There is no apprehension about the fact that Indian Motorcycle doesn’t just make luxury yachts on two wheels. This American dream production house also makes racers, trackers and land-speed record breakers.
Home to Land Speed Racing (LSR) for more than half a century, it was race week at the El Mirage dry lake bed. Having speed trials there was one of the oldest American motorcycles manufacturer, Indian Motorcycle. With three of their thoroughbred machines, a 2015 Chief Classic, a 2015 Indian Scout and the 2017 Spirit of Munro Scout, the folks at Indian set out to go on trial runs and made not one but three land speed records instead.
The highlight of this event is the Spirit of Munro 50th anniversary 2017 Indian Scout. A motorcycle that is celebrating the Golden Jubilee of Burt Munro’s 1000cc class record of 296.19 kph on his Indian Scout Streamliner at the Bonneville Salt Flats. And the jaw-opening part of this story is that the chaps that worked on this Spirit of Munro volunteered to be a part of this historic attempt, working on the project “after hours.”
|The Spirit of Munro 50th anniversary 2017 Indian Scout|
Motorcycle racing took shape the minute the second motorcycle was made. Then came the madness of setting speed records. Being the fastest man or building the fastest machine on the planet gave a new sense of high and want. It is intoxication indeed. Setting records for the whole world to know became a fascination and people spent all time and money into this pursuit of speed.
The first generally recognised motorcycle speed records were set unofficially in 1903 by Glenn Curtiss, using aircraft engines of his own manufacture. But until 1920, there were no official records set which were sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM). The first FIM-sanctioned record to exceed Curtiss’ 1907 speed happened only in in 1930 with a supercharged 1000cc v-twin JAP engine which did a 219.9 kph run stunt.
And 50 years ago, one man from a small town in New Zealand dreamt of setting a land speed record on a 1920 Indian Scout. In 1962 at the Bonneville salt flats, that man Burt Munro’s dream finally came true at the age of 68 at 296.19 kph. A record that was unbeaten until July 16 at the El Mirage 2017.
Engineers at Indian have built a tribute to the legend, who in 1967 made motorcycle history by setting a new official land speed record and now, the person to beat that is Lee Munro, Burt’s great-nephew. Lee gets a modern Indian Scout with the powertrain modified by the Indian Motorcycle engineering team.
Lee recorded a speed of 300.433 kph that has officially now become the new record for the 1350cc class on the Spirit of Munro 50th anniversary 2017 Indian Scout. The team recreated the motorcycle history while having trial runs for the ultimate Bonneville Speed Week happening in the last week of August.
“My uncle Burt was a significant inspiration for my own racing career, and his appetite for speed is clearly a part of my DNA. I couldn’t be prouder to pilot my own Scout at Bonneville in honor of my Uncle and the 50th anniversary of his historic record.”
says Lee Munro.
|Burt Munro and his modified 1920 Indian Scout|
The other two records were made by engineers at Indian Motorcycle, Chet Michaelson and Dan Gervais who rode on a 2015 Indian Chief Classic and a 2015 Indian Scout respectively. While Chet beat the old record of 151 mph with a speed of 154.132 mph on the M-PG (Modified-Pushrod Gasoline) 2000cc class, Dan was competing in the M-G (Modified-Gasoline) 1350cc class and did a speed of 154.35 mph edging out 153 mph.
On the event’s success, Gary Gray, Vice President Product Development for Indian Motorcycle said “When you’re breaking records during test runs, you know your machine is on point. Our team of engineers has done an incredible job on the Spirit of Munro commemorative Scout.”
There is another motorcycle manufacturer who is full burst into setting a new land-speed record – Triumph. Triumph is attempting to break the land speed record in a 1000 bhp rascal.article. A feat of engineering and guts that will see the machine break the 605.59 kph record in an attempt to set a new outright motorcycle Land Speed World Record in 2017, which will also happen on the Bonneville Salt Flats.