Racer Cliff Gullett Dies In Crash

Publish Date: 
Sep 4, 2008

MEMORIAL SERVICES are set for Saturday for land speed racer Cliff Gullett, who was killed in a Sept. 3 crash at Bonneville Salt Flats.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. at Grace Bible Church, 3625 S. 19th Ave., Bozeman. A Memorial Reception will follow at 2 p.m. at the Broken Hart Ranch, 73800 Gallatin Road. The family has requested that attendees to the Reception ride their motorcycles, regardless of make or brand, in a "Last Ride" tribute.

Rembrances are suggested to the Cliff Gullett Memorial Fund, c/o First Interstate Bank, Gallatin Center Branch, 2023 Burke Street, Bozeman, Mont., 59718. The family will distribute the fund to Cliff's favorite charities.

Gullett, owner of Team Bozeman Motorsports in Bozeman, Mont., was riding in a speed trial when he lost control of his motorcycle and crashed about 4 p.m., Tooele County (Utah) Sheriff's Chief Deputy Duke North told Deseret News.

Gullett, 47, was competing in the 500cc Streamliner class. He was wearing protective gear, but died from injuries sustained in the 200-mph crash, North said. Investigators were unsure what caused Gullett to lose control of his motorcycle. An investigation is ongoing.

His most recent record was set just a couple of weeks earlier, according to an Aug. 20 post on the Team Bullett blog:

"No one can ever say that Cliff and Jack don't have luck on their shoulders.

After leaving impound and making their return run, the chute deployed prematurely due to a spring working loose on the mercury switch. 'No Worries, Mate,' as our New Zealand crewman Nick Bilton would say, as the Quarter plus Mile 1 and 2 were all that was needed to establish a new record at 219.097 MPH.

Cliff commented that it was a much different feeling when you pull the chute handle and know the lunge is coming, than to just have it happen and surprise you when it catches…

Nonetheless, this one is in the books, and they promptly set about correcting the switch problem so that the chute will not deploy early. Once that was completed, they setup the liner and got in line to make an initial run in the Motorcycle Streamliner 500cc Fuel Class.

Today's record tops the original record set by legend, Don Vesco in 1976 at 195.282 MPH, and raises the bar 23.815 MPH.

The 500cc Fuel record was set by Jess Thomas, when he was just 18 years old. That was in 1958, and he ran 212.288MPH to set the record."

Gullett was competing in the same class when his luck ran out yesterday.

A comment posted online at Deseret News was among the first to lament Gullett's passing and celebrate his life. Poster Cory wrote: "As an employee and friend of Cliff's I felt the need to leave words. He died doing what he was most passionate about and loved. Hearing the emotion in his voice on a daily basis when talking about the salts is still a memory that will live with me forever. Rest in peace Cliff, know that all of us at the Store miss you."

The American Motorcyclist Association also expressed condolences.

"The AMA offers its most sincere condolences and heartfelt sympathies to the Gullett family and friends during this difficult time," the organzation said.