As a speedhunter, the lot of us are given many opportunities to experience the different facets of things that are under the giant automotive umbrella. I've personally had many new experiences under my belt this past year: the experiencing 12 hours of Sebring, the first time at Silverstone, and another year of Pikes Peak under my belt. But nothing, nothing, can compare to Speedweek at Bonneville. Out of all the events this year, this is THE event I've been looking forward to the minute I left The Salt last year.
Instead of flying out to Utah, I decided a roadtrip to the Salt Flats would be a much better experience. With the help of BMW, I was able to acquire Buckinham Palace with Saturn 5 rockets strapped onto it. This BMW X5M can transport bipedal organic lifeforms to any planet within our solar system in no time flat and while creating planetoid destorying red matter.
But more on that time/space continuum device after I get back from Bonneville and FD Las Vegas….
"There's no where else like Bonneville." Mike Nish said that in the opening of Will Roegge's film, Four Hundred, from last year. And that's a statement that I hold true completely. This place has it all; beautiful sunrises and sunsets, a breath-taking backdrop, a landscape that seems to be almost extraterrestrial, and cars that come out to run just as astonishing.
The pre-dawn hours at Bonneville is a particularly magical time. The Salt is bathed in a sea of tranquility. The only thing you can hear in the darkness is the passing cars and trucks in the nearby motorway.
But once the dark skies start to lighten, the Salt comes to life. Engines start to fire up, there's movement throughout the pit lane, and the crisp clean air from the night previous is awoken by the smell of race fuel.
Any cars that broke records during the previous day were sent straight to the impound lot. If a car breaks a record, it has to prove it and be able to do it twice. So, the record breaking cars are sent to the impound lot which will prevent the teams to make any sort of adjustments to the car.
In the morning twilight, the teams are finally given access to the cars. Any cars in the impound lot are given priority to run first thing in the morning. It's a neat system to keep up with.
Rod and I have been updating our Facebook feed throughout the course of our stay in Bonneville. If you guys follow the feed, you might've seen the Camaro which was posted. This is the engine from said car.
A word of art, is it not?
There are no shortage of traditional and rat rods rolling about.
The sun ceased from hiding and came out to play.
The first set of cars from the impound lot started to line up at the starting line for the proving runs.
I was amazed that a man of that size can fit into a car that tiny….
We'll be following the adventures of The McMeekin brothers with their Nissan 240sx with a straight eight in it.
Rod first reported on our Facebook page that the driver, Don McMeekin, broke the record in their class. They ran a top speed of 172 miles per hour! Keep a look out for Don's driver blog after the Bonneville festivities.
Even a few motorcycles made their way to the front of the starting line to get their second run in.
Rod couldn't help but to use his massive soul stealing lens to shoot the cars as they ran off the starting line and proceeded to disappear into the horizon.
This bike was one of the most beautiful bikes I've ever seen. Bike spotlight? Only if we were two-wheeled-hunters instead….
A really clean example of production based landspeed car.
At a place where umbrellas are needed to seek shelter from the sun, there, surprisingly, aren't any umbrella girls to be found throught the whole of the Salt.
A lot of these cars have such long gearing that they have to be pushed off the starting line before they can run on their own power.
I think I can safely say that this is the first (and probably only) modern day BMW M division production car to be christened by the salt….
Seeing how I wore these Chucks to Bonneville last year, I had to wear them once again this year. They're starting to look as though they won't be making it to Bonneville for a third time if I don't stop wearing them….
It's hard to quantify Bonneville. It's even harder to explain it to someone who's never been there. How do you tell someone that standing out on a white frying pan for a week straight with nothing but strange four-wheel contraptions dominating the landscape is one of the coolest things anyone can ever do? Everything about Bonneville is real; the cars, the people and the salt. The Bonneville experience ends up becoming an intangible and at the end of the day, that's what makes The Salt so magical.
Just two days left on the Salt then I'll have to reset my Bonneville 2011 countdown clock back to 365!