Vodka-Fueled Motorcycle Broke Speed Record at Bonneville Speed Trials
Forget about getting drunk and not knowing where you are here. Vodka, which is not only effective in disinfecting a toothache, preventing poison ivy, cooking pasta dishes, boosting your health, or even creating a recipe for an effective aftershave, is now used as fuel for motorcycles. And what’s even better here is that if you do this right, vodka can help you set new bike speed records, care of the Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials.
Case in point: husband and wife team Ryan and Jenny Montgomery, owner of Montgomery Distillery, took ethanol from the “heads” (leftovers from distilling that are too impure to drink) of Quicksilver Vodka and used it to run an old, modified 1980 Yamaha XS650. What’s more, they used it to break a speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats.
Classified as an alternate-fuel-powered 650cc-750cc partially-modified motorcycle, there was no front brake to save weight. There wasn’t even a speedometer, either.
Other than a helmet and protective gear, the only semblance of safety that Ryan had was a “lanyard or cutoff switch” wrapped around his wrist. This turns the engine off automatically if he ever falls. Another was the fuel line that he wrapped in fire-proof material, just in case the ethanol from the vodka leaks and catches fire.
What’s more, Ryan Montgomery had no experience racing or creating motorcycles before. “It’s a little scary,” he told the Missoulian. “And it’s a little scary doing it on a bike you built yourself.”
The motorcycle, which they named “Sudden Wisdom Amateur Racing,” was entered to race at the Bonneville Salt Flats near Salt Lake City. There weren’t any plans to beat the current record for its class, which is just under 158 kph. However, at the end of the race, Montgomery was able to put out 183 kph that set a new speed record.
Interestingly, their record was broken by Dennis Weinhold a few days later. In this case, Weinhold used regular gas to power his motorcyle at a record-breaking and impressive 225 kph.
In the end, all that mattered to the Montgomerys was the accomplishment, not how long their record lasted.
“For me, most of the accomplishment’s already done. I built the bike and got it to run on our stuff,” he said. “This is just the icing on the cake, going down and racing it.”