Excessive rain has put a damper on Bonneville’s Speed Week, which was scheduled to run August 8-14, for the second consecutive year. There is, again, not enough salt to race on the salt flats.
“The SCTA President/Race Director Bill Lattin & the BNI Chairman Roy Creel spent this morning (July 20th) on the salt. The most they could find was 2 1/4 miles of salt suitable for a safe race course. The rest of the salt flats are either wet or wet and muddy. If the wet salt gets dry, future events could be possible. The Nugget will be refunding for reservations for one week,” reads the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) website.
The Bonneville Salt Flats require there to be a certain amount of dry salt in order to safely conduct a race. Since the only two courses used during Speed Week are both longer than three miles, the conditions are unsafe.
“If we tried to run a race, we’d be looking for an accident,” Utah Salt Flats Racing Association president Dennis Sullivan said.
According to Hot Rod, 260 of 338 Speed Week entrants voted to run Speed Week anyway if they had so much as a single 3-mile course to utilize. Unfortunately, the space suitable for a race came up shy of that three miles.
Speed Week is the biggest of several racing events held annually at the Bonneville Salt Flats. The event typically draws about 10,000 to 15,000 spectators from all over the world, in addition to the hundreds of racing teams.
More than 500 individual vehicles had already registered to participate in this year’s event, and the cancellation is a blow to both the participants and the SCTA.
According to The Salt Lake Tribune, levels of salt on the salt flats this year are dangerously low, which has contributed to wet and patchy spots on the courses that would be too much of a risk for competitors to race on since they would most likely get stuck.
In addition to Speed Week being cancelled, this weekend’s Utah Salt Flats Racing Association “test and Tune” sessions were cancelled.
Prior to the 2014 event being cancelled due to excessive rain, the last cancellation was in the 1990s.
Hot Rod gives reports saying there are no plans to cancel the World Finals race that runs from September 20 – October 2 at this current moment, given that the conditions improve.