It was in the mid to late 1970’s Marcia Holley made a name for herself firstly as a stunt woman in Hollywood. She was also a passionate woman motorcycle rider who is also rumored to be the first female to finish the Baja 1000. She later found herself partnering up with famed land speed racer Don Vesco. Don was an American multiple motorcycle land-speed record and wheel-driven land speed record holder. He set 18 motorcycle and six automobile speed records during his life.
Measuring 21 feet long and weighing 1,100 pounds with Vesco aboard, the turbocharged KZ1000 engines of this aerodynamically streamlined machine were enveloped in a steel chassis, which was outfitted with special high-speed Goodyear racing tires. Displacing 1,016 cc and producing 300 hp each, the engines were nearly stock except for their custom-made turbocharger systems.
In the late 1970s, Holley was given an opportunity to ride “Vesco’s Lightening Bolt” Kawasaki streamliner at Bonneville in an effort to reach 150-mph. She had never ridden the Salt before and yet set a 180-mph run. It was that run it’s been said, which hooked and captured Marcia’s heart – for speed.
Her real record breaking run took place in September of 1978 at an SCTA event where she went 229.361 mph piloting again, the “Lightening Bolt” Vesco Kawasaki streamliner. This achievement recognized her as the first woman to officially break into the 200-mph club. At that time she was the fastest woman in the world, with a record which took over 30 years to take away.
At that time she was the fastest woman in the world, with a record which took over 30 years to take away.
This also made Marcia was the first female into the renowned “Bonneville 200 MPH Club” of life members with her record run. That was the run set with the Vesco single engine streamliner motorcycle.
Holley still rides and can be seen at speed trials across the USA supporting other women as they strive to add their names in the land speed racing record books.