Yes, that’s Burt Munroe in the lead photo and he’s just the tip of the iceberg of cool in this video made by Harley-Davidson at Bonneville Speed Week 1970. We’re already thinking about the salt this year and a video like this gets our juices really flowing. While the film was made to highlight the accomplishments of Harley racers like Leo Payne breaking 200mph on a non-streamlined bike and the attempts for the all out speed record for a streamlined motorcycle by the Harley powered machine profiled here there’s plenty of awesome cars as well. Outside of the machinery, there’s the people. Bikinis and pith hats were the fashion of the day and as much as the place has changed in terms of competition, it is still very, very much the same in terms of its stark and grassroots nature.
There’s are stories of thrashing, passing tech, and the anticipation of trying to do the types of things that no one has ever done before with respect to speed. Today we do not think about Harleys killing it on the salt. They can run strong in their own categories but at this point in history these bikes were vying for the all out performance marks. The imported motorcycle invasion had no really come yet and the mighty V-twin was still the rumbling king of two wheel horsepower making. There is an interesting note here. Don Vesco set a 251mph record on a twin engine Yamaha streamliner after Speed Week, foreshadowing how motorcycle performance would transform over the years.
The payoff here is that the Harley guys may not have set the record during Speed Week but the Harley guys were torqued off when Yamaha got the number. Their thrash and return to the salt is fully shown here. This is bad ass.
Rather than babble on, we’re going to tell you to sit back, relax, and enjoy one of the neatest Bonneville videos we have ever showed you and that’s something else.