Reportage from the salt at this year's Speed Week.
WORDS & IMAGES Keith Baskett
One of the inspectors tells me there are at least eighteen different spoken languages represented at this year’s Speed Week. International flags fly over the paddock, where crew members borrow tools, knowledge, and beer from “rival” teams; this is a battle not with fellow racers but against the Bonneville Salt Flats.
Conditions are favorable this year, better than they’ve been in recent memory. There’s an air of happiness and purpose as one record-breaking run follows another, filling the inspection impound throughout the day. At night, enthusiasts of all ages sit together, telling jokes and sharing land-speed lore and life lessons. As the teams head back to their RVs and hotel rooms, they're thinking of optimized tuning and how they'll get every last ounce of speed out of their purpose-built machines.
I suspect that in this way, the sport has remained unchanged for decades. The Bonneville Salt Flats are like no place on Earth, and Speed Week is like no other time.
Iron & Air contributor Keith Baskett is a photographer and writer hailing from Salt Lake City, UT.