For the race community, the good news back in 2016 was that the Salt Flats had healed and were ready again for world land speed record challenges. The Red Cup Team from Kamloops, BC brought Harleys and took notes.
Some people were wondering if they’d ever see action again on the Salt Flats but Bonneville Speed Week did indeed return in 2016, running once more in its traditional mid-August placement. It had been an anxious past two years as heavy rains flooded the Salt Flats and wiped out the 2014 and 2015 racing seasons. But the weather gods favoured 2016’s Bonneville Speed Week and we (the Red Cup Racing team from Kamloops, BC) were there to compete against fellow teams from Canada, as well as the US, Australia, New Zealand, France, Japan and other countries who had travelled to the salt to either establish records or maintain or improve past record speeds of whatever class vehicle they entered. Due to the 2014-15 cancellations, 2016 saw 647 racers at Bonneville with a variety of two- and four-wheeled machines. It promised to be a busy race week.
George Hogg and Nick Boumeester, whose goal was to keep existing records in the 250cc Class and to attempt more records, head the Red Cup Racing team. They brought with them six bikes: two Harley-Davidsons (350 Sprint, 883 Sportster) and four Yamahas ranging from 175-400cc.
George was the crew boss while Nick, Mike, Carl, Ty and Jack were the drivers for the Red Cup team.
Jack and Ty own Roosters Bike shop in Kamloops and this was their first year on the salt. They assisted the Red Cup effort by tweaking the engines in order to overcome the different air density problems caused by elevation differences between Kamloops and the Salt Flats (1,100 feet AGL versus 4,000-plus). They also raced the Red Rooster H-D 883, running the 1000 class.
Here are some notes we made from our time at the speed trials.
Saturday began with the usual mandatory race briefing for all drivers and crew (no exceptions), followed by vehicle inspections, safety equipment checks and driver registration. Driver and motorcycle registration took longer than normal due to Red Cup’s large stable of bikes.
Jack was placed on the rookie course to qualify for his primary race licence (with speed restricted to a max of 150 mph) while the team quickly learned that the air density and altitude on the salt necessitated some changes to carbueration because the bikes were running too rich. Jets were changed out with the result being immediate changes to engine performance.
Sunday saw Nick, Jack and Carl running one race each, meeting the speeds targeted resulting in sending the bikes to impound for tech checks. A couple of small problems with the Sprinster configuration had Carl going back to the start line to re-qualify.
Throughout the week more backup runs were required with the H-D Sprinster and the 250 Yamaha.
Monday brought winds of 25 mph, which caused officials to halt the races in the afternoon. The winds did not abate until later in the evening. Being Canadians, it was time for a beer.
Tuesday started well with three runs made by the guys. However, when Nick left the start line on the 250cc Yamaha Screamer (Modified Blown Fuel class) the chain broke—probably due to very high RPM off the line—resulting in him being thrown off the bike about 20 metres from the start line. Nick wasn’t hurt although there seemed to be a rather blue streak of words, which nearly matched the blue raceway guideline.
After repairs and safety checks to the bike another attempt was made to get the Screamer up to speed but to no avail. The guys found a blown piston caused by a too lean fuel mix, so it was back to the pits to change engines.
Wednesday started with three bikes out of impound for backup runs. Many competitors had gone home so the rookie track was shut down leaving the three- and five-mile tracks open. The MBF 400 Yamaha, 350 H-D Sprintster and the H-D Sportster were in the running again.
Thursday, Nick tried the Screamer again but no joy as the engine may have succumbed again to the fuel mix.
Friday was a break camp day and we were all on the way back home after adding six records to the Red Cup Team total. A very good year!
Red Cup Team results:
1. Modified Partial Streamliner Blown Fuel (MPSBF class)
Red Cup Screamer, Nick Boumeester, 115.496 mph
2. 500 Class
Yamaha 400, Boumeester, 142 mph
3. Modified Push Rod Blown Fuel (MPRBF class)
350 H-D Sprintster, Carl Dilley and Mike Stark, 70.496 mph
4. Modified Push Rod Blown Gas (MPRBG class)
350 H-D Sprintster, Dilley and Stark, 76.683 mph
5. Modified Partial Streamliner Push Rod Blown Fuel
(MPSPRBF 1000cc class)
Red Rooster 883 H-D, Jackson Sanders and Ty Neufeld, 110.402 mph
6. Modified Push Rod Blown Fuel (MPRBF class)
Red Rooster 883 H-D, Sanders and Neufeld, 138.385 mph
By Les Larkin Canadian Biker Issue #328