Dubbed “America’s Queen of Speed”, Valerie Thompson is the world’s fastest female motorcycle racer, with a record speed of 304.263mph
To date, she holds seven land speed records and is a member of the prestigious Bonneville 200 MPH Club and the Bonneville BUB Speed 201 MPH Club. In fact, Valerie is a member of five 200mph+ clubs and in 2014, reached a personal best of 217.7mph on a BMW S1000RR at the Texas Mile.
With seven records to her name, it makes Valerie the fastest female motorcycle racer in the world, and she keeps working to achieve the goals she has set for herself, but says she now feels more pressure to succeed.
“After earning my second record, I set a lot of ambitious goals and have been very fortunate to achieve many of them. However, I now feel more disappointment if I fail to win a race or set a new record since I always want to do the best for my team and sponsors. I feel more pressure now to fulfil everyone’s expectations, especially my own.”
But where did it all begin for the Queen of Speed?
“After purchasing my first bike, I got hooked on the fast response of the throttle. Five years later I started racing at our local NHRA track on “Friday Night Drags”. I loved winning on the quarter-mile, but always wanted to keep racing at full throttle at the end of the track. That led me to land speed racing, where courses range from 4 to 11 miles of wide-open throttle.
Valerie cites her biggest inspirations as AMA Hall of Famer and designer of her current ride Denis Manning, and Angelle Sampey, a female Pro-Stock racer who has 41 NHRA wins and three NHRA world titles to her name.
But while Valerie is inspired by others, she is inspiring people herself. She works with charities that help children who are overcoming personal challenges, which earned her the 2011 American Women Riders Community Hero Award.
In 2013, she was featured in the documentary film “Why We Ride”, the Discovery Channel programme “Mega Speed” and the “Bonneville Stories” video and has even had a song written for her titled “Quarter Mile” by award winning rock band CTS.
“Rockets and Titans” documents Valerie’s land speed record attempt
The Rockets and Titans plot goes something like this: Bitter and bankrupt, and all-but-forgotten racing legend recruits an untested female rider to battle two big-budget teams in a race to become the first motorcycle to shatter the 400mph barrier. It’s scheduled for worldwide theatre distribution in 2018.
The quest for the world’s fastest motorcycle title is being captured on film by director Chad DeRosa of P-51 Pictures and Executive Producer Dana Brown, creators of “Dust to Glory,” “On Any Sunday” and the award-winning “Out of Nothing” motorcycle racing documentary. P-51 crews have followed the three top teams competing for the new record for more than 12 months.
The 2017 Bonneville Salt Flats attempt
This year, Valerie and her team headed to Utah to try their hand at breaking the land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out as planned due to adverse weather conditions. “Wind is a major factor when racing a streamliner since we cannot run if wind speed exceeds 3 mph.”
“We installed a new computer system this year and everything was working before we got to Bonneville. Once we got there, we chased electronic gremlins for hours on end. With the help from Simon at MoTec, California he was able to get us back on track.
“Designed by Denis Manning, the Team 7 Streamliner is powered by a 3-liter, turbocharged, 16-valve V4 generating over 500 hp in a package the size of a 1-liter V-twin. This purpose-built motor combined with an aerodynamic carbon fibre is designed with only one thing in mind – breaking the motorcycle world speed record. Which it has done twice. Based on top speed, less than 10 mph separates us from the team currently holding the fastest motorcycle record of 376.363 mph.”
Valerie’s team is very much a family affair, led by AMA Hall of Fame inductee Denis Manning, with his son Peter and granddaughter Charlotte involved too.
Racing at the prestigious Bonneville Salt Flats is something most of us can only dream of. “Bonneville is like being on the moon,” Valerie says. “It’s another world. Still, calm, and round, your eyes are only limited by distance. It’s a serene and brutal place where you can feel everyone’s passion on the starting line.”
But preparing for the Salt Flats is an intensive process. “It’s very important to be prepared both mentally and physically for every competition. It allows you to go to the starting line and not worry about anyone else there!”
Before leaving for an event, Valerie visits Brain State Technologies in Arizona for brainwave optimisation, but also insists a healthy diet, vitamins, rigorous exercise and good sleep helps with strength and focus.
“The last thing I do before I leave the coach is listening to my favorite music and playing with my two Maltese dogs, Speedy and Bentley.
“Before I go down the track I sit in the streamliner and practice my routine …It’s total concentration.”
What does a woman with as many achievements as Valerie do next?
Breaking 400 mph
“I’m on the quest to make history and become the fastest woman on two wheels by breaking the current record of 376+mph. Second, I’d like to pilot the first motorcycle over 400 mph. I’d also like to partner with a strong sponsor to campaign for the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Series in 2018.
“We are considering going to Australia in March 2018 to attempt setting the new record at the Lake Gairdner Speed Week event.
I am ready to take my skills to the next level… 400 MPH…! Our mission will continue for another year and I will #nevergiveup on my goal to make new history. HIStory… I want HERstory!”
You can keep up to date with Valerie via her social media accounts.
Sources: First hand interview, Valerie Thompson’s website – www.valeriethompsonracing.com