Welcome to the preview of Bonneville Speed Week 2012
Those of you who followed our adventures here on EFGMotorracing.com last year will recall the trials and tribulations of a small Scottish team as we try to become the fastest ever with a 1 litre car by breaking the South California Timing Associations record of 313mph.
For those of you who missed it, the blog can be seen further down.
Today is a big day.
The "EFG International Flower of Scotland powered by Atlantic Methanol" Land Speed Car ends her voyage across the Atlantic, through the Panama Canal and up the West Coast of America to finally arrive in Long Beach California this afternoon. Our logistics crew are waiting and as soon as she clears customs formalities they'll liberate her from the container that's been her home for the last 6 weeks and try and assess any Salt damage/clean her up before the main crew arrive from Scotland next Thursday. Last year we had a parachute failure on the first pass due to the rusting of components during the voyage and given I'm hoping to approach, if not break, 300 mph on the first pass of 2012 we can't afford for that to happen again. To quote team boss, Derek Palmer, it looked as if The Flower had been "deck cargo on a submarine" when she came out of the container!
Hot dang hot
In the crate
Reports from the Speedway suggest that the Salt is hard and fast for this year which is great news. Rain could arrive at any point and stop proceedings, but a flatter surface than last year might be what we need to minimise the strains going though the transmission of the car. People imagine the Salt to be billiard smooth like a traditional race track, but in fact driving the support truck down the course after the Drivers briefing last year (traditionally our first look at the race track) we found it began to shake apart above about 60mph! It really is that rough.
So 7 days from today we fly out and while the anticipation is enormous, the waiting is horrendous. Sleep is not coming easily at night... I shut my eyes and see fast moving Salt... my concentration on anything not Bonneville related has gone to the dogs... and I've packed and repacked my bags 5 times already.
LSR legend Art Arfons used to say "Bonneville is the only place where you hate every second you are there but as you drive out of the place you are already planning to come back."
The food is terrible, the accommodation worse, the heat is oppressive but if the Salt is fast nothing else matters!
We will, as ever, either break Records or break parts!
The plan is to put the Flower through tech inspection on Friday 10th, and be ready to run when the Salt opens on Saturday morning after the drivers briefing. No mucking around this year, we have no low speed passes planned to check everything, it's really going to be a case of climb aboard, strap in and foot down. If I have the confidence and can build enough familiarity with the car during the first 60 seconds or so between the start line and the first speed trap then the plan is to run her right out as fast as she'll go.
Perhaps by the end of the week I'll be able to answer the ultimate school-boy question: "What'll she do Mister??"
As usual, you'll be able to read all about it here first on EFGMotorracing.com so join us daily for our Bonneville adventures at Speedweek 2012 from Saturday 11th of August.
As ever, I'd like to thank EFG International for their support and also our other sponsors, the Methanol Institute, Atlantic Methanol and Maurice de Mauriac Watches.
Your "dreaming of 300mph" correspondent.