Day 1: Monday September 1, 2008
The day didn't start great: I got a call in Phoneix in the early morning from Dan Holmes, the leader of the Royal Enfield Land World Speed Record Attempt telling me not to hurry. Apparantly the salt was perfect, but it rained this morning and there was standing water on the track. This is one of the vagaries of salt flat racing, you never know what condition the salt will be in. Some years you can't race all year.
As it turned out this was a passing thing, so I got on a 10:00am fligth to Salt Lake City. When we got to SLC the storms were there and it was a wild ride down (which I enjoy for some reason). By the time I got going it was bright and sunny and the forecast for the rest of the week was good.
It's a long, straight, 110-mile drive to the Bonneville Salt Flats Raceway from Salt Lake. The Salt Flats are about 4 miles from Wendover, which is partly in Utah and partly in Nevada. In fact, they have a line painted on the street to mark each state's border. As you might imagine, casinos are located about 3 inches from the Nevada side of the border.
I checked into my motel and then made my way to the Salt Flats. Although I have driven by here on I-80 many times, I have never been to the Salt Flats. Once you turn off the highway, you drive a few miles on a road beside the salt and then onto the salt itself. This thing is much larger than I have imagined, in fact - it is enormous! From the end of the road it is about another 6 miles on the salt flat to the area where the races are held. It is very eerie as the sun pounds off the salt surface and you really are in the middle of nowhere. It would be very easy to get lost on the salt.
At any rate, someone had put out cones which were easy to follow. I can also tell you that my rental car tops out just over 100mph. When I got to the staging area I met Dan Holmes and the rest of the team. They were setting up and were just about finished. After about an hour we all returned to town with me once again trying set a land speed record in a rental car.
The racing starts tomorrow at 8am with registration and tech inspection. Tech is pretty involved and tough and we hope that we haven't missed anything.
More to come... so stay tuned!
Photo Gallery: Day 1 at the Salt Flats