By Erin Sills
Confederate P51 Fighter. Photo: Colorado ADVMoto
There is no other form of motorsport competition where individual design comes so dramatically into play than land speed racing. To be the fastest in their class, a competitor's bike must be aerodynamic enough to virtually ride under the wind, powerful enough to beat every other competitor in history, and reliable enough to keep its skilled pilot safe at speeds well over 200 mph.
Mark Bjorklund is one such ingenious bike designer, builder and rider. Bjorklund and his team developed their non-faired ("naked") bike around not one, but two, Ducati motors and have been campaigning it for the last few years on the salt. They've seen great success this week, qualifying in the 2000 A-AG class at 205 mph and returning at 201 mph for a two way average of 203 mph and membership in the BUB 201 mph Club.
Mark Bjorklund blasts across the salt flats. Photo: Hunter Sills Racing
Another of the most striking bikes at the meet is the Confederate G2 P51 Combat Fighter, which gets as much attention for its beauty as it does its speed performance. Located in Baton Rouge, La., the Confederate team prides itself on developing extraordinary small batch machines, designed and built in America. This week the team traveled to Bonneville to test the top speed of the P51 machine. They've also been quite successful, setting a new national record of 174 mph, adding 5 mph to the prior record of 169 mph.
The Gforce team is from Montreal, Canada. Photo: Hunter Sills Racing
If you look closely at the Gforce team bike, you might see the worlds fastest bird -- hailing from Montreal, Canada, the team also successfully put their rider in the BUB 201 mph Club this week, setting a new record in the 650cc non-faired blown/fuel class at 204 mph.
As the event winds down later today, we can't help but think about the wheels that must be turning in these creative teams minds as they roll off the salt and begin to think about next year's event. The only limits in land speed racing are those of the imagination.