Nearly one year ago, Erin Sills was present at the 2017 Top Of The World Land Speed Trial in Bolivia, thought not as a competitor. An experienced and revered land-speed racer herself, Sills volunteered to work the Mile 3 checkpoint throughout the meet. In doing so, she was the first to inform Aprilia racer Nick Genet that he had set a new FIM World Record in the 1000cc naturally aspirated non-streamlined category. The record Genet had just unseated belonged to Andy Sills, Erin’s late husband.
The emotion of the new record struck everyone at the event, especially Erin, but rather than see it as a loss, Sills was gracious in defeat, and still refers to the occurrence as “a magical moment.”
“How fitting that I was the ‘official’ at the end of the timed mile when Nick broke Andy’s record today,” Sills said one year ago. “The baton was passed. I was handing off something Andy was very proud of.”
Fast-forward to 2018 and the upcoming Cook’s Top Oil Land Speed Shootout, and Sills wants her late husband’s record back. “Our plan in 2015 [prior to Andy’s sudden death in February 2015] was he wanted me to ride the bike that he’d set the records on,” Sills explained. “He wanted to help me break his records. A few years later and I’m doing what we had hoped he and I would be able to do together. Andy’s with me every moment and he will be in Bolivia, as well.
My team knows he’s cheering us on.”
Armed with a pair of naturally aspirated BMW S 1000 RR motorcycles, one outfitted with nitrous oxide, Sills is joined by fellow racer Trev Richter, who will also be competing for records in Bolivia. Richter, who hails from the “knobbied” side of motorcycling, is an off-road coach at RawHyde Adventures, and relatively new to the sport of land-speed racing. The switch to salt is a welcome one for Richter, who is bringing a wealth of racing experience and an insatiable appetite for speed to the Salar de Uyuni.
The duo will each be competing with the BMW S 1000 RRs, cheering each other on as they both aim for records in the same categories. But one thing is important to both of them: Erin will be the one to recapture the 1000cc naturally aspirated non-faired record in Andy’s name. Once that is accomplished, it’s game-on between the two!
Current FIM World Records: 1. (non-streamlined) 192.695 mph / 310.113 km/h (Nick Genet, 2017); 2. (partially-streamlined) 221.748 mph / 356.870 km/h (Andy Sills, 2013)
Hometown: San Francisco, California
FIM World Record Goals: Reclaim 1000cc naturally aspirated non-streamlined FIM World Record in the name of Erin Sills’ late husband Andy Sills;
Motorcycle: Naturally aspirated, nitrous-oxide-powered BMW S 1000 RR
Competitor: Trevis “Trev” Richter
Hometown: Fort Collins, Colorado
Motorcycle: naturally aspirated BMW S 1000 RR
FIM World Record Goals: Elevate Andy Sills’ existing 1000cc naturally aspirated, partially-streamlined FIM World Record
By Jean Turner