It’s been a rough two years for fans of top speed records, streamliners, and the otherworldly beauty of racing on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Wendover, Utah. A combination of ill-timed rain and thin salt caused the cancellation of the races in both 2014 and 2015 but things are looking up for us all. Racers have been optimistically preparing for competition in 2016, and the SCTA’s most recent update was all sunshine and flat salt.
The Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) has announced that Speed Week will return to the Bonneville Salt Flats from August 13 to 19. The SCTA gave the following update on Facebook, greenlighting this year’s Speed Week:
“At this point the Salt Gods are shining on us, the weather patterns look good and Speedweek 2016 is all ahead go! The final preparations and details are worked out and our team is heading up to Bonneville early next week to set up for Speedweek 2016! The salt is in great shape, the entrance ramp has been repaired and we have three well-groomed courses. Course one (long course) is five miles with three miles of shut down, course two (short course) three miles with two miles of shut down and a two mile Rookie course with one mile of shut down. A second nine mile course is currently under review however, has not yet been confirmed.”
The land-speed racing community looks ready to turn up in droves this year after the two years off with more than 400 entrants having pre-registered. Those entrants include Danny Thompson, son of motorsport legend Mickey Thompson, who is looking to run 500 mph in his piston-engined streamliner and British bike racer Guy Martin, who hopes to smash the motorcycle record on a 1,000-horsepower Triumph. Those are just two of the hundreds of stories to tell; each driver runs their own program and chases their own record. We look forward to seeing the newly rebuilt Speed Demon, which was out testing on the salt in July, and all the salt flat regulars from Ed Umland to Ken Hardman. It’s been a long time apart.
It’s not too late for you to attend Speed Week. While there is no camping on the salt, the adventurous types can camp at the entry to the flats and as of last week there were still hotels in Wendover and of course, Salt Lake City. With changing weather patterns and touchy government and corporate interests on the salt, there’s no guarantee that we’ll always be able to race at Bonneville, so if this is on your bucket list, get over there.
If you can’t make it, we’ll try to make you feel like you’re there. Freiburger and Finn won’t be entering the racing this year, but we’ll have coverage from the first few days of salt action before we head to Detroit.