Bonneville Speed Week’s Friendliest BBQ

Salt Flats Friendliest People

2009 Speedweek - Salt Talks at Bonneville Speed WeekWhen you’re on the salt, you’re either preparing to race or racing. The atmosphere is  more cooperative than you’re likely to find at any other kind of racing, but you’re still busy. Unpack, tech, race, hopefully impound (that means you have the potential to set a record!) then back in the early morning for a record run.  If you’re successful backing up your record, you go back to tech for a final inspection. If not, back to the pits to make a few tweaks to the car, then back in line to start over again.

Jon Amo, the founder of found that the land speed racers, especially the ones who are connected through the internet forum and chat, need a place to catch up with old and new friends and hear who’s running what and how fast.  That was the birth of “Salt Talks”. It’s a social gathering held on Sunday evening of 2009 Speed Week after the day’s racing was done.

Bonneville - Jon and Nancy, organizers of Salt TalksAbout 6 years ago at around 5:30 PM, not long before Salt Talks were to kick off, Amo was walking around at the well known, “Bend in the Road” asking for a charcoal grill when Nancy and Jon Wennerberg heard.  Nancy said, “You need some women to run it!” So for a couple years after that, Nancy and Jon ran the Salt Talks, a BBQ, social and raffle with tons of great prizes.  Then, about a year-and-a-half after that, Jon, better known as “Seldom Seen Slim” bought and kept up the tradition of Salt Talks which has grown to, “A picnic for about 300 of our friends!” as Jon puts it. This was the 10 year anniversary.

So pull up a chair, a freshly made hamburger, hot dog or the specialty pasties. Pasties are a meat pie made of coarse ground beef, cubed or thin sliced potato, maybe some other veggie filler, onion, and seasoning.  This mixture is wrapped in a pie-crust-like dough and baked ’til the meat is cooked. Pasties are a staple of Salt Talks.

Slim promises, “We’re not going to have a lie detector test here… so you can tell us how fast you used to be, or how fast you would’ve done if you hadn’t broke.” He continued, “One year, for someone’s birthday, a $10,000 computer controlled fireworks show happened immediately after Salt Talks.  So you never know what’s gonna happen!”

Slim with raffle prizesSpecial thanks to Slim and Nancy and the other great folks at the discussion forum for their hospitality and education on my first trip to Speed Week. I hope to see all of you again next year.

So you know, Nancy’s the real deal! She was in impound (remember, that’s a good thing!) with her production bike waiting to make her record run during Salt Talks. She set a record the next day at just under 200 mph. She ran 199.355 to qualify for the record, then 198.48 mph to back it up. The record she got is 198.909, upping the previous one of 196.604. (Somebody send me a picture!)

For an insane number of great shots from Speed Week 2009 race cars, show cars and the race bikes too (and tons more from years gone by!) check out photographer, “Ray the Rat’s” pictures here.