“There’s no one stupid out here but a lot of crazy people”.
Such are the words of Chuck Neas, who has driven from Amarillo, TX to the Bonneville Salt Flats for the last four years for a chance to set a land speed record. The salt flats are a densely packed salt pan located in Tooele County in northwestern Utah. In 2013, Pauline Bellocq and Julien Roubinet published the book Voilà Bonneville, a photo essay of the flats and their fascination with the races and people that converge there every September for the past fifty years. Racing the Bonneville Salt Flats dates back as early as 1914 and this book is both stunningly beautiful and hauntingly surreal, reminiscent of Mad Max or possibly landing on the moon…
Maybe what the locals mean by “catching salt fever”.
“For over 50 years, the World of Speed has been held annually in September on the Bonneville Salt Flats, offering a broad selection of racing vehicles that are only seen there.”
“Coming from New-York, going to Bonneville for the first time can seem quite daring… Sleep amidst the cold smell of past smoking tenants. Wake up at dawn to catch the sun rise. And get breakfast at the Salt Flats Café, the best (and only) café around –”
“It feels like landing on the moon. The immensity of the surrounding desert, white and flat, circled by the rocky and wild ocher mountains, surmounted by the crisp blue sky and the almighty sun”
“Bonneville…is also a true experience, a real adventure: no shade whatsoever, a blazing heat, no sitting space…A straw hat, bottles of water and sunscreen tubes quickly become the must-haves of one’s survival kit…options to stay cool are to follow the wandering ice cream truck or hang out around the shaved ice booth.”