The Odyssey of the World’s Fastest BMW Motorcycle

Jun 12, 2017 View Comments by

Worlds Fastest BMW

I recently dropped by The Hopkins Collection BMW Motorcycle Museum to check out a recent addition to Jim Hopkins’ rapidly expanding assemblage of vintage BMW motorcycles and rare marque artifacts. The new centerpiece of the post-World War II collection is, to date, the world’s fastest BMW motorcycle. How this 2010 S 1000 RR evolved into a land speed record holder at the Bonneville Salt Flats and finally came to rest in The Hopkins Collection is a fascinating story.

The bike, in its original configuration, had a notable amount of racing success in the hands of its initial owner Gary Orr, who is also the owner of San Diego BMW Motorcycles. After winning numerous local California road races, the bike competed in the AMA Superbike class in 2011, ridden by Steve Rapp. Since that time, it was raced exclusively at Bonneville in land speed trials.

Worlds Fastest BMWOn the Salt Flats of Bonneville, the bike was piloted by the late Andy Sills, the renowned motorcycle land speed racer. Andy set two FIM World Records on the bike at Bonneville in 2013: the Naked Class at 217.4 mph, and the Partially Streamlined/Naturally Aspirated Class at 227.5 mph. In 2014 at Bonneville, Andy’s fastest recorded speed for this remarkable BMW was 236 mph, although it never came close to realizing its full potential.

The engine has produced more than 300 hp on the Dyno, but with the nitrous oxide system installed, it has the capability of making around 400 hp. Because conditions at Bonneville weren’t favorable in 2014 for using more than 40 percent of the available boost, the race team believed the bike could clock an additional 60 mph with full boost. Most of the credit for the bike’s performance goes to motorcycle tuner Shane Kinderis and his Alpine Performance team from Victoria, Australia.

Andy Sills was not the only land speed record holder in the family. Andy and his wife Erin Hunter Sills hold 28 world, national, and Guinness World Records. Of particular note is their Guinness two-up world record at Bonneville on a production BMW S 1000 RR. Their average two-way speed was 181.42 mph, with Erin and Andy alternating as pilot and pillion for the required two attempts. In 2016, Erin Sills had a phenomenal run at the Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials where she piloted the team’s S 1000 RR to three new records in AMA Production 1000cc, Modified Gas, and Unfaired.

Andy’s untimely death in 2015, however, halted further campaigning of the 2010 bike at Bonneville, at least for the foreseeable future. San Diego BMW, with Erin’s blessing, offered the bike to The Hopkins Collection. Jim and Erin talked at length about Andy’s amazing life and his many accomplishments, and during that conversation Erin mentioned that she and Andy planned for Erin to take a run at the record on the bike the following year. Jim pledged to Erin that Andy’s bike would never be ridden by anyone else, and would always be available for her if she wants to take it back to Bonneville.

In the meantime, the world’s fastest BMW motorcycle rests in The Hopkins Collection along with the leathers and helmet Andy was wearing when he set the record, Erin and Gary’s leathers, and other Hunter Sills Racing memorabilia related to this amazing BMW. To see some of the other items in this private collection, visit www.hopkinsbmwmuseum.com.

Text: James T. Parks
Photography: James T. Parks and Megan Kinderis

 

 

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