Indian’s attempt at another land speed record fell short over this year’s speed week, and yet it seems so fitting. At first, that may sound horrible, but you have to really examine Burt’s legacy to really understand why it’s beautiful.
If you haven’t heard Indian and Munro’s own family planned to honor the ‘Worlds Fastest Indian’ with their own record breaking run. The plan was to send a newly built Scout called ‘The Spirit of Munro’ down the salt at over 200mph. Piloting the custom missile would be non-other than Lee Munro, Burt’s Grand-Nephew. With the bike running in a separate class, Burt’s original record would go untouched while a new one is set. 50-years from the original. Unfortunately, the run came up short. Lee was only able to capture an official fastest run of 186.415MPH.
It sounds like an anticlimactic end to a heartfelt story. But that’s just us getting lost on numbers. See, Burt competed at the salt flats 9-times during his time. And in those nine times, he only set 3 world records. When it comes to land speed racing those are incredible odds, adding to his legacy. But rarely is it brought up the times Mr. Munro made his way to the salt without finding success. 6 journeys Burt went home empty-handed, and yet he still kept coming back, eventually setting a record that stands to this day. Burt never let a rough trip get him down, and we shouldn’t let this get us down either.
The entire Indian team including the Munro family watched ‘The Worlds Fastest Indian’ under the stars. Indians Marketing Director Reid Wilson recounts the experience by saying, “I’ve seen the movie countless times. But to watch it with Speed Week attendees, the Munro family, and the film’s director on the very Bonneville grounds that the film was based upon, was a surreal experience. It was a special way to honor Burt and the perfect way to compliment the efforts of Lee Munro and our Spirit of Munro racing team on the Salt Flats that weekend.”
So how did the week go? Well, it was a battle purely against the elements. For his first run, Lee managed a top speed of 191.28MPH but was counted as unofficial due to a timing malfunction. This was done on the 5-mile short course. For the next day, the team experimented with some gearing changes before moving to the 9-mile long course in preparation for a record run. With the deck stacked against them, the 2017 Indian Scout wasn’t able to muster enough speed. Between high winds and a rough track surface, the ‘Spirit of Munro’ topped out at just over 186MPH. The results are still very respectable. Even more so when you consider this motorcycle was built as a one-off machine just months ago.
Even without a record to his name, Lee Munro was happy with their efforts. “It was my greatest honor to represent Indian Motorcycle in such an incredible tribute to my great uncle on this historic 50th Anniversary,” said Lee Munro. “We may not have had the results we were after, but piloting a modified Indian Scout on the same salt as my great Uncle Burt will forever be one of my most-cherished experiences. I’m looking forward to future runs and more success with my teammates and friends at Indian Motorcycle.”
No word yet on whether Indian and the Munro’s will attempt the record next year. If Lee is anything like his Great Uncle he will surely be back, setting records before you know it.