Shawn Driver, right, and Matt Blasco work on the final engine tweaks prior to their trip to the Bonneville Salt Flats. (Tim Collins/Sooke News Mirror)

Wet conditions put the brakes on Sean Driver’s speed record

Sooke car enthusiast heading back to Bonneville in October

It’s been said that “man plans and God laughs.”

It’s a truism that was confirmed in Sooke resident Shawn Driver’s mid-August foray to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah where his dream of pushing his 1953 Studebaker to 300 mph was stymied by bad weather.

“We got down there and they’d experienced rain and the track was really bad,” Driver said.

“They tried to get some tracks in shape, but it just wasn’t happening.”

Speed Week officials tried their best, but a wet spring and a number of small storms passed over the dry lake bed, leaving their mark with standing water in the pits and on various parts of the racecourse.

“They had the long course running, but only to the four-mile mark. You had to exit before the six-mile mark because conditions after that were quite bad,” Driver said.

RELATED: Driver likes going fast

“We tried the four-mile, but even there it was like driving on the beach in three inches of sand. You can’t chase high speeds in those conditions.”

Driver made one run, getting to 158 mph, but then allowed his car to be used by other’s who qualified for the lower speed qualifications.

Some other drivers of the faster cars simply packed up and headed for home, noting that, even after several days of drying, wet salt is not fast salt.

And for drivers like Driver, chasing significant performance goals wouldn’t have made much sense on the surface that was available.

But while Driver was disappointed, he’s far from giving up.

“We’ll be waiting to see what the conditions are before we head out, but if all goes well we’ll be heading down to the BNI World Finals on Oct.1,” Driver said.

“But we might just try to go 250 mph twice and set our record that way this year and push it further next year.”

Driver’s reasonable level of caution is fueled by two crashes that happened at Bonneville recently.

“I don’t know if it was the conditions, or what, but one fellow crashed at 350 mph and had to be airlifted out in critical condition. Another crashed at 285 mph and destroyed his car.”

Driver said he will be without some of his pit crew as they had worked with TV personality and female land speed record holder Jessi Combs. She was killed in August when she crashed in Oregon’s Alvord Desert while trying to set a new record. She was reportedly travelling in excess of 400 mph at the time.

“It can be dangerous, but we’re doing everything we can to make it as safe as possible,” Driver said.



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Book stores in Victoria notice uptick in sales for anti-racism titles

White Fragility, How to be an Antiracist are among the best selling titles

Stelly’s grads shocked after ‘anonymous friend’ pays for dinner

Friends took limo to Deep Cove Chalet to celebrate after graduation festivities cancelled

Langford approves permit for 124-unit mass timber building

Tallwood 1 to be completed by late 2021

Undercover operation exposes prominent human trafficking problem in Greater Victoria

VicPD’s Operation No More took place in mid-June at a local hotel

‘This year is unlike any other’: Trudeau delivers Canada day address

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the Prime Minister release video celebrating the national holiday

Gov. General honours Canadians for bravery, volunteer service

Five categories of winners presented on Canada Day

COVID-19: Should non-medical masks be mandatory in Canada?

New poll shows Canadians are divided on the rules around mandatory masks

‘A little bit scary for everybody’: Air passengers wary as new rules take effect

Masks or face coverings have been mandatory on flights since April 20

Library’s Summer Reading Club goes virtual

This literacy program is usually offered in person

VIDEO: Prince William and Kate chat with B.C. hospital staff about COVID-19

Seven-minute video posted to Youtube on Canada Day

River centre says heavy rains could bring flooding to central, northeastern B.C.

Water levels are already unusually high and river banks can be extremely unstable

Campbell River’s defunct cruise ship terminal to undergo evaluation for future plans

With no cruise ship coming through, the $16million terminal has been a white elephant for over 13 years

Most Read