Triumph Bonnevilles set New Land Speed Records



Sir Alan of Cathcart celebrated the Bonneville’s 50th anniversary at the Utah Salt Flats, breaking four FIM World Records for normally aspirated and turbocharged unstreamlined twin cylinder motorcycles…

Well respected British bike journalist Alan Cathcart set four officially-recognized FIM World Land Speed Records at the 2009 BUB Bonneville Speed Trials held on the Utah Salt Flats in America earlier this month.


The four speed records were set on new Triumph Bonneville machines, in a year celebrating the model’s 50th anniversary. One of the Triumphs was naturally-aspirated and the other turbocharged.

Cathcart on the naturally aspirated Bonnevill Thruxton…

Riding a street-legal Thruxton Bonneville prepared by Matt Capri, owner of South Bay Triumph in Lomita, California Cathcart broke the 150 mph barrier to set a new two-way FIM World Record for the flying mile at 152.678 mph (245.711 kmh), and another for the flying kilometre at 152.770 mph (245.859 kmh). Both of these records were in the FIM’s 1000cc Normally-Aspirated Twin-Cylinder Unstreamlined category.


A new two-way FIM World Record for the flying mile of 165.405 mph ...

…and on the turbocharged South Bay Triumph Bonneville.

Riding the turbocharged South Bay Triumph Bonneville, also built by Capri, Cathcart established two more new FIM World Records for the 1000cc Forced Induction Twin-Cylinder Unstreamlined class, with a two-way speed for the flying mile of 165.405 mph (266.194 kph), and for the flying kilometre of 165.672 mph (266.623 kph). The mile speed qualifies as a new AMA record, too, with all records subject to ratification by the relevant authorities.

Capri and Cathcart...

Tuner Matt Capri (left) and rider Alan Cathcart

The Triumphs were shod with Pirelli rain tyres supplied by the Italian tyre manufacturer’s racing division. “The tyres gave us great traction, especially in the first two days, which many teams sat out due to slippery conditions after rain the week before,” said Cathcart.

“This allowed us to get in several setup runs which put us ahead of the Buell, Ducati, Norton, Honda and Harley bikes we were up against, and after the salt dried out in the Speed Week sunshine, we had great grip and good stability from the Pirellis, even with the violent pickup of the Turbo through the gears when it comes on full boost.”

Triumph Thruxtons on

Plumber's nightmare?...

Close up of the turbocharged Bonneville

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