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Updated: Jan 24, 2022

Words: Joe Barthlow, Andrew Trinh

Photos: Andrew Trinh, Kieran Walsh

Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, Sept. 10-12, 2021

Since 1951, Lambretta riders, tuners and engineers have pushed these Italian motor scooters beyond their limits, in terms of pure speed. Today, it's no different. Seventy-one years ago, the bar was set high by a 125cc, fiberglass enclosed Lambretta in Italy with a stunning record of 125mph. In the past 15 years we've seen some serious attempts by the British recording speeds of 109mph, 127mph and 132mph. All different Lambrettas on different surfaces with different speed measuring devices and different rules. So, the need for speed and the quest to be the fastest marches on.

Then there's the mystique of the Bonneville Salt Flats. Bonneville has long been the mecca for speed racers to pilgrimage to, be it two wheels or four. The Bonneville Salt Flats International Speedway is known around the world as a place where land speed records are set. Whether its custom-built cars, to stretched high-cc motorcycles to little vintage 2-stroke Italian scooters, if you're out to break a speed record, Bonneville is where you want to be, especially around the annual Speed Week in late-August, early September.

For the last several years, our man Jay Keele has put on the Bonneville Vintage Scooter Blowout, in conjunction with World of Speed Weekend organized by the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association (USFRA). One the second weekend in September, vintage Lambretta and Vespa tuners and racers met on the salt at Bonneville and opened some eyes.

Rider: Valberto (Beto) Silva. Top speed at El Mirage testing grounds recorded 109mph. Top speed at Bonneville salt flats recorded 99.8mph. Engine case and ignition is a jet 200. Top end casa performance kit 225, Mikuni fuel pump, Keihin carburator, frame LI 150 1963. Frame was extended 6 inch in the middle and 7 inch shorted in the front by the neck. Gas tank custom within frame tube. Front end of small frame Vespa. Custom Fiber glass body is 11 feet long, 27 inch wide and 42 inch tall.

Driver: Valberto (Beto) Silva

Chief mechanic: Philip Trinh, Andrew Trinh

Engineer: Patrick Silva

Photographer: Andrew Trinh / Andrew Silva

Videographer: Andrew Trinh

Crew: David Silva, Carlos Guerrero, Angelica Silva, Cindy Trinh

Sponsors: Scooter-Speed, cartel ink, Andrew Silva photography


Before Covid-19 cancelled many scooter rallies and events, Lambretta Club USA was working on plans for an international speed event on salt. A chance for Lambretta racers across the globe to complete on the salt at Bonneville with hope of a new land speed record. Perhaps in a few years when it's safer for international travel. For now, we have some time for tuning and development. Keep your eyes open for the next Bonneville Vintage Scooter Blowout in Sept. 9-11, 2022. Stay tuned with LCUSA for more action on the salt WORLDS FASTEST LAMBRETTA

If you have some Lambretta racing stories and photos to share, track or speed, shoot me a message

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