Speed Scotland goes for 275mph14 | 08 | 2011

    SPEED SCOTLAND continues its bid to break the 1000cc World Land Speed Record on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. In his latest report from the baking heat, driver of the Flower of Scotland, Rick Pearson, tells us about the electric gremlin in the car's engine; disappearing over the horizon … and a tear-jerking rendition of the Star Spangled Banner:

    Dateline — Saturday, August 14

    The Flower of Scotland did not want to play at Bonneville today. Initially we had to finish the engine installation and, due to our very limited budget, our engines are built from whatever second-hand Kawasaki blocks we can locate. And as the engines evolved over their lifetime, so are all our engines slightly different involving reasonable amounts of work to switch them over.

    So whilst the team finished up, I headed to the Drivers Briefing with Malcolm, our push truck driver. This is always an emotive occasion with the initial blessing from the Racers For Christ preacher, followed by the thoughts for the American Servicemen abroad.

    That was then followed by an update on the fantastic work done by Save the Salt to preserve the Bonneville Salt Flats despite the ongoing mining operation that is slowly destroying this National Monument and then, of course, a young lady singing a fabulous rendition of the Star Spangled Banner without accompaniment … which leaves barely a dry-eye in the house.

    Post Brief we took the Push Truck down the Long Course to look at the surface of the track and, to be honest, it's not as flat as many would expect.

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    We're not talking smooth like the surface of Silverstone, more like a council-kept High Street with the occasion small dip in it and general corrugations. The crew were a little surprised that I'm intending to take the Flower down here five times faster than we were able to go in the truck without it feeling like it would shake apart.

    Meanwhile, back at the Flower, the new updated turbo was being fitted but when we came to start her up several of the many pumps were not running properly. An electrical gremlin had found itself into the works, probably due to the amount of salt corrosion that had attacked the circuits while the car was in the container on it's way across the Atlantic. So the crew set about cleaning up the contacts and tracing down the fault.

    Eventually located in the oil pump, we'd run out of time on the day to pass tech-inspection by 10 minutes, but some Scottish charm saw us sneak under the "Closed" rope and pass tech as the sun was setting on the salt. Two more issues with the fuelling and then the electrics were solved and the fierce little 4-cylinder fired up in full voice for the first time. She sounds absolutely fabulous as she spins to 11,500rpm!

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    So we'll make our first pass of Speedweek early tomorrow, and aim to get back on schedule with a second pass in the afternoon if all runs well. Target for run one is 230mph, and run two, 275mph. Clearly these are big asks and if I'm not comfortable with the handling we'll be stepping back from those targets until I am.

    Because the salt is so flat, it is one of the few places you can see the curvature of the Earth when you look at the Horizon, but it was pointed out to me today that when I launch the Flower from the front of the push truck, because she's so low to the ground, that if I'm having a good run, she goes out of sight in about 15 secs, because I've basically gone over the Horizon!

    So wish us luck, tomorrow could be a VERY fast day!

    Rick Pearson

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    Caption: Speed Scotland driver Rick Pearson settles into the cockpit of the Flower of Scotland


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