May 19, 2024

Land Speed Racer Sam Wheeler Killed In Bonneville Crash

Sam Wheeler
Renowned land speed motorcycle racer Sam Wheeler has died from injuries received in a crash at the Bonneville Salt Flats. (Photo credit: NY Times)

Highly regarded land speed motorcycle racer Sam Wheeler has died after a crash in testing for this year’s Bonneville Speed Week in Utah. He was 72.

Event organiser Mike Cook said Mr Wheeler was traveling at about 200 mph (320km/h) when his streamliner motorcycle began to fishtail.

The motorcycle then launched into the air, flipped and crashed down on the caged section that surrounds the rider.

Mr Wheeler was alive when the rescue team pulled him from the wreckage, but he died about four hours later in hospital.

The engineer from Arcadia in California had about 50 years experience in land speed racing, and was reportedly in the process of hand-building a motorcycle that would travel at 400 mph.

He was known amongst his peers as a perfectionist who knew aerodynamics well.

Land speed racers are at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah preparing for this year’s event in August.

What is normally an annual event has been cancelled for the last two years because of the condition of the salt flat.