Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Salt Shakers: Dispatches From the BUB Bonneville Speed Trials, August 31, 2010

We’re back! Heavy rain Sunday night created a major setback for the racers on Monday morning, and yesterday both the long and short courses were closed until after lunch. “We had to wait for the salt to dry out,” said Denis Manning. By early afternoon things were “back on track,” so to speak, and by the end of the day 127 runs had been completed. When the last bike made its pass on Monday, top speed of the meet belonged to a turbocharged Suzuki Hayabusa that was clocked at 220 mph.

Black Lightning, the double-engine Vincent streamliner owned by Mad Max Lambky, could only muster 208 mph on Monday, and on Tuesday they aborted a run at 177. “But it sure sounds good!” exclaimed one spectator.

The Leslie Porterfield watch shows the World’s Fastest Woman “just a tad under 200” so far. We’re keeping our eye on her for ya…

The salt dried so quickly Monday morning that the low humidity had a negative impact on course conditions all day Tuesday. “Now the salt is too dry and they can’t get much traction,” said Manning.

One solution for improving the course’s traction is to compact the salt. The best way to do that, according to Manning, is to route the tow trucks and spectator vehicles that arrive first thing Wednesday morning so they travel along either of the two courses. Hopefully the convoy of vehicles will have an impact on the salt conditions. “We’ll wheel-pack the course with those vehicles,” said Manning. Obviously child labor laws don’t apply to racers and spectators. –Dain Gingerelli

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