Video: Indian at Bonneville Speed Week

50 years ago Burt Munro set an under 1000cc class record of 183.59mph on his Indian Scout Streamliner at the Bonneville Salt Flats. In July his great nephew Lee Munro also set a speed record onboard an Indian Scout. Now Indian have released four videos on Youtube detailing the journey that took the team to the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Lee reached a top speed of 186.861mph to set a new record in the 1350cc ‘Modified Partial Streamliner – Gas’ category at El Mirage in California in July. Lee and the team used the El Mirage event as a test to prove he could handle the modified bike at high speeds before they took part in Bonneville Speed Week in August.


Speaking to 1NEWS, Lee said: “They’re not going to let any monkey on a bike twist a throttle without proving that.You’ve got to prove your salt. The bike moves around a little bit but the Indian was pretty well-planted, it didn’t give me any reason to worry that it wasn’t stable. The engine’s so strong, the chassis is so stable – it felt like I was riding on a street on a well-built road bike – nothing scary.

“Everybody’s been coming up to me and they associate me with Burt and what he accomplished on his Indian, and it’s quite a special feeling. I’ve been told ‘get used to being recognised, boy, because it’s about to happen’. I’m real proud, I’m very, very proud to be able to carry the name.”

Indian Motorcycle Marketing Director Reid Wilson said: “Motorcycling is about shedding boundaries and limitations to go beyond the norm and there is no better example of that than Burt Munro. Driven by unparalleled determination and a legendary passion for the pursuit, Burt Munro embodies the spirit of Indian Motorcycle and we couldn’t be prouder to honour his legacy with an updated version of his historic record on the Bonneville Salt Flats in August.”

Indian set more records

Lee wasn’t the only rider to set a new record on an Indian, as the American manufacturer had two other riders at the event.

Chet Michaelson, an engine calibration technician at Indian rode a 2015 Indian Chief Classic in the Modified-Pushrod Gasoline 2000cc class and reached a top speed of 154.132mph to beat the old record of 151mph.

The third Indian rider was Senior Engine Calibration Technician at Indian, Dan Gervais. Riding a lightly modified 2015 Indian Scout in the Modified-Gasoline 1350cc class, Dan set a top speed of 154.354mph, just beating the previous record of 153mph.

As the team prepared to run the bike at Bonneville Salt Flats, Indian released a short video recounting the life of Burt Munro, and just how much he means to Indian Motorcycle.

The video, titled ‘Spirit of Munro’ is the first part of a multi-part series, all of which can be seen below:

A tough time at Bonneville

Lee and the team are now at Bonneville Salt Flats for Speed Week and Lee reached a top speed of 191mph in his first few runs on the five mile short course.

After the promising initial runs the team hoped to break the 200mph barrier, but unfortunately the elements were against them. Taking to the nine mile long course for the first time, high winds and rough conditions meant Lee was only able to reach a top speed of 186.41mph. A second attempt on a new course saw more rough conditions, forcing Lee to abort before completing the timed section. 

“It was my greatest honour to represent Indian Motorcycle in such an incredible tribute to my great uncle on this historic 50th Anniversary,” said Lee. “We may not have had the results we were after, but piloting a modified Indian Scout on the same salt as my great Uncle Burt will forever be one of my most-cherished experiences. I’m looking forward to future runs and more success with my team-mates and friends at Indian Motorcycle.”

Indian finished the weekend with a moon-lit screening of ‘The World’s Fastest Indian’ for al the Bonneville Speed Week Campers, with the film’s director, Roger Donaldson, in attendance.

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Liam Marsden

By Liam Marsden

Former MCN Web Producer