Bonneville Salt Flats
Home of the Land Speed Records
Ever been to one of the fastest auto, truck or motorcycle race tracks in the entire world? Have you ever been to a auto race track where the only opponent you have as a racer is the race track’s time clock? How about a race course where you can go to get your feet wet in racing without mortgaging the house and your first born child? There’s only one answer to these questions – the Bonneville Salt Flats.
Here’s an excellent description of Bonneville: (http://www.utah.com/playgrounds/bonneville_salt.htm):
Imagine a place so flat you seem to see the curvature of the planet, so barren not even the simplest life forms can exist. Imagine the passing thunder of strange vehicles hurtling by on a vast dazzling white plain. This is not an alien world far from earth; it is Utah’s famous Bonneville Salt Flats.
The Bonneville Salt Flats is one of the most unique natural features in Utah. Stretching over 30,000 acres, the Bonneville Salt Flats is a fragile resource administered by the Bureau of Land Management. It is located along I-80 near the Utah-Nevada border. Wendover is the closest city.
Check out this short video on the Bonneville Salt Flats:
Racing at Bonneville and breaking land speed records has been going on since 1896 when W.D. Rishel recognized the Bonneville Salt Flats as a viable course for races other than the bicycle course he was seeking. Upon his return to his home state he convinced a local daredevil to travel to Bonneville to race automobiles on it. After some years of development and testing the man, Teddy Tezlaff, drove his car to an official record speed of 141.73 in 1914.
Not many years later the famed British racer Sir Malcolm Campbell came to bring his style and expertise to Bonneville which was in the 1930’s. Before 1950 there were many attempts at setting and breaking the land speed records. Speeds went to 300, 400, 500 and then even the 600 mph barrier was broken.
The era of the 60’s brought with them the jet-powered cars piloted by the likes of Art Arfons, Bob Summers, Bobby Tatroe, Craig Breedlove, Don Vesco, Elwin Teague, Gary Gabelich, George E. Eyston, John Cobb, Nolan White, Sir Malcolm Campbell, Tom Burkland, Tom Green and even a rocket powered car named the “Blue Flame” somewhere in the 70’s.
The Bonneville Salt Flats has long been the place to go if you want to break the land speed record for the class of vehicle you are running be it a bar stool or a streamliner breaking the sound barrier. A short run down of the various classes appears in these two pages our our website:
Automotive Classifications – The Automotive Classification includes cars, trucks, streamliners, etc. but does not include anything considered as a motorcycle.
Since the late 1800’s there have been racers out on the salt trying to better their land speed record or that of their opponent in their class of racing. Through the decades of racing the technology has advanced beyond the wildest dreams of those first racers at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Back when the racers first began racing their wasn’t even technology available for airplanes to break the sound barrier and now thrust powered cars are doing on land. Imagine the ‘shock and awe’ of the early Salt Flats racers as they experienced the Burkland 450 mph run or any one of the thrust cars running in excess of 700 miles per hour. Remember that aviation was just getting started when racers were eye the Bonneville Salt Flats for racing purposes, and now engines from jets and rockets are powering the cars as they travel down the famed black line of the Salt Flats.
So our web site was assembled to try to gather up information of the world of land speed racing, it isn’t meant to be all-knowing or exclusive in its scope or to be competition for the web sites already online. Our site has been put together to act as a clearinghouse of information where you can come and find out not only information about land speed racing but where there are other, more comprehensive, websites available to allow you to find out even more about the land speed racing crowd.
World of Speed is the event where everyone shows up with everything from the world’s fastest barstool to the thrust powered vehicles. This isn’t an event for the weak hearted no matter if you are the racers or a spectator. The weather conditions at Bonneville alone are enough the drive all but the most ardent racer team or fan away. While you may think that is is primarily the heat that is so detrimental there is also the rain to contend with as there has been several years to where the World of Speed event was cancelled completely due to rain. But don’t let the weather extremes keep you from making a trip to the Bonneville Salt Flats to see the world’s fastest racing event.
Make your plans to attend the only land speed racing event in the United States that will guarantee you a week of wild cars, wild motorcycles and wild weather. No matter what, a trip to the Bonneville Salt Flats during the jam packed World of Speed event is one that will give and your family, friends, or guests something to talk about for many years to come. Be sure to plan your trip to Bonneville carefully considering the nearest town of Wendover is quite a few miles away, the rental car agencies do not want their vehicles out on the Salt and air travel might not be what some are accustomed to. Still, the trip is worth the small inconveniences you might encounter as you make your trek to the fastest race course in the world.