Motorcycling News

"The Unlikely 1"- By: Gary “Finn” Ilminen- Book Review

Written by  February 28, 2019

  One of our favorite things to do is people watch, my husbands would be riding his bike, so it was a perfectly natural fit when we joined up with Cycle Connections as contributing photojournalist, giving us the chance to share with others, our biking adventures, and to have the opportunity to meet new people. 


  When we took over the magazine last year, it opened an even greater opportunity to meet new people/characters.

One of my favorite of those has been our "Snow-Bird" buddy from Lone Rock Wisconsin, Gary "Finn" Ilminen, who reached out to us early on about becoming a contributing photojournalist, sharing his northern experiences with our readers, which we joyfully welcomed, and have really enjoyed getting to know him, through his writings, seeing his adventures through his eyes and his thought process.

  He sent me a book he had written (signed I might add), for us to peruse through and possibly do a book review on.

  Well, afterwards, we've come to the conclusion, that he's a little more nuts than first imagined. Just kidding, just because he finds great joy in taking 2 wheels out to the Salt Flats and running well over 100 mph! Ha! Ha! Just because I'm such a chicken! But I really enjoy watching, reading about and seeing awesome pictures from other "crazy" people's experiences!

  His love for motorcycles and speed started at an early age, which lead him to become a "motorcyclist" in 1974 and freelance writing and shooting pretty cool pix, since 1976. He has been published in motorcycle magazines, general interest and health care related magazines, as well, he is also the Associate Online Editor for the Ultimate Motorcycling magazine and has been a contributor to "" and now of course....Cycle Connections Online Motorcycle Magazine.

  Gary has previously published another book entitled, "Consumer Guide to Long-Term Care", published by the University of Wisconsin Press. 


  He is a registered nurse (hence the health care related writings), with degrees in nursing and mechanical design from Gogebic Community College in Ironwood, MI. He is also a proud graduate (Class of 1973) of the Hurley Joint School District in Hurley, WI.

  Through the years Gary has become quite astute in the art of motorcycle design and has himself owned 26 motorcycles since 1974 and currently has eleven (11) bikes in his stable, which includes both of the bikes ridden in competition at Bonneville, which is the basis for this book, but actually, anyone who loves the outdoors, and especially riding a motorcycle, will enjoy this book.

  Its a very interesting and enlightening look at what it takes to make a run at the Bonneville Salt Flats, done with a little bit of the "tongue in cheek" we've come to expect from him.

  Gary drew inspiration from the many magazines that his brother Randy would bring into the house, some that features articles and pictures from Bonneville, so some of the people he aspired to be like were the riders, mechanics, drivers and tuners that he was reading about, but thought it was probably too rich and out of his reach, while still remaining a dream for him, until 2007 when he had the opportunity to meet a few of these folks in person.

  While compiling information on an article he was doing, he had the chance to meet Jim Haraughty, founder of Team MS Racing and Bill Whisenant, owner of Motorcycle Performance in Madison, WI. Maintaining his relationship with these men after the article led to the invite to take a bike out to the Bonneville Salt Flats...a lifelong dream realized in 2009 with a running at the Southern CA. Timing Association (SCTA) and Bonneville Nationals, Inc. World Finals.

  The book is about his time at Bonneville, some of the surrounding adventures and people he met along the way. He got to meet biker/racing/building royalty in meeting Jody Perewitz, daughter of Dave Perewitz, who we had the pleasure of meeting at the Steel Pony Bike Rally in New Orleans, the last one they had as a matter of fact, it was the year before hurricane Katrina hit, also the year and event that started us with the magazine, which is where we met and connected with then owner/editor Mike Schweder.

  So in short, if you're into motorcycles, speed and adventures, go find this book, you'll enjoy this nice little light read. It includes some informative Links and Resources in the back.

  The book is dedicated to his kids, Jesse, Brady and Elaina, and to his race team pit boss/logician, navigator/photographer/gardener, decorator, quilter, better half, better known as the brains in the bunch!....Jacci Shauger, who is also like him, a dedicated RN. and to his parents, Roy and Elaine Ilminen. Sadly his dad passed away in 2014, also to his brother Randy who planted that early seed, and sister Cheryl, for their lifelong support.

THE UNLIKELY 1: by: Gary Ilminen

Published by: TouchPoint Press

Jonesboro, AR. 72401