vehicle fell onto its right side, slid for a second before popping up in the air and flipping around. The streamliner then twirled as the chute deployed and then straightened it out as hit the ground and slid on its side again for quite a ways before finally coming to stop. Thankfully, even though the incident looked extremely violent and scary, Thompson was able to crawl out of the cockpit and walk away with only minor bumps.
[caption id="attachment_67319" align="alignright" width="300"] Photo: FIM - FÃ©dÃ©ration Internationale de Motocyclisme Facebook page[/caption]
Lou Fischer of Bonnevillestories.com was on hand and caught the entire crash on video. The extensive high-speed slide the streamliner made against the surface of the dry lake bed left a pretty nasty gouge in the ground which was highlighted even further by the streak of red paint left behind from the streamliner.
While the crash left the streamliner out of commission and thus thwarted Thompson and the team's efforts for the fastest motorcycle title, their time in Australia did bring some good news as Thompson mentioned on her Facebook page. "Our trip to Australia had a wonderful beginning and a rather tragic end. We set a new record of 328.467 mph during the DRLA Speed Week event and became a new member in their 200 & 300 MPH Clubs, only the second person to enter the 300 MPH Club in Australia. Also earned the "Fast Lady on the Lake" award given by the Dry Lakes Racers Australia. Unfortunately, at the World Speed Trials Australia led to my wreck at over 343 mph."
[caption id="attachment_67323" align="alignright" width="300"] Photo: Valerie Thompson Racing Facebook page[/caption]
Thompson's motorcycle career is marked with many accolades and achievements. She is a seven-time land speed record holder with membership in six different 200 MPH Clubs. During the 2016 Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials, she earned the "The Fastest Time of the Meet" award by clocking in at 304.263 mph and became the first female rider over 300 mph, earning the title of "World's Fastest Female Motorcycle Racer."
The Team "7" Bub Racing streamliner has a storied history as does its designer and builder Denis Manning. Powered by a turbocharged 2,997cc 16-valve V-4 engine that makes 500 horsepower and 400-ft-bs of torque, the streamliner has held the motorcycle land speed record for several years, first from 2006 to 2008 and again from 2009 to 2010. Denis Manning is a self-taught designer and fabricator, AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame inductee, and the founder of motorcycle exhaust manufacturer Bub Enterprises.
[caption id="attachment_67322" align="alignright" width="300"] Photo: Valerie Thompson Racing Facebook page[/caption]
The battle for the title of world's fastest motorcycle has been traded back and forth between Team 7 and current title holder Rocky Robinson of the Top Oil-Ack Attack streamliner for quite some time. Robinson set the current record of 376 mph back in 2010 at the Bonneville Salt Flats. The Top Oil-Ack Attack streamliner is powered by two turbo charged 1,299 cc Suzuki inline-four engines and puts out more than 1,000 horsepower.
The Team 7 and Top Oil Ack-Attack Streamliners have held the title of worlds fastest motorcycle in the FÃ©dÃ©ration Internationale de Motocyclisme (International Motorcycling Federation/FIM) class: Category I - Group A1 - Division C - Type V - Cyl. 3+ - over 2500cc to 3000cc. This class is broken down as:
Category I: Motorcycles propelled by the action of one wheel in contact with the ground
Group A1: Solo Motorcycles
Division C: Streamlined
Type V: Spark ignition
Held on the hollowed grounds of the Bonneville Salt Flats, the Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials-AMA Land Speed Grand Championships is the premier land speed racing event and takes place Aug 25-30. Barring several factors such as weather and salt conditions as well as Team 7's ability to assess the damage and determine what went wrong in Thompson's crash it's possible we could see them go for another attempt at the world record this year.