Wednesday, February 6, 2013

World of Speed 2012: Part II

We drove out onto the salt flat, slowly crunching our way toward the line of brightly colored objects about a mile off.  As we approached the line the objects began to differentiate themselves: cars, trucks, motorhomes, motorcycles, trailers and people took shape.  Most of the vehicles were lined up in two lines that stretched for about a quarter mile each and terminated a couple hundred yards apart.

We parked, administered sunscreen and headed toward the nearest lineup.  Davide and Karin seemed slightly giddy, like they were not quite convinced that they were actually standing on the same salt that had borne Burt Munro, Malcolm Campbell and Craig Breedlove.  The weather was amazing- warm but not too hot, with heavy clouds that cut the brutal reflection off the salt and made for dramatic photo backdrops.
The speedways at Bonneville are usually two black lines on the salt that start very near each other but head slightly apart as they get further away; they would form a 'V' if you looked down from a plane.  One track is longer (five miles I think) for high speed runs and the other is shorter, for the slower (like under 150MPH or so) runs.  I say 'usually' because when the salt is just right the organizers sometimes add a third track a few miles away.  There were only two tracks this time out.

World of Speed is a smaller event than Speed Week, so I wasn't surprised that there was a bit less traffic than when I'd been to Speed Week a few years back.  I really had no idea what to expect of World of Speed - they had changed their schedule to run Saturday-Thursday this year and no one knew how many people would be left on the Monday, which was the only day we could make it.  The good news is that there was still plenty to see.  The better news is that, just like at Speed Week, the people here were hardcore.
A lot of my friends - even car buddies - don't quite get the appeal of Bonneville.  It's in the middle of nowhere, it's generally hotter than hell, and you can't really even watch the cars hit speed - the tracks are so long you really only get to see the takeoff unless you park yourself miles away and watch through binoculars.  Most people would just rather go to the local drag strip or car show or sports car track.
And that's just it.  Everyone at Bonneville is into it.  They're either running a car or bike, or helping someone else run a car or bike, or are just so fascinated by the whole thing that they took their vacation to come to the middle of nowhere and wear a giant hat, get sunburned and be around other like-minded fanatics.  No one is accidentally at Bonneville.  No one.  If you're there, you're there for one reason: Bonneville.  It's a beautiful thing.
to be continued...

1 comment:

d a v i d e said...

An overwhelming feeling got me when the first guy launched.
I guess that'll be in the next episode.