Racing at the Bonneville Salt Flats requires more than a little good luck. Weather plays such an important role in the speed of the salt and whether the event is even held at all. This year, Valerie Thompson experienced the full spectrum of Bonneville racing. Of the three events Thompson planned to participate in at during her month-long stay in Utah, Speed Week was canceled due to heavy rain; the Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials didn’t produce the results she hoped for, thanks to weather and track conditions; but the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association’s 28th Annual World of Speed finally brought all the necessary components together for a record-setting pair of runs.
Thompson’s BMW S 1000 RR was fast out of the box, with six of the eight runs logged exceeding 200 mph. On her last run, her first pass was her best of the event at 209.85 mph. Her return pass was clocked at 207.71 mph, for a combined result of 208.81 mph – a new record in the MPS-G 1000 class – making Thompson a member of the prestigious Bonneville 200 MPH Club!
Although Thompson is no stranger to the record books (she’s a seven-time motorcycle land speed record holder), the Bonneville Red Hat holds a special meaning for her:
“I’ve wanted the 200 MPH Club Red Hat since I started racing on the salt, so it’s an awesome achievement for me…. Now I can focus on setting more records and going faster with the Red Hat,” said Thompson.
Owner and rider for the Valerie Thompson Land Speed Racing Motorcycle Team, Thompson is no stranger to speeds in excess of 200 mph. In March 2013, she set a personal best top speed of 212 mph at the Texas Mile event. Thompson also holds membership in the BUB Speed Trials 201 MPH Club, Mojave Magnum 200 MPH Club, Texas Mile 200 MPH Club, ECTA 200 MPH Club and the famed Bonneville 200 MPH Club.