British Bonneville: Speed Week event set to be held at Elvington in May 2023

Speed Week is coming to Elvington Airfield near York in May 2023
Speed Week is coming to Elvington Airfield near York in May 2023
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A new Bonneville-style ‘Speed Week’ event is being planned to take place in Britain next spring, with organisers hoping to see riders eclipse the magical 300mph mark.

Called the UK & ITA International Speed Week, it’ll take place at Elvington Airfield near York from May 20-26, 2023 and is likely to attract a 30-strong field of international speed merchants both on bikes and in cars, with spectators welcome, too.

It’s the brainchild of UK speed supremo Trevor Duckworth, himself a former record holder who set up the run-what-you-brung- style Straightliners events at Elvington’s two-mile former runway around 25 years ago.

“The 300mph will come,” Duckworth told MCN. “The elite riders… Phil Wood, Jack Frost, Guy Martin… everybody’s got enough power. But for their streamlining to work you’ve got to have perfect conditions.

“You can’t have a sidewind,” he continued. “That’s why holding it over a whole week will work. At some point, if you’re patient, you’ll just find that slot and go.

“It’s going to be a major event. We’re not sure yet if it’ll become biannual or yearly but what we’re trying to offer is an alternative to going to Bonneville – it costs a fortune to transport a bike there and race.”

There will be a full paddock with decent facilities as riders try to break 300mph

Conceived to make straightline speed runs as accessible and affordable as possible, Straightliners now oversees around 40 day and weekend events across the UK, including the TT’s recent Ramsey Sprint. Trevor’s sister company, UK & ITA (International Timing Adjudication), meanwhile controls the timing and formalises UK and International speed records (world records are administered by the FIM and only permitted at a few sanctioned events and tracks such as Bonneville in the US).

“We’ve run record and top speed events for years,” Trevor told MCN. “We’ve also invested heavily. We’ve got about £30,000-worth of timing equipment and can now do all kinds of records – ‘flying kilometre’, ‘standing kilometre’, Imperial distances such as the quarter-mile, and so on.

“But to cram all that into a weekend, especially with British weather, is quite a task – so we thought about doing a week,” the Straightliners founder added.

To help keep riders and drivers’ minds on the task in hand, Trevor and his team will take care of things behind the scenes, adding: “We’re going to have a big paddock with workshop facilities, flushing toilets and showers, plus catering, so all the contenders have to think about is riding their bike. It’ll be more money but it’ll be unique – and if the weather isn’t perfect they’ll be able to leave it until the next day!”

Although open to all and with bikes as small as 50cc, Trevor expects the highlight to be the Standing Mile event, which could see the UK record broken with speeds over 300mph, and the likes of TV and road racing star Guy Martin taking part.

Sidecars are welcome at Speed Week too!
Phil West

By Phil West

MCN Contributor and bike tester.