Heading into its third year, the Bonneville VintageGP is fast becoming one of the vintage racing season’s premier events. Considering the competition — like July’s Vintage Motorcycle Days and October’s Barber Vintage Festival — the bar is pretty damn high. But BonnevilleGP organizer Tom Kullen doesn’t seem intimidated by that. Judging by the ambitious schedule he’s put together for this year’s event, it just motivates him to succeed.
As one of the moving personalities behind 1999’s Park City, Utah, vintage race, Kullen’s no stranger to the challenges facing event organizers. But the Park City event infected Kullen with a bug to establish a new venue for vintage racing in the Rockies. Six years later, Kullen learned a new track was being planned in Tooele, Utah, just 30 minutes west of Salt Lake City, and he knew he’d found his new home.
The new track, Miller Motorsports Park, opened in summer 2006, and Kullen held the first Bonneville VintageGP that October. Working with the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association (AHRMA), Kullen got his event on AHRMA’s calendar. Noticing the attention the little CB160 racers in the Northwest were garnering, Kullen drew Oregon and Washington CB160 racers to Utah for a Battle of the CB160s Le Mans Start, a favorite event in Northwest vintage race circles. He also arranged for racers to run the hallowed grounds of the Bonneville Salt Flats during the BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials.
It was a happening. Riders lined up to run the salt, and racers and attendees alike loved the new 2.2-mile circuit at Miller (the track can be configured from a single, 4.5-mile circuit into a pair of 2.2-mile runs), which is designed to give race fans unimpeded views of the action.
Kullen repeated his formula for 2007, and everything’s in place for the 3rd Annual Bonneville VintageGP, proudly presented this year by Motorcycle Classics.
It all starts Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2008, when riders will start lining up to make runs on the Salt Flats during the BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials, which run through Sunday, Sept. 7. If you’ve never been, get there early to check out the Salt Flats — the sights and sounds of vintage and modern bikes running on the salt are a visual and auditory treat like you’ve never experienced.
Practice for rounds 14-15 of the AHRMA Michigan Engineering Historic Cup Roadrace Series and rounds 18-19 of the AHRMA Speed & Sport National Vintage Trials series starts on Friday, Sept. 5, with racing on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 6-7. There’s also the Worth Custom Bike Show, the Vintage and Legend Bikes parade laps, a swap meet and vendors hawking your favorite motorcycle gear.
Saturday and Sunday will feature rounds of the Battle of the CB160s Le Mans Start races — a total hoot — plus some lucky stiff will walk away with a race-ready CB160 prepared by famed CB160 builders Vicious Cycle, Portland, Ore., following a raffle drawing on Sunday.
And of course we’ll be there as we have since the first event in 2006, hosting the Motorcycle Classics Classic Bike Show West on Saturday and the Motorcycle Classics Vintage Motorcycle Ride on Sunday.
Time’s a-wasting, so get out your maps, load up the saddle bags — or the minivan — and join us for great vintage racing during the 3rd Annual Bonneville VintageGP.