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The Bonneville Salt Flats: Speed Trials

09.13.16

If you enjoy the thrill of going fast, the Salt Flats may just be the place for you. The Bonneville Salt Flats, which are located in Northwestern Utah, were first discovered to be drivable when Bill Rishel and his two business partners drove a Pierce-Arrow across the salt in 1907.
Soon after the first test drive the word began to spread about the Salt Flats and by 1914, American race car driver, Teddy Tetzlaff set the first land speed record of 141.73 mph on the flats. However, it wasn't until Utah local Ab Jenkins set a new endurance record by driving a Pierce-Arrow in a continuous 10-mile loop for 24 hours at an average speed of 112.9 miles per hour, did the Salt Flats become a go-to spot for adrenaline junkies looking to go fast. 
Expert drivers from all over the world came to Bonneville, bringing with them custom-made motorcycles and automobiles. The Bonneville Speedway was created as a designated area for motor sports in the flats due to the increased popularity for people going to Bonneville. Various classes of competing vehicles emerged including streamliners, roadsters, and jet-powered cars. By the mid 60's and early 70s, jet-powered cars were reaching speeds of over 600 miles per hour. The final record was broken on October 28, 1970, when a man by the name of Gary Gabelich did the impossible and pushed his rocket-powered car to an average speed of 630 mph.
Here's some awesome photos found from a speed trials event that took place at Bonneville in 1966. From the looks of it, mechanics were way ahead of their time, building some incredibly fast and futuristic looking vehicles. 
 
*we hold no rights to these images.