SCTA El Mirage Season Opener
In California, we’re spoiled by great weather that allows us to race year round in almost every avenue of motor sports except for one. Instead of waiting for the snow to thaw though, land speed racers patiently wait through every winter for the water to evaporate and expose one of their racetracks, the dry lakebed of El Mirage. For the last 60 years, El Mirage has been one of three Southern California Timing Association’s (SCTA) venues for land speed racing and a site in which hundreds of land speed records have been set.
|One of my personal favorites, a “Belly Tanker” is made from the fuel tank of WWII fighter planes like the P-51 Mustang. After the war, many racers were able to pick up surplus tanks for cheap to start their race car projects.|
We made sure to check out SCTA’s first event of 2011 at El Mirage since here at the Moto IQ office we’ve been plotting and scheming the development of our own land speed racing project. What we found was an eclectic mix of machines ranging from belly tankers and vintage motorcycles to modern day sedans and sophisticated streamliners. Nonetheless, each vehicle displayed its own unique go-fast ingenuity. Being fellow gear heads, we’re sure that you will appreciate some of this ingenuity too.
The Suzuki Hayabusa is the primary reason why I haven’t bought a motorcylce… because mine would surely end up like this one and I would surely end up killing myself on it. This particular turbocharged Hayabusa had just made a very impressive 237 MPH pass on El Mirage’s 1.3 mile course. Check out the trick, contoured intercooler placed behind the front wheel.
One of the things that we really like about land speed racing is the unique variety of cars that are raced. This particular 1971 Honda 600 Coupe is now powered by a 2006 750 cc Suzuki engine which produces 127 horsepower. Check out how the builder of this car accomodated the header.
This Ford Model A competes in the fuel gas roadster class and is suprisingly powered by a 1,300 cc turbocharged Suzuki Hayabusa engine. It produces 390 horsepower and has put down a top speed of 170 MPH. After a day of hanging out at El Mirage, you learn pretty quickly to never judge a book by its cover.