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Spectacular Salt: Speedweek 2014 Not According to Plans

10429344_327747884055667_7333673870599142740_n Photo Courtesy of SCTA. The Bonneville Salt Flats has hosted Land Speed Racing (LSR) for a century now – ever since Teddy Tetzlaff first raced his Blitzen Benz on the surface in 1914. Each August, when the salt surface is in prime condition for racing, masses gather there from around the world for Speedweek. This year, DrivingLine had big plans to bring you the most insane machines and amazing stories from the salt – in fact, I was going to be racing myself for the very first time. Unfortunately, natural wonders don’t always cooperate and flash storms covered the salt flats in knee-deep standing water. Saturday morning, just when the racing usually begins, Speedweek 2014 was cancelled. 10472254_328751270621995_7681393569330356170_n Photo Courtesy of SCTA. That means no racing for me and no awesome pictures for you guys. However, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve as I’ve been attending Speedweek for a handful of years now – and DrivingLine will continue with Land Speed Racing stories for the rest of August’s monthly series. bonneville-salt-flats-greasegirl-studebaker My Studebaker and I at the entrance to the Bonneville Salt Flats. Before moving on though, I’ve realized that not everyone is familiar with what the Bonneville Salt Flats are and why people have been breaking speed records there for the past 100 years. So I think a quick recap is in order... bonneville-slat-flats-speedweek-02 Put briefly, the salt flats offer an extremely flat surface with the salt adding a dash of traction for racers. Back in 1914 when they first made an official run on the salt, land speed racing was a big deal - other LSR attempts mainly happened on various beaches, such as Daytona and Pendine. The packed sand offered about the flattest surface one could hope for back then. That is until Bonneville was discovered. 2013-speedweek-bonneville-salt-flats The surface of the salt is difficult to describe. Rock hard, but your feet crunch underneath it when walking. Its minerals reflect the summer light back up at you, as if the unshaded heat in the desert weren’t enough – yet when you reach down and touch the salt it's slightly moist and cool to the touch. The salt surface used to be as much as 5 feet deep at the center, thinning out to just an inch or two at the edges of its 30,000 acre surface. During the winter months the salt surface is covered in shallow water – which evaporates as temperatures heat up. The salt flats were once a lake bed, with the salt surface being the only remnant left. bluebird-sir-malcolm-campbell-bonneville Malcom Cambell in Bluebird on the Bonneville Salt Flats. Photo Scanned from The World's Land Speed Record by W. Boddy, 1951. Utah resident, Ab Jenkins was one of the first to truly start drawing attention to the Bonneville Salt Flats for LSR with his Mormon Meteor in the mid-‘20s. Then in 1935 the first world land speed record was set there by Sir Malcolm Campbell in the famous Bluebird, finally breaking the 300mph mark with 301.13 (25 mph faster than the same car earlier that year at Daytona Beach.) bonneville-slat-flats-speedweek-01 World Land Speed Records have continued there -passing 400mph, 500mph, and 600mph. It isn’t the only spot on earth to break records, but it’s certainly a favorite. Stick around here at DrivingLine as we share some spectacular stories from the salt in the coming weeks. For more information, visit:

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