Breaking Motorcycle Records is Key on Speed Week at Bonneville Salt Flats

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Speed demons roared across the glaring white flats during Speed Week at Bonneville Speedway in the Bonneville Salt Flats near Wendover, Utah.

Around 25,000 spectators braved acrid exhaust fumes and watched 500 entries with ear-splitting starts. Nearly everyone wore hats to protect themselves from the pounding summer sun as crews and drivers handled last-minute changes.

“The course was smooth this year,” said Falkner-Livingston (FL) Assistant Team Manger Becca Livingston. “The old-timers said it was the best salt that they have seen in 25 years. It was a big difference from last year when everyone said it was the worst salt anyone could remember seeing.”

Eight riders from the Falkner-Livingston Team were on the Speed Week agenda. Rider Paul Livingston on his Cycle Barn Falkner/Livingston Kawasaki ZX-14 broke the existing record of 133.040 mph for the 1650cc Production/Production class on August 12th and 13th, setting a new course record of 189.312.

Falkner-Livingston’s Paul Thede rode the same motorcycle on August 18th and broke Paul Livingston’s record. Thede set a new record of 191.802, with a top timed speed of 193.134.

“On our Team Makita/Suzuki Hayabusa, Susan Robertson became the first woman to ride a motorcycle over 200 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats, and also the first woman to set a record of over 200 mph on a motorcycle on the salt,” said Becca Livingston. “Her runs on August 13th and 14th set a new record of 205.965 over the standing record of 199.153, and her top timed speed was 209.494.”

On FL Team Honda CBR 600RR running in the 650cc MPS/BG (Turbo Charged) Class, rider Jason McVicar was on the first 600cc motorcycle to run over 200 mph. “That has not been done anywhere, ever,” said Becca Livingston. “Jason set a new record of 153.191 riding on an open record (meaning no one has tried this before), with a top timed speed of 201.391 mph.”

Livingston said it is a great feeling to set a new record. “You know that you are doing something that no one else has done before,” she said. “That is a feeling of accomplishment.”

Susan Robertson and Paul Livingston at Bonneville
Susan Robertson and Paul Livingston at Bonneville
Bonneville Speed Week is the highlight event of the Land Speed Racing season. “We do love the people at Bonneville,” said Becca Livingston. “It is so fantastic to see families who have been racing the same vehicle for three generations. Some people we only see there and if they don’t make it we miss them. As a group the people of Bonneville are just wonderful. If a team is missing something they are virtually assured that someone else will have it and share, even direct competitors.” People come from all over the world for six days of racing at the salt flats.

“In the hot dry and salty conditions at the Bonneville Salt Flats, K&N Filters were a huge part of making the motorcycles run well,” said Becca Livingston. “When you’re building a motorcycle to run over 200 mph, each and every part on the bike is critical, that is why we rely on K&N Oil and Air Filters.”

There is a very good spirit out there, said Livingston. “It is the kind of event that is all consuming, you don’t think about anything else for the time that you’re there,” she said. “When you return home it takes a bit of processing before you kind of sit back and realize, wow that was fun.”

The Falkner-Livingston Team likes to move forward into new categories. “As a team we started with 50cc motorbikes, and moved into 125cc, 650cc, 750cc, 1350cc and this year we added 1650cc,” said Livingston. “I don’t know that we’re going to go much bigger. There are a few speeds that we think we can get higher, and we plan to attend the World Speed Finals in October and see what we can do.”

Follow Team Falkner-Livingston's progress throughout the racing season at the K&N news site.  Find K&N products for your vehicle using the K&N application search then use the K&N dealer search to find a K&N dealer in your part of the world.

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K&N Engineering, Inc., with headquarters in Riverside, California, has been the world''s leader in performance filter technology since 1969, serving the needs of the automotive, motorcycle, marine, industrial and military markets. K&N is heavily involved in nearly every form of motorsports from off-road and powersports to drag racing, stock cars and road racing. For more information about K&N Filters, please contact K&N Engineering, Inc., P.O. Box 1329, Riverside, CA 92502-1329, (800) 213-4182 for a dealer near you, (800) 858-3333 for technical service/questions, (951) 826-4001 Fax, e-mail, or visit