Aussie AsSalt Results - Bonneville 1998

By Rod Hadfield

There has not been a lot to report on since our last March Lake Gairdner meeting, but we can make up for now. As most Hot Rodders would know, it is 50 years since the first organised Iand Speed Trials were held at Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, U.S.A.

Over the years, many Australians have attended meetings there but only as spectators. Most Americans are unaware of the fact that Australia has its own equivalent to Bonneville with Lake Gairdner in South Australia. But after their 50th Speed Week held front the 15th-21st August, many of them must be wondering what is happening after an Aussie 40 foot container landed in their pit area, followed by a large group of people in motor homes who suddenly raised a couple foreign flags, unloaded three cars complete with spare parts, benches etc, and a sign announcing that Dry Lake Racers of Australia were there.

But what really caught their attention was when Leigh Fielder took his Pontiac to the short track, qualified immediately for the long track. Then bettered the A/GALT record by approximately 15 mph, was then protested against for a rear spoiler infringement, which was rectified. Then went out and topped tire record by approximately 22mph. This resulted in a night in the impound area, ready for first run the next morning which he completed again well above the record. He then survived a motor pull down for a capacity check, as a result he raised the A/GALT record by a whopping 18 mph average and thus became the first Australian member of the elite 200mph club. A truly magnificent effort for both Leigh, wife Tracy, his crew and George Haddad for his engine work.

John Lynch was another member of the team with his KB powered bellytank. Unlike his last March effort when everything he touched went wrong, he really had his toy sorted, finally recording a 254mph run before having to extinguish a fire in the engine bay which resulted in his retirement. But he was smiling and glad that he had put the effort into the trip.

I was not smiling much at any time throughout the meeting, we just couldn't get lucky with the Studebaker and its new 488 Rodent. Nothing we did seemed to stop the dropping off in fuel pressure resulting in high speed lean out. A new fuel pump, lines, tank and still no luck. A broken gearbox was replaced after one attempt to get a full pass on the short track. I was forced to concede defeat, recording a best of 202mph, far short of the 240mph we had prepared the car for, anyway all in all the trip was a success.

On behalf of Leigh, John and myself, I would like to thank Penrite Oils for supplying merchandise. Mary West for her help in getting the container there and back. All the D.L.R.A members who travelled to Bonneville and helped out, the people who offered moral support, our pit crews and especially our wives.

Look for the Bonneville results on the net, the address is: Leigh Fielder racing under "Aussie AsSalt", John Lynch under "Jet Hot Australia" and myself under "Castlemaine Rod Shop".

Story : Rod Hadfield

Photos : Robert Cranfield