Starting Saturday, the blinding whiteness of the Bonneville Salt Flats will transform into the most revered home of high speed in the world. And we'll be there.
Bonneville is the Valhalla of speed. People have been chasing its horizon for almost a hundred years now and it's mystique has not diminished. The remains of a once massive lake which still undergoes a yearly cycle of flooding and drying, the salt flats at Bonneville are used twice yearly as a place for anyone with the courage to press the envelope of performance. For a week in August, volunteers from the Southern California Timing Association host Speed Week. They prepare the salt, select the runs and lay out the famous black lines, the only thing guiding drivers down the straight and narrow.
People travel from all over the world just to see the spectacle of Speed Week, if you've got the skills, you bring your machine along to put it to the test. Gearheads toil in their workshops thinking about it, lying awake at night dreaming of it, honing their machines to perfection, only to return to their garage to push for more in the next year. The competitive spirit is as much internal as it is external here. The race for a personal best as important as a world record. In this place, speed is the religion.
This is the same salt where Ab Jenkins pushed the Mormon Meteor. Where Sir Malcolm Campbell raced his Bluebirds on, finally breaking the 300 MPH barrier. Craig Breedlove took the Spirit of America past 600 MPH here. Men have died at Bonneville in pursuit of speed. It's a shrine to speed and a must-do pilgrimage for any car junkey. And we're going.
From Saturday through Tuesday, we'll be camping out on the flats, trekking across the salt, poking around the pits, standing in awe of the chariots of speed and taking in one of the greatest spectacles in the auto world. We can't promise regular updates, but we'll be bringing you as much as we can.
Photo credit: CG on The HAMB