Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Salt Lake Bonneville - History and Stats

Bonneville Speedway is an area of the Bonneville Salt Flats near Wendover, Utah, that is marked out for motor sports. It is particularly noted as the venue for numerous land speed records.
The salt flats were first used for motor sports in 1912, but didn't become truly popular until the 1930s when Ab Jenkins and Sir Malcolm Campbell competed to set land speed records.

Speed Record


Sir Malcolm Campbell

Blue Bird



1947Don WaiteThe Edelbrock Special192309
1963Craig BreedloveSpirit of America407.447655.722
1963Dick BeithPepco VW Type 1 ("Beetle")129.65208.651

1964Art ArfonsThe Green Monster434.022664.694
1965Craig BreedloveSpirit of America - Sonic 1600.601966.574
1969Burt MunroIndian Scout V-Twin183.59295.44
1970Gary GabelichBlue Flame622.4071001.67
2001Don VescoVesco Turbinator - Turbine Engine458.443737.395
2004R. SchroeBuckeye Bullet - Electric Vehicle314.958524.930
2006Andy GreenJCB Dieselmax - Diesel Streamliner350.092563.418

History and Land Speed Records

This area, located within the Bonneville Salt Flats near Wendover, Utah, has been first recognized for its racing potential in 1896. In 1907 Rishel and two local businessmen tested the suitability of the salt for driving on by taking a Pierce Arrow onto the surface of the flats. A railway line across the Bonneville 

Salt Flats was completed in 1910, marking the first permanent crossing. The salt flats was first used as a speedway in 1914, when Teddy Tetzlaff drove his car to an official record speed of 141.73 mph. 

However, the salt flats proved their excellent racing qualities in the 1930's when Utah driver Ab Jenkins lured British racer Sir Malcolm Campbell to compete for speed records on the salt surface. Since then, hundreds of records have been set and broken in a variety of automotive and motorcycle classes. Speeds went to 300, 400, 500 and then even the 600 mph barrier was broken.

The 1960’s brought jet-powered cars piloted by the likes of Art Arfons, Bob Summers, Bobby Tatroe, Craig Breedlove, Don Vesco, Elwin Teague, Gary Gabelich, George E. Eyston, John Cobb, Nolan White, Sir Malcolm Campbell, Tom Burkland, Tom Green and even a rocket powered car named the "Blue Flame" somewhere in the 1970's.

In 1960, Mickey Thompson became the first American to break the 400 mph (644 km/h) barrier hitting 406.60 mph (654.36 km/h) surpassing John Cobb’s 1947 one-way Land speed record of 403 mph (649 km/h). In 1970, Gary Gabolich's rocket car, "Blue Flame", attained 622.4 mph (1001.65 km/h) 

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