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Tuesday 23 January 2024

World Speed Trials

World Speed Trials 

September 22nd-24th, 2023, DEKRA-Lausitz-Ring, Germany

Pics by Horst 'Motographer' Roesler

As announced in AMD in September, the ' petrol heads' of Europe have a new event for their calendars - the World Speed Trials, staged in September 2023 at the DEKRA Lausitz-Ring in eastern Germany.

A new Land Speed Record formula (which means lots of new records to be set) saw nine riders bring ten bikes for an FIM sanctioned "Flying Quarter Mile" test event. A new distance for Land Speed Record racing, the plan is to make Land Speed Record racing a more accessible motorcycle sport. 

Designed as more of an homage to Bonneville - an additional, not an alternate - the formula makes access to Land Speed Records a lot more versatile and, for Europe, it is a return to the roots of the sport, to the days when the likes of public roads like the German Autobahn or specialized tracks as the AVUS, the Autodrome de Linas-Montlhéry or Brooklands laid the foundation for speed freakery.

Ruedi Steck, Swiss race and event promotor and also multiple Land Speed Record racer at the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Higher speeds saw the introduction of longer 'tracks' like the beaches of Daytona, Pendine Sands in Wales and, later, the Salt Flats of Bonneville (Utah/USA), Lake Gairdner (Australia) and recently the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, or Black Rock Desert for the highest Land Speed Record runs. 

This 2023 World Speed Trials on the 5.8 km test-oval next to the racetrack acted as 'test-run' for future events that may see more attention and more competitors - and to check out the logistics of the test facility, which is part of a motorsport park north of Dresden. 

"It was time to give Land Speed Record racing a new impulse - a boost that would allow new records to be run, bring new racers to the events and to allow riders to go fast in a safe and controlled environment," stated Ruedi Steck, Swiss race and event promoter and also multiple Land Speed Record racer at the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Fastest rider in 2023: Kawasaki-powered Johannes Mueller on another 300+ km/h run

Ruedi Steck 'has form' where speed record events in Europe are concerned, having been behind an effort to establish a European Speed Trials in Italy in 2013. That event never got off the ground, but this time round, with the FIM on side and an organization like DEKRA giving it a following wind, maybe the formula could be 'a lock'.

"This 2023 World Speed Trials was a test-run designed to show what can be achieved without massive costs and risks for both the organizers as well as the participants," said Steck. 

Following his record runs at the BUB Speed Trials in Bonneville in 2009, with teams of up to four motorcycles, it was he who organized the 2018 "World Speed Trials" on Lake Gairdner in Australia - with bikes and equipment having to be shipped halfway around the world and then - literally -transported into the middle of nowhere. 

With the unpredictably of weather as well as costs, conventional LSR-racing is not for the feint-hearted. While nothing could ever replace the demands that The Great White Dyno places on men and women and their machines, anything to further popularize the sport and work towards a supporting race structure around the world is to be welcomed. Kudos Ruedi!

2024 World Speed Trials scheduled for August 2-4 2024.