As a teenager, Gary Ilminen read about the motorcycle land speed record-setters that made history on the vast salt flats of Bonneville. For more than four decades, the dream of competing at Bonneville on a motorcycle was set aside, almost forgotten. Then came the chance to compete at Bonneville in 2009; three more trips there ensued and in 2014, the dream of setting a National speed record came true!
Praise for Ilminen and The Unlikely 1
“Anyone who’s ever restored a motorcycle or gone racing-- or just dreamed of doing either one-- will enjoy Gary Ilminen’s “The Unlikely 1.” It explains not just the dawning of a long-time dream of capturing a class win on the Salt, but what it actually takes to get it done—the close focus and fine detail of tuning problems, trailer maintenance, tow-car maladies and registration lines that we all put up with in pursuit of those occasional moments of glory. It’s a also a nice travelogue about trips West and the magic of the Salt Flats, as well as a useful guidebook to anyone thinking of pursuing a land speed record at Bonneville. Like all the best motorcycle books, it makes you want to get out there and try it yourself.” —Peter Egan, writer for Cycle World magazine since 1978 and columnist for Road & Track. Egan is the author and co-author of a dozen books including Leanings, Leanings 2 and Leanings 3 and the Side Glances series of books.
“Spoiler alert: Our hero is modern, modest, everyday motorcycle rider, who comes from the same EXACT mold of Burt Munro (World’s Fastest Indian), except he naively rescues an older $400 piece-of-shit Japanese bike which should have been scrapped years earlier... and in a wonderful triumph of hope over adversity eventually earns not only a Bonneville class record, but ends up with an interesting and inspiring story. This is a well-crafted, very likable, interesting-reading memoir of a multi-year effort which takes you from dreaming and wanting, to eventually achieving a land speed record, all on a paycheck-to-paycheck-regular-working-person's-life budget. So if you are curious about how you too might someday achieve your own Bonneville Land Speed Record with almost no money, here is the best contemporary how-to guide you’ll ever find. Or, if you simply want to enjoy reading a very nice true motorcycle story, it’s that, too. You’ll probably recognize parts of yourself on more than a few pages...and smile. I did.” —Andy Goldfine, Founder of Aero Design & Manufacturing, Inc., maker of Aerostich motorcycle riding gear (www.aerostich.com ), creator of “Ride Your Motorcycle to Work” day.
"Ilminen brings us into the soul of land speed racing... through the heart and eyes of a passionate small privateer looking not for media glory, but for personal achievement. It is a story that will not only inspire enthusiast, but will guide them through the methodical process of achieving their dream." —Armand Ensanian, author of Discovering the Motorcycle. email@example.com
“As Gary Ilminen discovered, Bonneville is not a race... it’s an experience! Enjoy this well-told adventurous tale on his road to land speed racing enlightenment.” —David Fetherston, co-author with Ron Main and editor of Bonneville-A Century of Speed. Publisher, Salt Car Garage, www.bonnevillebookstore.com