Salt & Speed By John Wagner

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Salt & Speed By John Wagner
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SALT & SPEED the bonneville salt flats

The Bonnevile Salt Flats is a 30,000 acre expanse of hard, white salt crust on the westernedge of the Great Slat Lake basin of Utah. The flats are about 12 miles long and 5 miles wide with a total area covergae of just over 46 square miles. Near the center of the salt, the crust is almost 5 feet thick with the depth tapering off to less than 1 inch as you get to the edges. Total salt crust volume has been estimated at 147 million tons or 99 million cubic yards of salt - approximately 90% being common table salt. A place so barren, not even the simplest life forms can exist. It's a place where racers from around the world converge, for one week every summer, to compete against the track's clock.

Welcome to Speed Week.

"Salt & Speed" began as a single photo essay assigment to document Speed Week for Men's File Magazine, a European publication with a focus on vintage lifestyle and culture. Because the project brought together two of Wagner's greatest interests, photography and motorcycles, it naturally developed into an extensive body of work shot over several visits to the Salt. With each visit, Wagner captured the sparse yet striking landscape of Bonneville, as well as the unique motorcycle and car culture that has been drawn to the salt flats for one week of racing every summer since the 1930's.

Although there are many race tracks around the world... this is where they go the fastest.

While most of the automotive world concerns itself with a machines cornering ability to perform throughout a course, on the salt you only think in terms of straight line speed. Bonneville, like the Daytona oval confrms the courage, power, and technical superiority of all involved in the annual time trials. Every year in mid-August the Utah Highways Department and the Southern California Timing Association mark out a series of tracks on the salt. A black line marks each track with timing points at mile intervals.

Racers come from all over the world to compete at Speed Week and bring with them an incredible range of machinery. From hot rods, motorbikes, and homemade belly tankers to highly sophisticated streamliners. Drivers come with one goal in mind... to add their names to the list of landspeed record holders.
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