Turbo Bonneville at Bonneville

Image An American Triumph dealer has set two new land speed records on a turbocharged Triumph Bonneville.


An American Triumph dealer has set two new land speed records, recording 162.47 mph on a turbocharged Triumph Bonneville at the world famous Bonneville Speed Week.

Matt Capri of South Bay Triumph in California set two new unfaired 1000cc Blown Fuel records on his specially prepared twin-cylinder machine, recording a two-way speed of 162.472mph in the kilometre run and 161.188 mph in the mile. The speed demon recorded over 169mph on a one-way run but wasn’t able to complete a run in the other direction within the time limit. In order to set a record, runs must be set in two directions, with the average speed counting.

Prior to Speed Week, the record-setting Triumph had recorded 232 bhp and 153 lb/ft of torque on the dyno. But with the machine ready to go only days before the Bonneville event, the team chose to run conservative levels of turbo boost for the recorded run. Having established a new record, the team will spend the winter testing and developing the machine, with a view to breaking the 200 mph barrier at the 2009 Speed Week. Capri, who has tuned and raced Triumphs for over 40 years, raced at this year’s Speed Week to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Triumph’s iconic Bonneville model, which was named after the Utah salt flats that play host to the annual festival of speed.


The first Bonneville was introduced at the 1958 Earl’s Court motor show, for the 1959 model year, and was named in honour of the special streamlined Triumphs that Texan Johnny Allen had ridden to over 200 mph in the late 1950s. Riding alongside Capri was renowned British freelance journalist Alan Cathcart, who rode a normally aspirated Triumph at the event and will write about their adventures for magazines worldwide.

He said: “We succeeded in our objective of setting a new officially recognized AMA speed record. I rode a non-supercharged Thruxton at 149.50 mph – not bad for a street-legal Triumph twin – and Matt set two new 1000cc Blown Fuel records, at 162.47 mph for the kilo and 161.188 mph for the mile.

“A lot of people worked very hard on this project. Matt built and developed the bike himself and Haltech, who developed the ECU, worked for two weeks straight. Pirelli, our main sponsor, came up with a whole range of tyres, including some designed for wet weather superbike racing. That was very important as it is a very strange sensation to ride on what looks like ice and to have the rear wheel spinning at 150mph. The bike only ran for the first time four days before leaving for the Salt Flats, and so although Matt did a one-way run at over 169 mph, it is almost certainly a 200 mph motorcycle. That gives me something to aim at when I ride the bike next year and try to join the 200 mph club!”

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