BON­NEVILLE SPEED WEEK

OUR MAN IN THE USA, POVI PULLINEN, HEADS TO THE BON­NEVILLE SALT FLATS FOR ONE OF THE FASTEST SPEED WEEKS EVER

Street Machine - - Contents - STORY POVI PULLINEN PHO­TOS SI­MON DAVID­SON

Povi and Davo head to the fastest place on earth

SINCE 1948, the Bon­neville salt flats in Utah, USA, have played host to much fail­ure and heart­break. Yet de­spite know­ing this, year af­ter year hun­dreds of land speed rac­ing en­thu­si­asts roll out onto its milky white sur­face in the name of speed. Con­sid­er­ing the en­vi­ron­men­tal and me­chan­i­cal hur­dles that need to be con­quered, land speed rac­ing can be a painful sport, but chat to any­one suit­ing up in the swel­ter­ing heat at Bon­neville and they’ll tell you their pil­grim­age to the promised land has been worth it.

This year’s Speed Week boasted health­ier salt con­di­tions than in re­cent mem­ory, and with an added fourth course to the now-cus­tom­ary three (long, short, and rookie) there was plenty of land for ev­ery­one.

For my­self and fel­low Aus­tralian Jamie Cro­ker, the stars had aligned that we would both crew (and po­ten­tially get seat time) with dif­fer­ent teams: Jamie with the record-hard­ened Mon­tana Dodge Boys and their 240hp vin­tage ’28 Dodge road­ster; me help­ing my friends Tim and Justin try to run an hon­est 100mph in a ’banger-pow­ered ’23 Model T road­ster.

The salt has a funny way of lev­el­ling the play­ing field, some­thing that be­comes im­me­di­ately ob­vi­ous once you’re stuck wrench­ing in 44-de­gree weather, try­ing to get the tim­ing right on a ques­tion­able 60-year-old mag­neto, while just down from you Ge­orge Po­teet’s crew are sweat­ing out an en­gine swap with one of five Dut­tweiler-built mills for Speed De­mon. No mat­ter how big or small your deal was, heads still had to be scratched and sock­ets still had to be spun.

You could hear it on the ra­dio and you could feel it on the ground: The rac­ing this year was fast. There were 39 records bro­ken on Sun­day alone, and 168 would fall over­all. The im­me­di­ate sup­port for the ‘big guns’ was re­mark­able. If you weren’t at the start­ing line to watch Danny Thomp­son fire Chal­lenger 2, or hear the whir of Team Vesco’s Turbina­tor II, then it was tools down and ears to the ra­dio as those rock­ets took off to­wards the hori­zon on their way to break new land speed bar­ri­ers.

CHAT TO ANY­ONE AT BON­NEVILLE AND THEY’LL TELL YOU THEIR PIL­GRIM­AGE TO THE PROMISED LAND HAS BEEN WORTH IT

LEFT & ABOVE: This newly built ’32 road­ster is the brain­child of sea­soned veter­ans Don Fer­gu­son and Monte Os­born. With the ex­pe­ri­ence of dozens of records between them, they took on the Street Road­ster class, which was chal­leng­ing as the car has al­most no aero­dy­namic help. It’s pow­ered by a 320-cube Jimmy six with a 12-port head and En­derle in­jec­tion, and is good for around 470hp. The fel­las ran a best of 184.751mph Bob Dally’s ’Cuda looked stun­ning out on the salt, and its slant-six screamed out a best of 127.664mph

LEFT & BE­LOW: Ed Um­land of Ed­die’s Chop Shop pre­sented this beau­ti­ful bare-metal, Ls-pow­ered stream­liner, and ran a best of 352.573mph. The Chevy Sub­ur­ban push truck (pic­tured be­low) sits on a Ken­worth chas­sis, and is just plain awe­some

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