UPDATED: Aggies' Biofuel-Powered Race Postponed By Salt Flat Rainfall
Speed Week 2014 at the Bonneville Salt Flats was canceled due to the race track conditions after severe rainstorms. The Southern California Timing Association board, which planned the event, issued a statement that there is a possibility of extending the World Finals event (Sep. 30-Oct. 3) into a full-week event to make up for the loss of the Speed Week races.
Recent rainfall has rendered the Bonneville Salt Flats unusable for the Bonneville Nationals 2014 Speed Week races, which were originally scheduled to take place August 9-15.
Media reports substantial rain fell on the evening August 6, garnishing the race track with an inch of water and leaving up to ankle-deep levels of water in some lower places on the flats. Technical preparations and races have currently been postponed a day, but deliberation is still underway to determine if the track will be ready by then.
Utah State University biofuel researchers are traveling to take part in the race, where they set speed records in 2012 and 2013 competing with the USU-built and biofuel-driven ‘Aggie A-Salt’ dragster.
USU biochemist and veteran driver for the team Michael R. Morgan says though the situation is still under review, the entrants are hopeful racing will begin soon.
“Everything’s set up to be able to continue, but right now everybody’s holding their breath, hoping that some wind will come in, no more rain falls and it gets really sunny,” Morgan said. “If that’s the case, we should be able to race here in the next day or two.”
This year, Morgan will be racing a motorcycle and truck fueled by USU-developed biofuels.
“That’s a lot of fun to do some things we haven’t done,” Morgan said. “I’ve not ridden a motorcycle at Bonneville before… and then the truck should be a lot of fun because it should be faster than anything we’ve driven at Bonneville currently with any of our biodiesel.”
Morgan says this year’s USU team goals are to make consecutive runs with their algae-based biodiesel fuel and to introduce a new safflower biodiesel pioneered by USU scientist Dallas Hanks, who passed away in June.
Morgan says a meeting is scheduled for the evening of August 7 to decide the future of the race.