Bikernet Blog Search Bikernet
Ride Forever -
Saturday Edition


2022 Will Be a Busy Year on the Salt for Valerie

By Eric Studer, photos by Scooter Grub and from various publications

Share this story:

Valerie Thompson is the World’s Fastest Female Motorcycle Racer and a 10x land speed record holder with membership in the Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame as well as eight 200 MPH Clubs and one 300 MPH Club. She is consistently ranked as one of the World’s Top 10 Fastest Motorcycle Racers.

Valerie is the designated rider of the famed BUB 7 motorcycle streamliner, a proven record setting vehicle designed by AMA Hall of Fame member, Denis Manning. This American-built streamliner has held the motorcycle land-speed record twice from 2006 - 2008 and again from 2009 to 2010.

Racing the BUB 7 during the 2018 Dry Lake Racers Australia (DLRA) Speed Week competition at Lake Gairdner, she set a new speed record of 328.467 mph (528.616 km/h) to become Australia’s fastest female streamliner motorcycle racer. Just days later, she experienced a horrific crash at over 360 mph during the World Speed Trials. Valerie walked away from the catastrophe that scattered wreckage for over a mile with only minor injuries, a true testimony of the vehicle’s design and safety features.

Piloting the Team Turbo Tiger Kawasaki for the first at the 2021 ECTA Arkansas Mile Spring Fling she set new records in both the half-mile and two-kilometers with a top speed of 216.035 mph (348.181 km/h) in addition to becoming one of the newest members of ECTA’s 200 MPH Club.

Valerie will have a busy 2022 starting with two spring testing sessions and plans to compete at the Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials with the BUB 7 Streamliner after a five-year rebuilding process. She will also be the designated rider at select events for both the Team Turbo Tiger Kawasaki and Motus 1650cc MSTR owned by Robert Swartz. In addition, Valerie will continue pursuing new records on four-wheels piloting the Treit & Davenport dual-engine Target 550 Streamliner.

Often referred to as “America’s Queen of Speed,” Valerie is a popular motorsports ambassador and inspiring role model. Her relentless quest to become the world’s fastest motorcycle racer by breaking the current world record of 376.363 mph (605.697 km/h) is the focus of the upcoming land speed racing documentary film, “Rockets and Titans.”

Seeking a new challenge away from racing, she started playing pickleball in February and instantly fell in love with America’s fastest growing sport. After just eight games, she built her own backyard court. What started as a new element of her fitness regime led to playing 4-5+ times a week, professional lessons, tournaments and attending LevelUp Pickleball camps. In addition to capturing new speed records, Valerie’s goals include earning a professional pickleball players rating after winning 2 Silver Medals in just her second tournament.

Valerie’s pickleball passion has generated enormous media interest resulting in cover and feature stories in USA Pickleball (Official Magazine of Pickleball by USA Pickleball Association), Bentley (Official publication for Bentley owners worldwide), Scottsdale Living, Woman Rider, and Harley-Davidson Enthusiast magazines. Her temporary pickleball court on the famed Bonneville Salt Flats, the world’s fastest racecourse, made front-page news in the Wendover-Times after a spirited game with the city’s Mayor.

Valerie is an independent racer and aspiring pickleball pro currently seeking sponsorship for her quest to break the world motorcycle speed record. Your support helps the BUB 7 team rewrite racing history by shattering barriers and speed records.

We get a lot of media questions about Valerie’s introduction to land speed racing and a woman competing in a male dominated sport. Whenever possible, Valerie insists on mentioning the mentors who played a critical role in her racing success. We don’t control what is finally printed, but here is just one example from this year:

Q&A for Rider Magazine Insider Podcast and Woman Rider profile

Being a successful woman in powersports - where the gender bias is being recognized - is a feat in itself. What was it like for you to break into motorcycle racing as a woman? “When I was just getting started, I encountered some bias not only from competitors, but potential sponsors and team owners as well. The first time I raced at Bonneville, there were only 3 other female competitors, so we really stood out. A lot of people didn’t take me seriously until I established myself as a serious competitor capable of breaking records.

“I collected my first two records with team owner Keith Ball, who had a lot of faith in me and provided my first two record rides at Bonneville. Now I have Denis Manning, designer of the BUB 7 streamliner and AMA Hall of Fame member, as a mentor and team director. So yes, I encountered some bias among males in the sport, but I’ve had many more positive experiences than negative ones. I’ve been very fortunate in land speed racing where you are judged primarily on what you achieve on the track.”

"Valerie stepped up without hesitation to ride the first sport bike 120-inch Panhead built by me around a John Reed concept configuration. It was basically a rubber-mounted FXR styled Panhead named the Salt Shaker. She rode it to over 150 mph, setting her first land speed record at Bonneville. She couldn’t wait to ride my next salt creation, the Assalt Weapan, another H-D Panhead she rode to her second land speed racing record. No doubt about it, Valerie was built for speed.”

--Keith R. Ball

As you may know, Valerie has been featured in several books over the last 18 months, including “History of Speed” by Martin Roach and “Bonneville’s Women of Land Speed Racing” by “LandSpeed” Louise Ann Noeth. Based on the types of racing and movie media questions we get, I am collecting quotes about Valerie from individuals who have worked with Valerie at various points in her career. Here are two examples:

“I’m tickled pink Valerie is being inducted into the Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame. She’s paid her dues on every type of racing surface and has the records to prove it. She knows no fear, delivers on her promises and is a wonderful sponsor ambassador. I’ve worked with the best riders in the business from Cal Rayburn to Chis Carr. Valerie ranks right up there with the best of the best.”

-- Denis Manning (Team “7” Racing president/BUB “7” Streamliner designer/AMA Hall of Fame member)

“All I can say is anyone playing Valerie better come prepared because that girl always does! Frankly, I would not be surprised if Valerie figured out a way to play pickleball while riding one of her many motorcycles.”

-- “LandSpeed” Louise Ann Noeth (Motorsports author and land speed racer)

Click to order and go fast!
Click to order and go fast!

Since you played a key role in building the foundation of Valerie’s land speed racing success, we want to ensure you are properly recognized. I have just one more question.

How would you like to be referred to when asked? ( founder, Team owner, Bike tuner, etc)
Who came up with the name ‘Assalt Weapan?’

“I’m the founder of and 5-Ball Racing Team, President of 5-Ball Inc. I built the two bikes Valerie rode to her first two records. That year 2006 was the first time I returned to Bonneville after 16 years. The last time I was 1990, and I was on the Easyriders team and the Editorial Director of Easyriders Magazine. We set the Motorcycle World Land Speed Record at 321 mph and held the record for 16 years, until 2006.

Click to become a sponsor!
Click to become a sponsor!

That year was amazing for many reasons. With Valerie we set another World Land Speed Record. And next year 5-Ball Racing will head back to the salt with the “Salt Torpedo,” the first Streamlined Trike base inside an historic belly tank and piloted by Micah McCloskey. Note the name. The Bonneville Salt Flats naturally lends itself to amazingly appropriate titles, which adds to the fun of racing on 65 square miles of salt.

Berry Wardlaw, the founder of Accurate Engineering, was our tuner during two record years 2006 and 2007. Wouldn’t it be interesting if Valerie was the first woman to set the motorcycle world land speed record.

--Keith R. Ball

Click for action on the salt.
Click for action on the salt.

For details on sponsorship opportunities, speaking engagements and celebrity appearances, email:

Check out our threads, buckles and books.
Check out our threads, buckles and books.

Share this story:

Back to Celebrate Women

Your thoughts on this article

Your Name
Anti-Spam Question:
Please enter the words you see in the box, in order and separated by a space. Doing so helps prevent automated programs from abusing this service.