Bonneville Salt Flats: Land of Dreams
No matter where you’re from, most anyone fond of racing has heard of the Bonneville Salt Flats. Land Speed Racing has been going on there since 1914*, just about a dozen years after the first land speed record attempts were made in France.t In 1949, two years after the 400mph barrier was surpassed there, hot rodders began a yearly pilgrimage to the salt flats each summer – calling it Speedweek. Over 60+ years later, this salty surface has become sacred ground, drawing people from across the globe. While many things have changed within the automotive world between then and now – you’ll see many of the same “hot rods” at Speedweek. From lakesters, roadsters, streamliners, motorbikes, and sportscars - they run against the clock – with their fastest average speed over a mile counting for the record. Some are chasing after the next class record, and others are just there for the fun of it. Competing cars are categorized by body type, engine size, and fuel choice. While every racer is out against the record, many are there for the pure pursuit of it. Discovering how fast you can get with what you built. Engineering modifications to gain an extra ounce of advantage – be it power, aerodynamics, or weight distribution. It’s the land of dreams, where an average person can build something and show up to reach for the stars (or the distant “floating mountain” as Bonnevillians would put it). The resultant experiences are unforgettable – the smells of fuel, sounds of cars whizzing down the track and disappearing into a mirage, bright colors contrasted against the reflective, white salt and of course the unique tribe of people gathered in the name of speed. Speedweek 2013 happens in August, go catch salt fever for yourself…your dreams may never be the same again. -Kristin Cline * “History and Background.” Save The Salt. SavetheSalt.org. < http://www.savethesalt.org/Save_the_Salt/History.html> t Boddy, W. World’s Land Speed Record. London: Motor Racing Publications Ltd, 1951.