The thrill of speed is alive and well at the Bonneville Salt Flats this week.
As part of the 65th annual Bonneville Nationals Speed Week, sponsored by the Southern California Timing Association, hundreds of streamliners, coupes, sedans, roadsters and motorcycles are cruising across the unique wonder of the world aiming to make records, but above all just test out the sheer power under the hood.
Over 520 participants — a record thus far in the history of Speed Week — from all over the world have been in town since late last week preparing for their time on the salt.
“There is more interest every single year,” said JoAnn Carlson, media liaison for the Southern California Timing Association. “Next year will be even bigger because it’s the 100th anniversary of racing on the Salt Flats.”
The makeshift raceway features four courses — two five-mile courses and two three-mile courses, each with an additional two miles of slowdown space at the end, a must with the staggering speeds exhibited.
“We have some streamliners who have gone over 400 miles an hour,” Carlson said. “And then we have some small motorcycles that go 50 miles and then everything in between.”
As of Monday, the fastest speed reached so far this year was 430 mph.
“That’s pretty exciting for us,” Carlson said.
While there is no monetary gain for participating, racers can earn a trophy for top speeds, as well as take the fame of breaking land speed records — a feat that draws enthusiasts from all over.
“We have had thousands of spectators lining the course,” Carlson said, adding that they definitely welcome anyone else interested.
The salt opens at 6 a.m. daily, with runs starting at 7 a.m. clear until 7 p.m., weather permitting. The salt officially closes at 8 p.m. to everyone. Cost is $15 per person.