Another disappointing blow for racers and petrol heads has occurred for the second year in a row.
As it stands now, The SCTA has officially announced Speed Week at the Bonneville Salt Flats to be cancelled due to weather conditions affecting the area and the overall diminishing thickness of surface salt necessary to engage in high speed activities.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that while the Utah Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has not ordered the hundreds of high-speed auto racers from throughout the world to stay away from the flats, the agency said in a news release that if the thickness of the salt does not increase soon — presumably by evaporation — "it will likely limit racing opportunities on the Bonneville Salt Flats this year to the shorter track area with good surface salt.” The full article about continuing conditions on the flats and local interviews can be read here.
The SCTA is holding onto hope that if the wet salt dries out in time, future—but limited—events could be possible. But based on the information over the past couple weeks, the overall depletion of salt on the flats, and the highly unpredictable climate, this reporter fears it unlikely that high speed runs will occur for major players.
President/Race Director Bill Lattin & the BNI Chairman spent this Monday morning (July 20th) out on the flats surveying potential sites for a course.
The longest distance of salt suitable for a safe race course measured only 2 1/4 miles. The rest of the salt flats are either wet or wet and muddy.
In the motorcycle world, there continues to be a lot of eyes on Guy Martin and the Triumph Rocket endeavor to break the land speed record in the Division-C Blown Fuel Streamliner Motorcycle class. The current land speed record of 376.363 mph (605.697 km/h) was set by Rocky Robinson in 2010 in the Suzuki powered Top-Oil Ack Attack streamliner, and has stood for five years.
Will the Ack-Attack record stand for another year? It seems likely as a nine mile course for vehicles seeking speeds of 400-500 mph is the minimum allowed by the SCTA.
Triumph has been unavailable for comment today, but based on the amount of money put into the project by the UK and its sponsors, I hope the team is considering an alternate site for an attempt.
Though a record setting attempt anywhere other than Bonneville doesn’t hold the same gravitas for the company based on its developed history on the flats, an attempt and a record setting run proves the capability of the machine and the tremendous efforts accomplished in the short timeline it has taken the company to conceptualize, build, test, and prepare the Triumph Rocket for speeds over 350+ mph.
This 2015 satellite image from Google maps shows significant mudflow from recent rains and a diminished area of dry white salt crust necessary for land speed racing.