The simple beauty of the Bonneville Salt Flats is this: While you might be aiming to break some speed records, your truest competition is yourself. That’s what makes the idea of Simon Mozgovyi’s new documentary, Salt from Bonneville, seem so intriguing. It’s the story of two friends named Maxim and Nazar, and their efforts to break a vintage bike speed record on an old IZH-49 they turn into a vintage speed machine together.
In the past, we’ve told you a little bit about Soviet IZH motorcycles, both new and old. In 2019, you may recall that Kalashnikov—yes, the small arms company—introduced an electric IZH café racer concept. Well, perhaps unsurprisingly, the same company has been making Soviet motorcycles since 1927. You can see Uncle George putting one of its most popular models, the IZH Planeta 3, through its paces in this video.
While the Planeta 3 in that 2021 video was around 40 years old, the IZH 49 that Maxim and Nazar set their sights on racing was considerably older, dating from approximately 1951. From the factory, it was a 346cc air-cooled two-stroke engine coupled with a four-speed transmission. As you may have guessed, it had a 6-volt electrical system, as did many bikes of the time. Shifting was done by hand and foot, a system that it’s unclear if the friends opted to keep for their speed record attempt machine.
The film was completed in 2019, and has been making the rounds at film festivals ever since. Obviously, 2020 was a strange year for film festivals. While we haven’t had the chance to see Salt from Bonneville yet, it definitely sounds like the kind of documentary we’d like to see in the future. Check out the trailer and see if you agree.