Veteran Land Speed Motorcycle Racer Sam Wheeler Killed

Motorcycle crashes in testing at the Bonneville Salt Flats

Veteran Land Speed Motorcycle Racer Sam Wheeler Killed

Highly regarded land speed motorcycle racer Sam Wheeler has died from injuries he received in a crash at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

He was testing his streamliner motorcycle in preparation for this year’s Bonneville Speed Week. He was 72.

Event organiser Mike Cook said Mr Wheeler was traveling at about 200 mph (320km/h) when the motorcycle began to fishtail, launched into the air and crashed down on the caged section surrounding 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 known amongst his peers as a perfectionist who knew aerodynamics well.

He has reportedly been hand-building a motorcycle that would travel at 400 mph.

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.

About Steve McDowall 299 Articles
Steve is the team’s motorcycle writer and contributes to the podcast each week. He started his “on air” career as a guest on 4BC where he met Joel, and has been with Behind the Wheel now for over 6 years. Steve’s fascination for anything with wheels and an engine started as a child and even though he still loves his cars, he found his true passion was with motorcycles. He is also an accredited rider trainer, consultant and coach. Check out Steve’s website –
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