Bonneville Salt Flats - Speed Week

Trip Start Jul 07, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Ramada Salt Lake City Airport

Flag of United States  , Utah
Saturday, August 11, 2012

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I went to Speed Week at the Bonneville Salt Flats, a well-known venue for land speed records, today.  Speed Week is, as the name states, a week-long event where drivers attempt to set land speed records for various types of vehicles.  I originally thought that this was limited to Speed Week but I later found out there are other events at Bonneville as well as at other locales that are organized for the same reason.

Speed Week is organized by a group called Bonneville Nationals, Inc., or BNI.  Timing for BNI events and record keeping is done by a group called Southern California Timing Association, or SCTA.  SCTA also publishes the rule book for events they hold at the Bonneville Salt Flats as well as at a much smaller dry lake bed in the Mojave Desert in California called El Mirage.

There's another event being held at Bonneville in a couple weeks called World of Speed.  It's organized by a group called the Utah Salt Flat Racing Association, or USFRA.  Some of the information I had read that I thought pertained to Speed Week only applies to World of Speed.

It rained yesterday and there were puddles along the road on the drive onto the salt flats.  There was a gate set up at the entrance to the state park where they charged admission.  It's $15 to come watch for the day or $40 for the week.  Entry is included with your membership in SCTA, which I joined.

After going through the gate I followed the general flow of cars, which eventually lead me to the pit area.  It was relatively dry around the pits in spite of the rain.  There's an area near the beginning of the pits where they do technical inspection of the entrants.  I parked near there and started wandering around the pits chatting with people and checking out the cars.  The most interesting cars to me are the Streamliners, cars built only to go fast at the salt flats.

There had been a road going off to the right when I first entered.  I found out that that lead to the starting lines for the longer two of the four courses set up.  Course 1 was closed all day today due ot the rain but they did run cars on Course 2.  The two shorter courses are to the right of Course 2.  You need to have a CB radio in your car to drive to the starting line for those courses so I didn't go to them today but they were operational.  Land speed racing is not really much of a spectator sport.  The only spot on the course where you can get close to the cars is the starting line.  After they start out, which is often with the aid of a car pushing them, they roar off into the distance and disappear into the haze before the end of the course.

I left and made the long drive back to Salt Lake City.  My friend Bill flew in around midnight.  I picked him up, we did some shopping and then we went to the hotel and got to bed very late.
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