Ever want to race on the Bonneville Salt Flats? Want to experience the thrill of running on the Salt (which is nothing at all like racing on other solid surfaces)? How about running on the same track as world famous racers such as Craig Breedlove and his Spirit of America, Burt Munro as driver of the World’s Fastest Indian and many other racers who are well-known on and off the Salt. Well you can easily get started by making an attempt at either the 130 or the 150 MPH Clubs, read on to see what these are all about.
Both the 130 & the 150 MPH Clubs are meant to be the entry levels to racing on the Bonneville Salt Flats. Taking a fairly stock vehicle (motorcycles included) to the Salt Flats and making a run at the 130 or 150 MPH Clubs are meant to wet your whistle so to speak. What this means is that the USFRA (Utah Salt Flats Racing Association) sponsors these two clubs envisioning the day when the individual members of the clubs return to Bonneville with actual racing machines and begin to attempt to break more land speed records in their salt racing vehicles. A good many of the Bonneville racing teams started small and soon found themselves under the spell of speed and the Salt and strived to best their former times, after all you are only racing against yourself while you’re on the Salt.
Maybe you think that you’ve run your car well over 130 mph on the local freeways or drag strips around your home town so it won’t be any problem in making at the least the 130 MPH Club. Think again as there are a host of factors that will likely prevent you from even achieving 130 mph, in spite of the fact that you may have already run the vehicle at 130 mph or more at one point or another. One factor to consider is speedometer accuracy as compared to the super accurate timers used at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Another is traction, your ride may hug the asphalt like a pair of jeans on a good looking girl but those 60 series tires that you rely on day to day will likely to be slipping on the Salt as you exceed the 100 mph mark. Handling will also be a factor as the Salt isn’t quite as smooth as you might be used to driving on at high speeds. No matter what, you keep trying to hit the 130 mph mark by improving your vehicle through the use of performance upgrades, better tires, even going as far as examining your driving techniques. You may only be driving in a straight line at Bonneville but there are always ways to improve your driving to insure you make the coveted 130 MPH Club.
Your first pass on the Salt will be the licensing pass where you run your vehicle up to 100 mph for calibration of the timing equipment with your vehicle. The actual course where you will be timed is 1 mile long course containing a 132 foot precision speed trap at the end of the mile. In order to join this entry level Salt Flats Racing club you will need to run at least 130 mph (but not 140 or over) in two separate passes in the same day. Likewise, with the 150 MPH Club you must run the same except that you cannot exceed 160 mph.
The thrill of high speed driving on the U.S. freeways is nothing compared to a run on the Salt, regardless of the speed you are traveling at. The heart starts pounding as you start your first pass, the adrenaline is pumping and drives you forward as your ride passes the 100 miles per hour mark and the surface of the Salt is sending you a message that it’s ready to give you the thrill of your life as you propel your vehicle down the Salt in quest of your first, personal land speed record. Your heart rate begins to slow as you slow your ride for the turn in preparation for the second run and then your heart rate races back as quickly as your ride. Onward you go down the Salt, knowing your on board speed indicator is rather worthless as it is the Salt Flats timing devices that you must satisfy. The black line before you soon takes you forward and you see the final timing traps before you, in an attempt to get more speed out of your vehicle you press harder on the accelerator. Then you realize that you are already holding the accelerator pedal against the floor, you notice the timing traps pass by out the side of your helmet. No matter what the timer says, you and your vehicle have given all that could be given during this attempt at a personal land speed record. Within a short period of time you are given a small slip of paper, reminiscent of a receipt from a grocery store. But this has on it not a total of purchase made but your official Bonneville Salt Flats timing and speed, and you nearly do a back flip as you see you have exceeded 130 miles per hour on the Salt Flats. You know have your very own land speed record. Oh sure, there are other cars out there that will go 4 or 5 times as fast as you just traveled down the Salt Flats but they couldn’t be more exhilarated than you who have just set a personal World of Speed record.
For more information about the USFRA 130 or 150 mph clubs then visit their website page located at http://www.saltflats.com/I30%20Club.html.