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Home Forums General Discussion News The Bonneville Salt Flats and Speed Week and are in Danger of Being No More

This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Eddieb 2 years, 9 months ago.

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  • #9205

    Eddieb
    Keymaster
    • Location: Hamilton
    • Bike: Suzuki DR650 ADV
    • Rank: 1200cc Rider

    Speed Week at the Bonneville Salt Falts is where kiwi Burt Munroe raced and set his world speed records as dramatised in the movie “The Worlds Fastest Indian”.

    Conditions at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah are not looking too good for this year’s Speed Week—especially for the eager petrol heads looking to go insanely fast in fully customized mechanical contraptions.

    According to the Salt Lake Tribune article linked here, salt levels on the flats have reached dangerous levels due to depletion from mineral mining and environmental erosion.

    For those unfamiliar with the ecosystem of the Bonneville Salt Flats, it’s an alien landscape completely devoid of life—truly remarkable from every angle. The crusty salt surface, which has varied in thickness over time from six-inches to now only two-inches and less, lies atop a dirt and water quicksand-like surface that makes racing or traversing the flats impossible.

    The salt crust is the platform that allows for high speed machines to operate. The thicker the better, but with current conditions being what they are, who knows what fate the future holds.

    Just as thickness is important, so is the distance of the track. Land speed shattering vehicles need a minimum of six miles to get up to speed, hit their traps and slow down. This is the SCTA’s desired distance for setting up a track, and this year no six mile stretch has salt over two inches thick.

    As motorcyclists, many of us—myself included because I worked on the project in 2014—are eager to see if the Triumph Rocket can break the 376.363 m.p.h. barrier set by Rocky Robinson and the Top Oil-Ack Attack in 2010, and take back the title of “World’s Fastest Motorcycle”.

    2014 saw similar environmental delays on the flats as inclement weather, which brought heavy rains and flooding to the flats.

    We are waiting for a response from the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA)—the main sponsors and organizers of Speed Week—on whether or not Speed Week will happen at all this year.

    In the mean time, enjoy this beautiful video put together by Triumph Motorcycles America last year on the Microclimate of the Salt Flats.

    From: http://www.rideapart.com/articles/fate-speed-week-bonneville-salt-flats-danger

    #9230

    Mark Claasen
    Participant
    • Location: Auckland, NorthShore
    • Bike: 1200GSA KLR650NE WR450 RMX250, DR750,
    • Rank: 400cc Rider

    If Bonneville goes you know the end is near 🙁

    #9238

    Kelven Martin
    Participant
    • Location:
    • Bike:
    • Rank: 50cc Rider

    Bugger
    Booked to be their
    Was canceled last year

    #9299

    Eddieb
    Keymaster
    • Location: Hamilton
    • Bike: Suzuki DR650 ADV
    • Rank: 1200cc Rider

    @kelven_martin said:
    Bugger
    Booked to be their
    Was canceled last year

    It’s been cancelled.

    Another disappointing blow for racers and petrol heads has occurred for the second year in a row.

    As it stands now, The SCTA has officially announced Speed Week at the Bonneville Salt Flats to be cancelled due to weather conditions affecting the area and the overall diminishing thickness of surface salt necessary to engage in high speed activities.

    The Salt Lake Tribune reports that while the Utah Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has not ordered the hundreds of high-speed auto racers from throughout the world to stay away from the flats, the agency said in a news release that if the thickness of the salt does not increase soon — presumably by evaporation — “it will likely limit racing opportunities on the Bonneville Salt Flats this year to the shorter track area with good surface salt.” The full article about continuing conditions on the flats and local interviews can be read here.

    The SCTA is holding onto hope that if the wet salt dries out in time, future—but limited—events could be possible. But based on the information over the past couple weeks, the overall depletion of salt on the flats, and the highly unpredictable climate, this reporter fears it unlikely that high speed runs will occur for major players.

    President/Race Director Bill Lattin the BNI Chairman spent this Monday morning (July 20th) out on the flats surveying potential sites for a course.

    The longest distance of salt suitable for a safe race course measured only 2 1/4 miles. The rest of the salt flats are either wet or wet and muddy.

    In the motorcycle world, there continues to be a lot of eyes on Guy Martin and the Triumph Rocket endeavor to break the land speed record in the Division-C Blown Fuel Streamliner Motorcycle class. The current land speed record of 376.363 mph (605.697 km/h) was set by Rocky Robinson in 2010 in the Suzuki powered Top-Oil Ack Attack streamliner, and has stood for five years.

    Will the Ack-Attack record stand for another year? It seems likely as a nine mile course for vehicles seeking speeds of 400-500 mph is the minimum allowed by the SCTA.

    Triumph has been unavailable for comment today, but based on the amount of money put into the project by the UK and its sponsors, I hope the team is considering an alternate site for an attempt.

    Though a record setting attempt anywhere other than Bonneville doesn’t hold the same gravitas for the company based on its developed history on the flats, an attempt and a record setting run proves the capability of the machine and the tremendous efforts accomplished in the short timeline it has taken the company to conceptualize, build, test, and prepare the Triumph Rocket for speeds over 350+ mph.

    From: http://www.rideapart.com/articles/speed-week-bonneville-salt-flats-cancelled

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