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Go, land speed racer, go: 2015 edition

August 13, 2015
Hattori, sans engine and other things

Hattori is looking a bit naked… (Jaylin Billig photos)

It’s August, and that means the thoughts of many turn to the famous Salt Flats at Bonneville. But not necessarily for the reasons you might think.

The Southern California Timing association was once again forced to cancel the annual Speed Week meet due to unfavorable salt conditions.

2015 salt

A thin layer of crunchy salt covers an unstable dirt base (Photo from the Internet)

To run safely at Bonneville, you need a fairly thick layer of powdery salt on a stable dirt base. Unfortunately, most of what is known as Bonneville International Speedway looks like the picture above. There is much discussion about what’s causing this, but most think potash mining in the area has a lot to do with it.

But competitors in the Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials don’t see the 500+ mph speeds some Speed Week racers achieve, so they don’t need as big a patch of salt. As this is written, BMST organizers say they’re still planning on racing, starting August 29. There is enough good salt to race safely. So far.

One of those comepetitors is Jaylin Billig, who set two records in 2014. Shortly after arriving home in Houston, Tex. she stripped her Honda cafe racer, Hattori Hanzo, down to a bare frame and set about replacing or refinishing just about every component, because THE SALT GETS INTO EVERYTHING.

Hattori is not quite fully together yet. But the engine has been fitted.

Hattori's engine

Jaylin has been working through the various minor and not-so-minor setbacks that can happen when rebuilding a vintage, well, anything from the ground up. Will Hattori be ready in time? Stay tuned. Favicon

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