Bonneville Speed Week Set to Return After 2 Years
The Salt Flats will once again host land speed recordsby Ciprian Florea, on
Cancelled in 2014 and 2015 due to deteriorating track conditions at the Bonneville Salt Flats, the popular Bonneville Speed Week is set to return in August. According to an update from the Southern California Timing Association, Bonneville Speedway is finally ready to host a new motorsport event.
"As of right now we have an 8-Mile Long Course, a 5-Mile Short Course and a 3-Mile Rookie Course. Course Prep is in motion and the 5-Mile & 3-Mile courses have been groomed. The SCTA is confident that the courses are all good and there is salt all the way down," claims the updated signed by SCTA President and Race Director Bill Lattin and Bonneville Nationals Inc. Chairman Pat McDowell.
That’s a significant improvement compared to last year, when the SCTA could only find 2.25 miles of safe salt to race on.
A reduction of available racing surface and salt thickness has led to the cancellation of events at Bonneville in recent years, including the iconic Speed Week in 2014 and 2015. Heavy rains caused a layer of mud from surrounding mountains to flow onto the flats, covering approximately 6 miles of the track, while nearby salt mining operations have reduced the size of the usable track and prevented the organization from finding another suitable section.
The depth of the salt crust at Bonneville has also been decreasing. Measured at as much at three feet in the 1950s, it has been reduced to just 0.17 feet in 2015. Both the SCTA and BNI have worked together with the Bureau of Land Management to protect the Salt Flat. Campaigns such as "Save the Salt" are also making effort to restore the area.
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Why it matters
The Bonneville Speed Week is one of the most important racing events in the United States and the fact that the SCTA finally found an area to host a new event after a two-year hiatus is great news for land speed record and salt racing enthusiasts. The Bonneville Salt Flats have seen several land speed records and numerous hot rod races throughout the years and it would have been a shame for the event to die completely. Hopefully, the 2016 Speed Week will be the first of many races to come as the local authorities and the nonprofit organizations find ways to return the area to its race-ready condition.