Shawn Driver, right, and Matt Blasco work on the final engine tweaks prior to their trip to the Bonneville Salt Flats. (Tim Collins/Sooke News Mirror)

Wet conditions put the brakes on Sean Driver’s speed record

Sooke car enthusiast heading back to Bonneville in October

It’s been said that “man plans and God laughs.”

It’s a truism that was confirmed in Sooke resident Shawn Driver’s mid-August foray to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah where his dream of pushing his 1953 Studebaker to 300 mph was stymied by bad weather.

“We got down there and they’d experienced rain and the track was really bad,” Driver said.

“They tried to get some tracks in shape, but it just wasn’t happening.”

Speed Week officials tried their best, but a wet spring and a number of small storms passed over the dry lake bed, leaving their mark with standing water in the pits and on various parts of the racecourse.

“They had the long course running, but only to the four-mile mark. You had to exit before the six-mile mark because conditions after that were quite bad,” Driver said.

RELATED: Driver likes going fast

“We tried the four-mile, but even there it was like driving on the beach in three inches of sand. You can’t chase high speeds in those conditions.”

Driver made one run, getting to 158 mph, but then allowed his car to be used by other’s who qualified for the lower speed qualifications.

Some other drivers of the faster cars simply packed up and headed for home, noting that, even after several days of drying, wet salt is not fast salt.

And for drivers like Driver, chasing significant performance goals wouldn’t have made much sense on the surface that was available.

But while Driver was disappointed, he’s far from giving up.

“We’ll be waiting to see what the conditions are before we head out, but if all goes well we’ll be heading down to the BNI World Finals on Oct.1,” Driver said.

“But we might just try to go 250 mph twice and set our record that way this year and push it further next year.”

Driver’s reasonable level of caution is fueled by two crashes that happened at Bonneville recently.

“I don’t know if it was the conditions, or what, but one fellow crashed at 350 mph and had to be airlifted out in critical condition. Another crashed at 285 mph and destroyed his car.”

Driver said he will be without some of his pit crew as they had worked with TV personality and female land speed record holder Jessi Combs. She was killed in August when she crashed in Oregon’s Alvord Desert while trying to set a new record. She was reportedly travelling in excess of 400 mph at the time.

“It can be dangerous, but we’re doing everything we can to make it as safe as possible,” Driver said.



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Garden suites coming soon to Saanich

Work is underway to legalize purpose-built detached garden suite rentals

West Shore RCMP catches driver going 50 kilometres over speed limit

Driver caught on Veterans Memorial Parkway between Sooke and Kelly Roads

Saanich Gulf-Islands’s Elizabeth May coy about leadership plans

The federal Green party leader talks possibility of running as MP without being leader

VicPD officer used siren, emergency lights to get kids to school: OPCC report

Annual misconduct report includes VicPD former chief Frank Elsner and other officers

Scheer says Canada more divided than ever, as NDP and Bloc hold cards close

While Liberals were shut out of two key prairie provinces, they took two-thirds of the seats in Ontario

Horvat’s hat trick lifts Canucks to 5-2 win over Red Wings

First career three-goal game for Vancouver captain

Runners brave wet, windy weather for Ucluelet’s 20th Edge to Edge

“The spirit of the runners I have nothing but compliments.”

Estheticians can’t be forced to wax male genitals, B.C. tribunal rules

Langley transgender woman Jessica Yaniv was ordered to pay three salon owners $2,000 each

Two youth arrested in UBC carjacking at gunpoint, after being spotted in stolen Kia

‘A great deal of credit is due the alert person who called us,’ said North Vancouver Sgt. Peter DeVries

Open house for Royal Beach tonight

The third open house to gather public input on Royal Beach takes… Continue reading

POLL: Are you satisfied with the result of the federal election?

The ballots have now been counted and the dust has settled on… Continue reading

People’s Party of Canada’s anti-immigration views ‘didn’t resonate’ with voters: prof

Party was formed on anti-immigration, climate denying views in 2018

Windstorm knocks out power for 10,000 in north and central B.C.

Power slowly being restored, BC Hydro says

Most Read