It was bound to happen sooner or later.
For the second year in a row SpeedWeek 2015 has been cancelled due to salt conditions not being up to par for racers. According to correspondents from the Southern California Timing Association earlier today (July 21,2015) the combination of heavy salt mining from salt companies over the decades combined with the lots of rain over the past few months that brought a deluge of mud onto the flats have made for poor salt flat conditions.
"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 Bonneville Salt Flats are a densely packed salt surface in Utah. Bonneville is home to one of the largest salt flats in the world. Unlike many great places of nature, it’s free for anyone to drive thanks to the United States Bureau of Land Management. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, “In the 1940s and ’50s the crust was an average of two to three feet thick.” Today the crust in some places is only inches thick.
There are efforts by SCTA to bring back the salt thickness to levels that are suitable for racing. “There is a demonstrated process to replenish the BSF salt crust. In 1997, salt brine was pumped onto the BSF flats at a rate of about 1.5 million tons of salt a year. During the five-year program, the salt flats increased in thickness and hardness and the project significantly improved the underground aquifer that supports the salt crust volume. ”
So hope is not all lost on the Salt Flats. If only mother nature and efforts to revitalize Bonneville ramp up will chances increase for racers to return. Until then, SpeedWeek fans may have to start thinking of going elsewhere for their speed records.