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Frequently Asked Questions
What is land speed racing - what are the rules?
Land speed racing is beautifully simple and straight forward (pun intended). Race vehicles run on a natural surface of either a dry lake bed or the salt flats, one at a time, over a timed distance.
On the salt flats, vehicles are timed over a "flying" mile or kilometer, according to international rules, after a three mile approach.
At the dry lakes events vehicles are timed through a 132 foot trap at the end of a 1.3 or 1.5 mile approach.
Entrants compete on a comparison of their timed speed to the existing class record.
In Australia the only location is Lake Gairdner in South Australia.
The DLRA, SCTA and BNI have many classes for both cars and motorcycles - because we encourage individuality and ingenuity. The specific information a competitor would need is found in either the DLRA Rule Book or the SCTA Rule Book, and some brief descriptions follow.
The slash means the engine class would be found in front of the vehicle class. The use of a "B" indicates the engine is supercharged or "blown". The use of an "F" means the vehicle is running a fuel mixture (alchohol, nitrous, etc.), rather than a "G" or racing gasoline.
This first group of classes fall under the general heading of "special construction" vehicles and they are "S", Streamliners (the wheels are covered), "L", Lakesters (the wheels are outside the body panels), Electric cars and Turbine driven vehicles.
Special construction vehicles are not allowed to use any body panels from any production vehicles, and they are the ultimate speed vehicles.
These are all "vintage" category classes - and there are "V" vintage classes within the category. Don't ask, because I don't understand it either - you need to be a real vintage aficionado to appreciate all the variations. There are also vintage classes within the Production Coupe and Sedan Category classes - you will need a rule book to appreciate the subtleties.
But basically the classes are "Modified Roadster", "Roadster", "Street Roadster" and "Oval Track".
These are the "modified" classes, encompassing vehicles which have been; 1-modified ahead of the cowling; 2- have skirts or spoilers added; 3- have been chopped or channeled. The category includes American and foreign coupes and sedans (and at Bonneville, pickups which have been modified until they no longer fit into the production category). Modified Sport vehicles are included in this category.
The Production, Production Supercharged, and Grand Touring vehicles are listed under the "Production Category". The production category is intended to represent typical transportation vehicles which might be purchased from an automobile dealer. The cars are aerodynamically stock, with stock engines.
The Mid/Mini Pickup and Production Pickup classes are new to Bonneville competition this year (in the past these classes were run only on the Dry Lakes).
The Diesel Truck classes must run commercially available diesel fuel and are becoming more popular each year. The Modified Diesel Trucks and Highway Haulers are generally allowed to run only at the salt flats.
The following information is taken from page 14 of the 2000 Rules and Records book. This is not all of the information relating to the various engine classes. If you are interested in learning more about the various engine designations.
Motorcycle classes are broken down in three groups - engine displacement, frame class and engine class.
Engine displacement is measured in cubic centimeters from 50 cc to more than 3001 cc.
Frame classes are: Production (P) - Modified (M) - Special Construction (A) - Modified Partial Streamlining (MPS) - Special Construction Partial Streamlining (APS) - Sidecar (SC) - Sidecar Streamliner (SCS) and Streamliner (S).
Engine classes are: Production (P) - Production Push Rod (PP) - Production Supercharged (PS) - Modified engine, Gasoline (MG) - Push Rod engine, Gasoline (PG) - Vintage engine, Gasoline (VG) - Unlimited engine, Gasoline (UG), Supercharged engine, Gasoline (BG) - Supercharged Push Rod engine, Gasoline (PBG) - Supercharged Vintage engine, Gasoline (VBG) - Modified engine, Fuel (F) - Push Rod engine, Fuel (PF) - Vintage engine, Fuel (VF) - Unlimited engine, Fuel (UF) - Supercharged engine, Fuel (BF) - Supercharged Pushrod engine, Fuel (PBF) - Supercharged Vintage engine, Fuel (VBF) - Steam, Turbine or Electric (d).
This is the most difficult question of all to answer. Because we are an amateur racing organization there are no cash prizes. All we can really offer record setters is a time slip, a dash plaque and a listing in the rule book.
Probably the main reason people spend their time and money and put up with the discomfort of a dry lakes event - is the accomplishment of something not easily accomplished. There is no greater challenge than setting a land speed record.
There are designated spectator areas at both ends of the pits for spectators, this is far enough away from the track to be safe (remember there are no barriers between you and the cars). There is also a spectators area at the start line. Spectators are expected to be fully self efficent, you will need to bring everything with you. But remember, at Lake Gairdner, we are in a National Park, and we are required to leave the site in a clean and natural condition at the end of a racing event. This includes taking your own rubbish away with you.
To race at Lake Gairdner in the annual DLRA Speed Trials, you must be a member of the DLRA and pay an entrants fee. You don't have to belong to any other club or association. SCTA members wishing to compete at Lake Gairdner enjoy a discounted entry fee.
To race at the Bonneville Salt Flats at a Bonneville Nationals event, you must be a member of BNI. Plus a competitor must belong to an SCTA Member Club. Guest entries are allowed at El Mirage Dry Lakes events, but are limited to vehicles which meet strict safety requirements and which do not exceed 125 mph on the race course.