It’s only seven days until the Mike Cook’s Bonneville Shootout, and like many riders and their teams who’ve spent the better part of a year testing, tuning and tweaking their machines to perfection in preparation of the big day, the final days, hours and minutes leading up to “go time” remind each that the work’s not done until the salt’s finally under the wheels.
And as seasoned as Al Lamb and his team are, having ridden the ragged edge for more than 40 years, nothing ever feels “finished” until it’s time to start “tech,” as they say.
“Everyone always asks, ‘When do you get excited about going?’” said Lambo, as he’s known on the salt. “I get excited after I get to the salt and the pit is set up. Until then, it’s just work.
“Like last year, for example. The truck broke down in Kansas for 24 hours on the side of the road,” he said. “So I tell them, ‘Until it’s all there, set up and unloaded in the pit – when we start going to tech, then I start getting excited, because now we’re talking about racing.”
And this is just the final days leading up to the trip – the days in between are even more intense. A lot of time, energy and money go into breaking down the bike; moving centers of gravity; dealing with anomalies resulting from solving one problem and creating another; testing dummies in 230 mph wind tunnels (because, apparently, there are rules against allowing a human to do it, even if they have broken records going much faster); and quite of bit science and engineering to understand the relationship between Lambo and his Honda CBR1000RR to find the perfect ‘balance’ that will break a record.
“The goal that we’ve set this year is 280 mph and we’d like to at least make a one-way pass at this speed,” he said. “And we’d like to put the two-way record at least in the low 270s; that’s the goal, but it all depends on the salt.
“We’d like to try and push the record up 10 mph if we could, but it’s all dependent on conditions,” he said. “It really is.”
Lamb and his team will find out soon enough if the conditions are favorable as they attempt to beat their current records of 265.4 and 262.4 mph, one- and two-way speeds, respectively, during the Mike Cook’s Bonneville Shootout on September 12.