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Brad's travels - 09/17
site links archives 09/15/17 | Bonneville Salt Flats - Ever since I was a kid, I have been fascinated with Land Speed Racing and the Bonneville Salt Flats. I would pour over my father's copies of Popular Mechanics as they detailed the exploits of Craig Breedlove and The Spirit of America and other racers of that era. Living on the east coast of the US, actually getting to Bonneville seemed like one of those things that just was going to stay on my wish list. Fast forward to 2017 and now I'm living in Arizona and even better, I've become friends with a world record holder who invited me to be part of the crew for the 2017 World of Speed.

I flew into Salt Lake City on a Thursday night and drove out to Wendover, Utah in the dark. I would not see this until the trip back, but there is a whole lot of nothing between. Wendover is a typical western highway town. A few hotels, restaurants, and in this case some casinos (on the Nevada side). I settled into the Motel 6, said hi to my friends, and got ready to hit the salt the next day.

On day one of race day, I met the crew in the morning and we set out for the Salt Flats. When we got there, it was more isolated and larger than I imagined. Of course, it would need to be for the kind of racing that goes on there. As expected, it is flat and white, but the salt was softer than I thought it would be. Almost like a dusting of wet snow. The salt went as far as the eye could see on three sides, with a small mountain range on the northwest side. Sunglasses are a must.

The event lived up to all of my expectations. In the morning, we took the bike for the tech inspection and had to make some last minute alterations. (Remove headlight, remove license plate, flip around some bolts) While this is going on, I was also able to take in some incredible machines in the pit and around the tech area. It was windy and cool and when all was said and done, we didn't even run the bike on day 1. Racing was called off for the day.

On Saturday, the temps warmed up a little and the wind died down a lot. With a rookie driver aboard, the bike made a single pass that exceeded the prior record, which was held by the same bike. After that, it was back to the trailer for impound so the bike can be inspected to make sure it is up to spec. We had to pull the head off of one cylinder so that they could check the displacement. After passing, we packed up and planned to make the 2nd run on Sunday. In land speed racing, you need to make two runs and take the average to set a record.

Sunday was more of the same, but with a real sense of excitement based on Saturday's run. True to form, the bike went fast and straight and the team set a new world record. Just being there was everything I had expected it would be. Being part of the crew, and setting a world record, put the entire trip over the top. To follow the team, check out brokebastardracing.com. To find out more about the World of Speed, go to USFRA home page at slatflats.com.

BBR_WOS_2017_15_800
Whole lot of nothing
BBR_WOS_2017_12_800
View of the pits
WOS_vehicles_11_800
Just a bike and some salt
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Starting line
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Go fast, go straight