Klem and I haven’t been on a vacation for two years. With family matters to work through and health issues that seemed to never end, it wasn’t meant to be. But we finally seen clear skies come through this summer when I got the word at work that my vacation was approved. So we booked our hotels, coerced the kids to watch the house/pets, and made all the necessary plans to get away to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah for Southern California Timing Association’s Speed Week 2014.
Speed Week is a special community for high speed action and car meca freaks. It’s an international event that includes participants and enthusiasts from across the U.S., Canada, Europe and down under in Australia and New Zealand. This is a unique sport that consists of very determined people who drive hot rods, roadsters, belly tankers, lakesters, motorcycles, streamliners and even diesel trucks to ‘shoot the salt’ in a simple quest to have their name added to the list of many record holders. We’ve made the trip twice over the last few years and we promised ourselves to go when we could, and this is the year we get back. It was also an extra sweet year to make the trek as it marks the 100th anniversary of world records at Bonneville.
It’s by no means a short distance to drive from where we live …. approximately 6,900 kms there and back, averaging us 10 solid hours a day over a 3 day span. And because the hotels are booked from one year to the next, we can’t get one close to the event (in Wendover) and so we drive 1 1/2 hours each way from our spot near the airport in Salt Lake City to get to the flats. Yes, we’d love not having to drive that 3 hours a day, but when you get that ‘salt fever’, you just do it!
We were ready! We had our canopy, our chairs, sun lotion, water, hats, camera and video camera. It was going to be a good time, like it has been the last two times we’ve been. We were so excited, so pumped and it was a our overdue vacation.
It was not to be.
Heavy rain last week resulted in the entire course being inundated with as much as a couple of feet of water, and the event organizers with the Southern California Timing Association determined that the salt would not dry in time for any racing during the scheduled week of August 9-15.
The official statement on their website reads:
“The SCTA Board is currently on the salt, and has determined that the standing water will not dry in time for us to hold our annual Speed Week event. The Board is also discussing the possibility of extending our next event – World Finals (Sep 30 – Oct 3) into a full week of racing as a sort of delayed Speed Week. We Thank You all for your patience and understanding. We look forward to seeing you at our next event.”
The same geography that makes the Bonneville Salt Flats so ideal for setting land-speed records also makes it ideal for collecting the rainwater that falls in the region, so Speed Week racers and fans are always at the mercy of unseasonable summer rainfall. Mother nature (sure it’s not a guy?) wasn’t kind to us and the week was a wash out (sorry for the pun!).
We plan to go again – not sure when but we’ll make the trek another year for sure. We got a few pictures and swapped some stories with those who came a long distance, or from just down the road – how some had their cars built special for this event and others hoped to break a record or two and sadly, how some didn’t even get the chance to unload their cars off the flatbeds.
So now, it will all have to wait until next year folks. But just think, it gives you that extra time to get started on your special project for the run on the flats.
Be sure to catch the “fever”… see you soon!