The Quest for Speed on the Salt

October 04, 2008  •  Leave a Comment
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The Bonneville Salt Flats Gives and it takes away.

This is true in all things really, but here it takes on a different connotation, men are drawn to the legend that is "the salt", this is the place where he comes from all over the world to see just how fast his machine can go, to test its limits and his nerve to pilot it to it's fullest potential, it is a mixture of design, mechanical innovation, skill and guts to go as fast as one can, in some cases faster then any other, to make and break records and have ones name written next to a long list of the great, the men that for over a hundred years have made the pilgrimage and vetted their souls on the salt and satisfy their need for speed.
 


As easily as the salt gives these records it will take them away, if you are lucky you come back and try to rest it back in your name, for some the supreme quest for speed ends as quickly as it began with the salt extracting the ultimate pay, the salt absorbs life. A mistake here at speed is not often rewarded with a mere education, it comes with a price, one that each and every participant is aware of in the back of his head. Those thoughts are pushed to the nether regions of your mind as you sit on a raw spitting machine, eyes forward awaiting the red flag to signal it is "your time". The distance moves in the heat, the whiteness of the salt, stark and barren save for an orange cone or a gently waving flag, positioned at irregular intervals to remind you that some salt is better then other. Somewhere in between lies the goal, it's not marked but you know you must find it, it's out there waiting for you.

****
Monday the 1st of September was the beginning of the event, I got up early thinking I might catch a sunrise on the salt worth shooting, what I found was it was more cold and damp as i rode the 10 odd miles to the beginning of the Salt. When I got to the end of the road about 6:30 I found that the rain from overnight had created a small lake that sat on top of the salt in places creating a soupy salty mixture that we were warned to stay clear off. I was the only one of the 4-5 vehicles there that had two wheels. The rest were folks that had driven in with trailers and pickups carry the methods to the madness. As I stood there with the wind howling, and the rain still making an appearance or two I was asked by more then one or two of the guys to come and warm up in the truck out of the rain. This was as I found out later to be the beginning of what was truly a spectacular example of the camaraderie that prevailed at the event, those guys that I met on the first day, called my by name and asked how I was doing every time we crossed paths.

After a truly non spectacular sun rise, I rode back to the hotel, warmed up and grabbed some coffee. About 9:30 or so I met up Cyril, Bill, Dick and Lee, my Brit friends who showed me a tee shirt they had made to commemorate their trip. The front of the shirt showed 5 bikes side by side with the faces of these guys strategically placed on the riders, the title of the shirt was the "Mild Hogs", I told lee if I had the opportunity to shot that pose I'd love to do......well needless to say the opportunity came up shortly there after.


From left to right: Cyril, Lee, Bill and Dick

 


continued haphazardly as I find the time.....

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