The 61st Bonneville Speed Week…but My First Visit

Salt Flat Recap:

Story by my Dad, Greg Martin, who I was lucky enough to spend speed week with!
Bonneville Salt Flat horizon during Speedweek 2009
I’ve never seen such a group as these speed freak, salt flat hot rodders. I do believe they would all agree with Mark Twain’s adage, “Let us so live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.”

Bonneville high speed hat at Speedweek 2009My first impression after riding my bicycle down the three-mile-long pits was that maybe I had stumbled upon a movie set for yet another Mad Max movie. I fully expected to see Mel (Max Rockatansky) Gibson or Tina (Aunty Entity) Turner come screaming down the pits followed by a cackle of hyenaish groupies. Oh, well it must have been the immediate effects of the blazing reflections off the salt – the old timers told me to make sure you put plenty of sunblock on the bottom of my chin and nose.

Bonneville Speed Week 2009 entry from the Bean BanditsBonneville streamliner preparing for its frist run ever down the saltI was amazed by the diversity of cars and syckles that ranged from the do it yourself bring what ya got to the high-tech, hyper-slick long blown fuel streamliners with a million secrets beneath their perfect skin.

The best spot to see the action is definitely the starting line. Bonneville has three courses: a three mile for rookies and Bonneville 200mph club t-shirt picture shot at Speed Week 2009those not expected to exceed 175 mph top speed. The five mile is a must if you are going to attempt to gain entry into the prestigious 200 Mile Per Hour Club. And if you are driving something nasty enough to really get scootin’ they have an eight mile course that runs along the mile long spectator area, the pits and beyond. They say that if you make a wrong turn at the end of your run on the middle track you can get lost because you are surrounded by nothing but an ocean salt and there is no way to gain a sense of direction.

So, the best spot to see the action is the starting line (did I say that already), cause you cannot get any closer to a car going down the track than about a quarter of a mile away at the end of the pits.

Speed Week 2009 bonneville-bob-start line pictureA lot of cars are geared so high that even with well over 500 foot pounds of torque it is not enough to start rolling down the track without a push. Once they get going fast enough to put their foot in it, screamin’ is the only word I can come up with to describe the feeling of watching a mobile invention that may go over 400 miles per hour away from you.

grumpysI did run into one grump but everyone else I meet at Speed Week seemed happy to be there and anxious to get to know you.

tg-sr-tg-jrWith no salt under my finger nails yet, I was drawn-in more by non-technical aspects of this sport. Like the fun you can have naming your car and team when you don’t have some big sponsor paying all the bills. The result is entries like the So What Speed Shop, Larry Old Volks Home, Low Sodium, Fine Art Racing, Never Paid For Racing, Loose Screw Racing, Saltbiscuit and of course Old Men Can Fly 2.

I did notice a lot of gang activity which was surprising – you had The Fat Boyz, The Barbee Boys and Fuzzy Logic for California, the Prairie Drifters and the Salt Dogs from Wisconsin, from Washington it was the Hudson Boys and the Nobody’s. Then there were the loners like Seldom Seen Slim, The Avanti Kid, Evil Tweety, Bone Evil and cousins Bonneville Bob and Bonneville Bobber.

And so my two days at the 61st Bonneville Speed Week were far too short of a week and more fun than most of the things I’ve done in bitmap-in-blown-fuel-competion-coupasakicdrtwo days. It did get me think’n though –that Nissan Versa I’ve been dreaming about with 24s and a chopped top – suppose it turned into my entry in next year’s Speed Week. I’ve always thought I would call it the “Dinky Donk” but perhaps I would have to call it “Ain’t Nobody’s Business”. After all, if you don’t have the right name it won’t go as fast.

We’re anxious to hear your impressions from Bonneville too. Feel free to leave a comment.

Don’t miss a thing from 2010 Bonneville Speed Week:

Bonneville Speed Week 2010 – First Look

Bonneville Salt Flats Pictures linked below:

The people and drivers from Bonneville Speedweek 2009 Picture Gallery

Nuggest Casino Car Show Bonneville Speedweek 2009 Picture Gallery