MV Agusta at Bonneville BUB speed trials

Tears, Names, Salt

story by Pete Brissette, Created Feb. 18, 2008
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As hard as it may be to believe, I have never been to any of the speed trials at the Bonneville Salt Flats.  Believe me I've been wanting to go for sometime, especially after all the fuss Chris Carr made piloting the BUB No. 7 to a new land-speed record in 2006 at a screaming 350.884 mph. News of that was everywhere for a year. Heck, there was even a couple of books and a documentary film made about it. True motorsports history.

Another reason I want to visit the Temple of Speed is to see this fickle mistress called salt. I'd love to see this surface. I'm fascinated by seemingly mundane things that present what I consider an amazing dichotomy -- like the way you can be crushed by the weight of water after a certain depth, yet theoretically you're free to move around in it.

In the case of going as fast as possible at Bonneville, the relatively simple surface made of salt (actually it's potassium, magnesium lithium and sodium chloride -- common table salt) can wreak havoc on the attempts of expensive, sophisticated machines to go faster than any thing on wheels, rendering their efforts fruitless. The Mistress of the Salt sends them home brokenhearted and remorseful for thinking they can be so presumptuous with her. That was just the case last year as only one of the teams duking it out in '06 made a single run before crashing, Carr and team just sat it out, and the third team didn't even bother showing up.

Alas, I wasn't there, again, to at least witness the failures if not epic battles of speed. Thankfully I've learned to live vicariously through our friends at OnTheThrottle.com. A new record was set last year, but it didn't garner the attention that the big boys generated in 2006. As a matter of fact this record was set on a motorcycle that just about anyone with more-than-average discretionary income, or enough will, can go out and buy.

MV Agusta aficionado Gary Kohs, a true Bonneville greenhorn, realized he could set a record on an F4-R 312. So he set off to meet the people who built the bike, had a tender moment with them all and came back to Bonnie -- but you'll have to watch to see the new record and how this unique story unfolded.

Related Reading
Bonneville 2007
Bonneville's Blazing Bikes

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