Event>>2009 Bonneville Speed Week – Day One

The Japanese have an expression "it is better to travel hopefully than to arrive". In my case the trip to the Salt Flats in the North West corner of Utah was very much in the travelling hopefully category…………..but as if to prove the rule by exception, arrival has been better than the journey.

Set up day concluded with a show of cars in the parking lot of Wendover's Nugget Casino and of course there is another look at the Plymouth with the Propane pipes, little things in my case…………..

Little things, yes, I am much taken by the details that are lavished on the cars on Bonneville by their owners…..so here are a few examples as seen outside the Gambling Den.

Simple enough message………….

Everwhere you look there are cars in view.

And this being Bonneville, there also salt, and more salt……………

Did I mention salt?

And with a pinch of salt, there is often a grain of truth.

And the other purpose of showing out the cars is to find old friends, catch up on who is in and who is out, figure out who is MIA.

Of course being on the Nevada side of the town, a beer or two can be shared in public, along with the tales from the road.

Some tales are taller than others, or maybe not………………….

And there is no connection, well the Authorities tell us so, it must be true.

Up with the lark and down to get filled up. Of course there is something to see even in this most mundane situation, have a good look at the petrol tank.

Yes, an early example of re-cycling, it is an old Miller Beer Keg. The Health and Safety crowd would have a fit of the vapours over this, but to me it is all aprt of the charm of this event.

Onto the salt and straight over to tech inspection. More unlikely candidates, an Alfa Romeo?????

Jim Steck built up the 91 Spyder. It has a twin cam 155 engine and is indecently fast, clocking 222mph in the past………….more on this elegant speedster later.

Then it was time to look around the pit area all three miles of it. This camouflaged 911 would look the part on the Serengeti never mind the Salt Lake. At the time I thought the gesture was very Michael Delaney rather than Winston Churchill, I am relieved to see that decorum was maintained.

Next on to the weird and wonderful……………what was the purpose of this contraption? Perhaps dragging on the Everglades?

This somehow looks very SpeedHunters……………new staff transport.

You can run but you can't hide………….

Escaping straight from the set of the Wacky Racers……….

Perhaps the oddest sight on the salt was this boat…………..around 10,000 years ago there had been a giant inland lake with a depth of 100 feet stretching for 100 miles, but there does not seem any signs of this returning soon, still you can't be too careful.

Bonneville is a cosmopolitan affair these days, drawing like-minded folk from the four corners of the globe. Antipodians, Ross Dawson and Nick Oaks are spending three weeks in the USA "educating the locals on Kiwi values". I am too polite to speculate what exactly these might be, but I am pretty sure that decent grog comes somewhere high up the list. There was also a bunch of Aussies on hand to support these two in their sledging of this poor Pom, typical that England were rubbish in the cricket this week.

As an antidote to this set of oddities, there was perhaps the closest thing yet to the pure spirit of the Bonneville Speed Week. Powered by a 54 Olds and in street legal form, at least in Oregon.

And that brings us neatly to the reason that we are all here basting in the pan.

 Yes some folks have to race……………..

The heartbeat rises and intensifies………………….

The BANG, we have take off………………..

Then suddenly it is Chute Time……………………….

In case we need reminding it is recreation………….the Man tells us so.

And this is the Yellow Brick Road……………

Record Return Runs begin at 7.00am tomorrow……………….better set the alarm.

John Brooks



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beautiful article, shows the culture very well, cant wait to see the next articles!


Thankyou for the updates,it makes me feel like im there,say hi to the Kiwis from NewZealand and wish them luck from down under, cheers again.


hey john, if a guy shows up with a 4-banger get some pics..much appreciated


Very journalist like. I cought myself rereading a lot of half sentences just to make things line up in my head almost like reading a classic novel by Arthur Conan Doyle on Another Sherloc k Holmes adventure. It put me in the story as if i were Dr. Watson. Props brewski, I enjoyed reading this article and hope to read many more.


Certainly because mr Brooks is highly talented in the art of photogrphy , he succesfully impressed me
Bonneville's speedmaniacs should a difficult theme because so many pics already made , but a new (and beautifull ) point of view is alway a pleasure to discover.

Thanks a lot.

PS : I particulary appreciate the " salted tyre "....a must !


Excellent photo set, it looks like quite an experience.

Does anyone know if the Wold of Speed event in September is as good as Speed Week?



close ups of these motors are of extra interest


i love that quote in pic 8


thats a NZ flag btw. you can tell from the red stars

this is coming from an aussie haha


I dig the Alfa. I got some pics of that. I can't wait for next year. I spent friday and saturday on the salt. Camped out at the "bend" as well. I look forward to your pics Brooks!


Stunning photos and great writing too. My boyfriend is out there all week with a crew and I was so bummed not to be able to go. But thanks to these great photos, descriptions, and glimpses into the experience that is Speed Week, I can tune in from my office in Austin and see what's going on. Thanks so much for the fantastic coverage, I'll be checking in daily!


Great article! ;)


Most people in the drift world would cite Ebisu Circuit as a bit of a hallowed ground. It's a place


awesome write up, i will look out for all the stories on bonneville, would love to go one day, found myself watching the fastest indian the other day too. is it possible to get a desktop of the 4th to last image, car with SOB 1941 on it? that is an epic shot!


A lifetime dream of all dreams, from Florence, Oregon to Bonneville Salt Flats.

Will be a lively and entertaining evening at the next Rhody Cruisers meeting, with photos and living proof that all things are possible if you dream big and live the dream, hats off to Tim Smith and his crew.



So sad im not there, missing the best time of a lifetime. Keep it up guys , will try to be there next year!!!! Someone keep me updated @ rtshelbert@msn.com. Let me know what records are broken in 2009!!! TY Ron

" LIFE"S Journey is not to arrive at the grave safley- in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting " Holly Shit ... WHAT A RIDE!!!!!!!