the Dune Buggy Archives
DBA Forum - Not logged in
Previous Next Up Topic Public / General Discussion / Bonneville Buggy with 2012 updates (50743 hits)
1 2 Previous Next  
By Brad H 1498 Date 2010-09-13 04:31 Edited 2012-10-28 14:38
Hey all, just wanted to let you know I'm in the US of A Dillon MT to be exact. Had a great, but long drive down. I'm beat, but just wanted to let you know I'm on my way to The Salt. I'll keep you all posted as to how I'm doing. I was informed by Burly Burlisle that I'll be the first glass buggy EVER to run for a time at the speedway. Guess no one has been crazy enough to try it......;-) 14 hours of staring through the windshield has got me a little goofy so I'll sign off for now.

By jim s 1837 Date 2010-09-13 09:37
Well you had a safe trip, Do the same on the way back and have a good run.
Jim S
By Jay H (X-20) (ManxVair CC) Date 2010-09-13 11:08
I'm pretty sure it was Bruce Meyers that said "If we knew at the time we were making history, we would have paid more attention to it" or something very close to that in the movie From Dust To Glory.

You know you'll be making history! Enjoy the experience of a lifetime buddy. Well wishes that you are safe on the salt.

By Allison Daytona Ken Date 2010-09-13 12:21
The FIRST cool you allready broke a record !!!  Keep focused and stay safe, Good Luck and have a Great time !!!!       Ken..........
By Brad H 1498 Date 2010-09-19 03:09 Edited 2010-09-30 00:23
Hey Guys,

Just a quick note to let you know I'm still alive and had an absolute blast at Bonneville. The car ran like a champ, like it was on rails. Only had one little problem but it was quickly resolved and I was back to the start line in no time. Didn't have internet without going to the smoking lounge in the hotel and I was so busy doing stuff I didn't get time to post anywhere. Everyone was so great.

I didn't make the 130 Club but I'm happy with the performance. My best was a 115.563 and I'm glad there wasn't a mike in my helmet, cause I was hollerin' like a banshee.

I'm beat after another 13 hour drive but promise I'll post much more in the next few days and some great pictures.

By Brad H 1498 Date 2010-09-21 00:25 Edited 2012-10-09 14:32
Hey all,

  Let me start off by saying that EVERYONE who is a car nut should go to Bonneville at least once in their life. Burly asked me Friday if I saw anything cool and all I could say was "look around" and laugh. There is SO much cool stuff to see and everyone is so friendly and open (to a point) about what there program is. And, they are just as happy for you running small cars at relatively low speeds as they are for the streamliners running 300+.

The trip down was great, as I said in my first post, we made it to Dillon, MT the first night about 14 hours of windshield time of which I did 12 straight. The road between Great Falls and Butte, MT takes you through some of the most gorgeous mountain scenery there is, and as one who lives on the prairies and misses them it was great We crossed the Continental Divide 3 times with altitudes ranging from 3500ft to 6500ft which really put my 4 banger Colorado through it's paces but the truck and trailer worked flawlessly and I was able to thunder along at 70-75mph no problem. Gord, my buddy and co-pilot learned not to use the cruise control, as I was screaming and swearing at him over the engine that was revving at 5500 rpm trying to maintain speed. We had some road construction to deal with, but only as lane restrictions and 2 way traffic on one side of I-15 which was a bit tense when encountering oncoming semi's and trailers on the tight winding roads. We crashed in Dillon for the night and woke up bright and early to make it to Mendon, UT and Burly's home.

Day 2 was an easy 5 hours (me driving) and more great scenery. We arrived at Burly's around noon and were greeted like old friends. We were introduced to Tom, Gaylen,and Carter who along with Burly have been part of LSR since the 60's and between them have held numerous records in all sorts of classes. We also met Molly and Dave, two of the best people you'll ever meet. Dave has survived 2 bouts with cancer and was officially put on the remission list Friday before we got there. Bonneville has been on his list and when we arrived they all were getting ready to install a motor prepared by Tom into Dave's '57 sunroof. Gord and I pitched in where we could, doing some of the heavy lifting, and letting the others do the rest. We stopped for burgers around 3 and then went back to work.

Me and Gord pulled the motor and box out of the buggy trying to get a head start on Tuesday when we would install a gearbox loaned to us by the McAllister brothers from Blackline racing in Ogden UT, and the rest of the crew finished up getting the motor into Dave's car and fired it around supper time. About this time we were joined by Britt Granis and his Ghia to run both the 36horse and 130mph challenges After a pizza supper we all pitched in and finished of a few small things on the car and Tom wanted to take it for a rip to see how it was set up.

The car is still 6 volt, but the motor is 12 so he had no lights. We decided that a convoy would be best, so with Burly in the lead, Tom in the '57 and me in my truck bringing up the rear headed out on the  road going into Mendon. We went out about 2 miles and then turned around and gave 'er hell. Considering that the motor in the oval is based on a 1200cc 36hp case and now displaces about 1585cc, you can imagine my shock when I had to put my foot to the floor and Tom was pulling away from me in the '57. We ran hard for 1/2 mile or so and then Tom shut it off and pulled over in order to check the plug colour. All was deemed good and we headed back to load up.

Gord and I slept in Burly's rec room which is more of a museum display of all things fast at Bonneville since he's been going there. It was great looking at all the pictures and momentos he's collected over the years. And did I mention he has 2 buggies, a Bounty Hunter and a Sandshark.

We were greeted by Molly at 5:30am (good things she's a great person LOL) and we had a quick breakfast and got busy loading and hooking up. We caravaned it 50 miles to a gas station off I-15 and then headed out to meet the Blackline family at BC Automotive in Ogden. No problems along the way, and we got lots of looks from rush hour traffic with our little convoy of LSR Volkswagens.

We met the McAllister family and were greeted with big smiles and hardy handshakes by all and then we hit the road to Bonneville. More looks, smiles and waves greeted us as our convoy rolled through Salt Lake City and out onto I-80. We stopped for a photo op and stretch at the tip of Great Salt Lake and then thundered on through the hills to our destination. Every mile closer brought more anticipation and when we started seeing exit signs for the flats I was just about jumping for joy. Gord did this part of the ride along with Tom as they are both old Lotus guys and wanted to talk about all things British, but being alone to experience this first outing was great, just me and my thoughts about what was hopefully to come (and Silversun Pickups blasting at 10 on the stereo).

We turned off I-80 onto Salt Flats road and pulled over for a stretch and get some directions from the guys about driving on the salt and what to do and where to do. Dave and I were both almost in tears as we were both realizing our dreams. He had the biggest smile I've ever seen and I told him "All you have to do now man, is drive" It was a great moment to share with him. We loaded up and headed down the road to the front gate past the famous sign (which I didn't even notice) and out onto the salt. WHAT A RUSH, I WAS THERE and I was going to DRIVE at Bonneville. From the gate to the pits is about 2 miles and then another 1 to where we were going to set up. Our pits were up against the tape, facing the track at the 3 mile maker, the end of the short course, and where most of the big cars were under full steam WOW.

We got the pits set up. Dave and Molly's daughter had lent them a big LUCAS OIL pop-up which we could both pit under. I CANNOT THANK THEM ENOUGH FOR THIS, IT WAS A LIFE SAVER. The sun on the salt is unrelenting.

Gord and I got the gearbox from Blackline Racing and went to work getting it in and the car fired. It was almost hard to work as every one kept wanting to help. We got everything bolted in, went over the car to see if anything shook loose on the trip down, loaded up all my safety gear and paperwork and headed off the mile to tech. At this point I was a bundle of nerves, I knew the car was good, and hoped like hell the inspectors thought so too.

At this point Gord decided to go site seeing, with the truck, with my paperwork, but didn't tell me. I had to borrow Britt's Ghia and chase him down (at 5mph) in the pits. I'll skip what I said to Gord. We got back to tech just as the inspector was walking over to the car... The car passed with flying colours and I went and registered and got my goody bag and picked up some t-shirts and a hoody. Back to the pits with thoughts of "S$%T, this is really going to happen" We sorted out some stuff and then left to Wendover to check in and eat.

We were met by my buddy Todd at the front desk, which was a very welcome surprise, because as of Saturday he wasn't ready to leave. We cleaned up and headed out for supper with Burly and his crew and then to bed to TRY and get some sleep.

Wednesday (D-DAY)

Up bright and early to get to the pits for 8am drivers meeting and then a separate one for the 130mph cars at the start line of the 1 mile course. At he end of the meeting we were to take a drive down the course and stop at various points to get info on what everything was. I rode along with Burly, studying the salt, and asking lots of questions. Then we were turned loose to go get our cars and let loose the dogs of war.

Back in the pits I suited up, checked the fuel, went to the biffy for the 19th time that morning and drove over to the start to get in line. Met some more good folks in line everyone was very supportive of each other no matter what you were driving. Lots of thumbs up and good lucks all around.

I'm about 5 cars from the front now, time to get strapped in. I'd been practicing this so I wouldn't look like a complete rookie, as my usual safety gear consists of a helmet, shorts, t-shirt and sneakers. I was loaded up a bit more than that now with helmet, belaclava, neck restraint, fire suit, arm restraints boots and gloves. Gord gives me a hand getting belted in and set up. At this point, I have to go to the biffy again and my heart is at about 140 beats per minute (not exaggerating here). The first marshal, Carlos, comes over checks me out, tells me he's a big VW guy in England where he's from, marks my sticker for the first run, shakes my hand wishes me luck and tells me to watch for starter signals. At this point I REALLY gotta pee, and I'm shaking. The starter Rick points at me and points to the line. Gord turns on the key and the camera (which came up LOW BAT and shut off) and I light the candles.

We were told at the meeting to roll into it and check the car and if it felt good we could go over 100mph, but that was our call, they would like us to stay under and check our speed calibration equipment (tach, GPS etc), but if we were confident we wouldn't go over the 139.999mph limit and the car felt good to go for it.

I'm at the line staring off into the great white, making note of the markers thinking about shifting, worrying about what the car will feel like. Trying to absorb what is about to happen. Rick bends down, check the belts, shakes my hand, gives me the thumbs up, motions to put down my visor, points down track and tells me the course is mine....... OH MY GOD is All I can think.

I wind it up to 2500rpm side step the clutch and I'm on my way down the track at Bonneville, the first buggy to ever go for a timed run. I rev to 6500, the car is flat, pulling hard, shift into second, car is good, rev to 6500 again. shift into 3rd the motor is pulling like a champ, pass the 2/10 marker, still accelerating hard, watching the GPS, 84mph, 1/2 mile marker roaring into view, car feels great, I decide to go for it, I plant my foot to the floor, 1/2 mile, 100 something on the GPS can't quite see with the glare, shift into fourth just pass the half and plant the throttle, grab the wheel and hold on. I'm just concentrating on what the car is doing at this point, look at the lights, glance at the gauges, study the tach and try to see the number on the screen of the GPS. The car is on rails, the front end is planted, we're flying. The mile marker comes rushing past, I clutch, put the box in neutral and coast the 8/10 of a mile to the turn off. At this point I'm screaming and I'm not ashamed to say I had a tear in my eye. The last 2 years of HARD work day in and day out had finally payed off and I had RUN at Bonneville. I turn the corner, shift into 4th and start the drive back to the timing post.

I almost passed the car ahead of me, I was so pumped up. The timer comes out asks me how I did and I told him I had an idea, but wasn't sure how accurate the GPS was, he gave me the ticket, smiled, shook my hand and congratulated me, 115.56348mph in the standing mile. I drove past the start line  and all the VW people were giving me thumbs up waving frantically and cheering. My one regret is that I kept going back to the pits instead of stopping and sharing that moment with them. I had my arms up clapping and waving back, and then we were off to the pits to check out the car.

My second run netted me another 115mph pass and I was really giving her hell. It was after this run I knew that a 130 just wasn't to be. Was I disappointed? No, not in the least. This is a street engined buggy, not an  all out race car. I saw some wicked "street" machines that weren't able to do it and only running 10mph faster than me. That was the end of my runs for the first day, by this time it was HOT with a capital HOT and I knew the motor wouldn't like it.

Thursday (D+1)

Quick drive through at Mickey d's and out to the track for 8am, suit up and drive to the line. Maybe a 120 is possible. 4th from front, strap in. turn on the charged up Go-Pro and roll up. Handshakes and thumbs up from everyone and we're away.

A bit more aggressive on the launch 4500rpm, car wiggles a bit, shakes hard and settles down. 7200, shift, 7200 again, shift, 3rd gear gained 5mph at the half 109.955, decide to try and run it out in 3rd as it seemed to lay down in 4th at 4500 and wouldn't pull, 6300 rpm, 200 yards from the mile marker, hear a pop and lose a cylinder, clutch, neutral,  kill the ignition and coast through the markers at a 113.6 DAMN. just keep coasting out the back and then fire it when I'm down below 30mph. It's definitely a 3 banger, but no noises other than a pop out the intake, can't turn around to see if it's smoking, but on the way past the marshal station they don't seem too concerned so shut it off and coast to a stop... nothing's hanging out anywhere, no oil so it can't be that bad.

Gord comes and tows me to the pits. No one says a word as I take a look at the car. Pull the 1/2 valve cover, all is well, pull 3/4 cover and #4 exhaust rocker falls onto the tarp with the shaft and clip. Everyone is quiet, I go to the tool box open up my spare parts box and pull out my old rocker arms and shaft and smile. Everyone cheers and I check out the rest of the head, clean out some bits and put the 20 year old, genuine VW 1.25 rockers and shaft that I've beat on relentlessly in my old motor into this motor, set the valves and fire it up. It sounds great. A quick check of the car, go get some more fuel from the gas station up the road, fuel up and head back to the start line before it gets too hot and try and get my runs in.

The next 2 runs were carbon copies, 7200rpm shifts, pulling like mad, but then laying down on the 4th gear shift, too much of a drop in rpms and the motor fought for every extra rev it could get from 5200. Just couldn't over come the aerodynamic drag of the buggy body with a street tuned motor. And honestly, I don't think a close ratio 4th would have helped that much. Possibly could have gotten a 120mph pass, but I don't know. After my 5th and last run I cruised back to the pits, stopping half way for some pictures and trying to absorb everything that had just happened in the last 2 days. We got back to the pits and the shade of the tent. I was so happy I just sat in the car in my pit with the visor down and took it all in. My dream of driving at Bonneville had come true.

So we're done, Thursday 12pm nothing to do but become a tourist and check things out, see if anyone in the camp needs a hand and take in the event. LIFE IS GREAT.

To be continued.......


By Allison Daytona Ken Date 2010-09-21 01:36
AWSOME Brad !!!           Ken..................
By Kellison Jim Date 2010-09-21 02:49
Soooo Cool!!! Way to go Brad!!!!
Kellison Jim
By Jeff GS Date 2010-09-21 23:16
Fantastic Brad!  Your write up was so "visual" I felt like I was right there watching you!
Congrats on making several successful passes on the salt.  I'm sure it was worth all the time and effort you put into it.

By Brad H 1498 Date 2010-09-22 01:36 Edited 2010-10-09 01:39
Thursday 4pm

Go visit the Blackline crew and see how things are. They had already broken the records they were hoping to and were trying to get the car into the covetted "1 Club" reserved for cars and drivers that go over 100mph with a 36hp based VW motor. They tell me they want to try their 3.44 box and drive it as a 3 speed so they are pulling their motor. I ask " I guess I should give it back to you huh?" They seem quiet for a minute and then it hits them that that's the box they lent me. "Uh ya, if that's OK" So I run over and start getting ready to pull the box out. We're supposed to be at the VW photo shoot at 5pm so the crunch is on. Gord's back at the hotel with sunstroke but Carter and his friend Dave come to the rescue and pitch in. Wrenches and sockets fly as we try to get it out ASAP. Good thing I thought about maintenance when I built the car as we had the motor and box out, CV joints taped up and the car sitting on it's wheels ready to be towed at 5pm.

We drag the car over to the shoot and line 'em up. The largest gathering of LRS VW's ever. Burly gives us a short speech and then we start shooting pictures, cars alone, car and driver, and finally car and crews. Then Burly wants to shoot each car and driver individually down the line. I don't know if you've ever experienced 90+* on a gleaming white surface, but keeping your eyes open is a real feat LOL. We all get in our rides and go back to the pits. I finish up putting the few parts I had swapped on the gearboxes back on the Blackline gearbox and deliver it to them with much thanks and appreciation of them letting me use it.

I go back and start putting mine back together thinking I'll just get a bit of a start for tomorrow as I want to cruise around a bit and take some pictures of the car in street trim. I couldn't stop. Every time I thought I was done someone else would come along and help out putting on a few nuts and bolts here and there and getting things lined up. By the end of the night (6:30) the motor was in and I just had to finish putting on the rear cage and exhaust.

Back to the hotel, take a long shower and then off to the buffet for prime rib and shrimp. Eat way to much and head back to the room for some much needed sleep.

Friday (tourist day)

Everyone says you have to experience sunrise on The Salt. It's true. It's silent, a bit of a chill in the air (if you're from California, I was in shorts and t-shirt) and there's just enough light to see where your going. Then there's a golden glow in the sky, it's beautiful. I take some pictures and get in the truck to the sound of the first engines being fired for the days competition. MAGIC. I drive to the pits and finish putting the car back together. Lights, mirror, rear cage and finally the rear tires. I also take out the water tank and switch panel so Gord can throw in his sleeping bag to sit on, and we can cruise around together. Fire it up and make sure it shifts OK and hit the salt. I go out and take a bunch of pictures of the car against the mountains, a guy in a Boxter stops and offers to take some pictures of me and the car and I return the favor. I cruise over to the tape and watch some streamliners and bikes head out on their attempt to back up records as anyone who has posted a fast time gets first shot at the track in the cool air to back up their time from the previous day, again it's a magic time of the day.

It's getting near 11am and I decide to go back into Wendover to see the airfield where the B-29 crews trained for the Manhattan project. It's cool, the hanger for the Enola Gay is still there as are most of the barracks and out building. Most are run down, but they are trying to preserve them. I shoot a bunch of pictures and then go for a coffee and dessert (it's holidays) at the Nugget. A 3 pound piece of cheese cake shows up at the table and I try, but can't finish it. Back out to The Salt I go.

I get back to the pits and Gord is looking for me for a change. We load up and cruise out the the start lines and look at some cars, talk to some crews and drivers and take in what we'd missed the previous 2 days. we hang out for a while and then head back to the VW camp to say farewell to some of Todd's friends that had made the trip down from Edmonton to cheer us on and help us out in the pits. They load up and take off. Then we strip some parts off of Todd's 36 horse, a tail pipe for a 3.0L twin engined VW streamliner to graft on a coolant hose and Dave's stock 36 horse has blown it's fuel pump while Dave's daughter is trying to run it in the 36 horse challenge. It's getting late in the afternoon and as much as I don't want to we start to pack up out pit and get the car ready to load. We pull up stakes fold up the tarp around my front runners and pack up the tool chests. With much regret I back up to the trailer and hook it up and then load up the buggy, signaling the end to the adventure that seemed so long in the making and went by so very quickly. We decide to leave the trailer, tools and spares in the pits for the night as they have VERY tight security and everything would be safer here than in town at the casino. We head back into town to clean up, grab some food for the BBQ at the Blackline camp, and some fuel for the truck.

The BBQ was a great wind down to the whole event. It was a nice cool evening and there was a big fire going (the engine case made it even bigger), a hot grill and lots of food. We met a few people I had only met over the internet and had some good talks with new friends. Then it was time to leave and we all had a tough time saying good bye. What an awesome experience, one I'll never forget.


Morning 7:30am. we check out of the hotel and head out to The Salt. We go get the trailer and see the Blackline crew heading out to the start line to try and get the rest of the family in the "1" Club. We load up the truck and trailer and head out on the long road home. Just outside SLC we catch up with Todd in the single cab and decide to go to Denny's for breakfast. He's having trouble with his clutch so we make a stop at BC Automotive in Ogden for a clutch disk and alignment tool for Todd in case he needs it (he didn't), pick up a couple of catalogues, some parts and meet some local VW guys at the monthly swap meet. Todd's busy talking and me and Gord  head out for the big drive hoping to make it to Great Falls before dark.

The trip home was just that, a long drive home, full of thoughts and memories of what had just happened over the last 4 days. Again the truck and tailer performed flawlessly and we breezed through customs again. I'll just leave it at that, except to say I was glad to get home and spend some time with my Ange and pup Baxter, who I had hardly seen for the last 7 months.

Thanks for reading.



By HotTub Date 2010-09-22 01:39
Hell...I almost teared up (don't tell).  Brad, that sounds like an awesome experience and couldn't be happier for you.  The pictures are excellent...the first pic IS FUCKING AWESOME! Proud of you!
Just cool...
By Brad H 1498 Date 2010-09-22 01:58
The crew,

Gord,, Tom B, Carter,Some Goofy Canadian Guy(me), Burly,Dave, Gaylen

Molly, Dave, and their Grandson Nitro

By Allison Daytona Ken Date 2010-09-22 12:18
So COOL !!! After reading your story it brought back my memories of Riverside Caifornia and working hand in hand with Richard Childress and the crew so Jim Fitzgerald would make the cup race, It is a awsome feeling to take in those experiences of a life time, I am so happy for you my Man, Here is a big HIP, HIP, HORRAY!!!! Your trip was amazing and touched my heart, so even though we have never meet in person, HERE IS A BIG OLD HUG AND PAT ON THE BACK, CHEERS my friend !!!!!           Ken.............
By Jay H (X-20) (ManxVair CC) Date 2010-09-25 01:02
Its been a few weeks since I could get on the DBA and spend a little time. I'm so glad you had this story written when I finally did have some time. I just got done reading everything! I really want to thank you for verbally taking us all along for the ride. You were explaining your heart racing. At the start and I swear my heart was racing just from the excitement! Great story.  Congrats on making history.

A few questions I have. Were you running a windshield? I would assume not. Did you have a tonneau cover to keep the air from buffeting in the cockpit?

Love the pictures! When can we see the gopro in action? I wanna ride along with you on your blast!

Glad it was a safe trip. Awesome story about the spare rocker and stud! That's worth a mollion dollars right there.

By Brad H 1498 Date 2010-09-26 16:14
Thanks all for your comments. I'm a pretty quiet guy to talk to and can put my thoughts down better on paper than by speaking so I wrote my story here and posted links to it from a bunch of other websites that I frequent.

No, no windshield or aerodynamic devises of any sort. I decided to run my buggy the way I would normally drive it with the exception of dropped spindles, no headlights and no passenger seat. I had plans drawn up for a tonneau and front air dam, but decided against them. Maybe next time! I'm still figuring out how to get the Go-Pro to load into my computer. I think either the computer is to old or I am, but I hope to get one of my tech geek friends to give me a hand and load it. As soon as I do I'll let you all know. I watched it on TV and unfortunately the camera got pushed back against the roll bar and the video is quite shaky, but you can still see what's going on.

I should add that in the picture of me in the pits, I'm holding my new broken SCAT rocker shaft with less than 50 miles on them and the group of kids around the car and me, was a school field trip from Wendover. I was 5 cars from the front and just about to drop into the car when the teacher asked me if I could talk to the kids about my car. I had my earplugs jambed in so far I could hardly get them out, but I gave them a little speech about where I was from and about the car. The cool thing about the start line at B-ville is that you can stand right next to the cars when they leave. The whole class was gathered 'round the car until I fired it up and then they backed up a bit but were still pretty close. Gord motioned to them to plug their ears, just as I got the sign to go. Gord said the look on the kids faces was priceless as I sidestepped the clutch at 4500. All he heard was OOOOOOWWW, AWSOME. The kids were all cheering when I came back down the return road. It was kinda cool.

By Jay H (X-20) (ManxVair CC) Date 2010-10-01 23:38
Brad, you've got memories for life! I can only imagine the impact a day at B-ville had on those kids. Great story! Its still putting a smile on my face.

By Brad H 1498 Date 2010-10-04 02:19 Edited 2010-10-05 00:26
I realize now that although I did mention a lot of people, I never formally thanked anyone for their help and support.

First off I have to thank Ange, my best friend and partner, who supported me from the day I told her about this adventure I wanted to go on. She never really complained about me being gone so much, spending just about every free moment I had working on the trailer or car, and helping where she could. She also gave me most of my safety equipment for my birthday and Christmas presents. THANKS SWEETIE.

Next I have Burly Burlisle to thank. Not only for getting me in touch with Dan Wright at the USFRA to get clearance for my car to participate, but for encouraging me along the way, giving us a place to sleep and eat on the way down, answering a hundred questions and above all inspiring me 20 years ago with his articles in Hot VW's about VW land speed racing. From the bottom of my heart Burly THANK YOU.

My friend and fellow competitor Todd Penn who did my engine machining, has taught me pretty much all I know about VW's, has been a friend for years and kept me going when things got a little tense. Glad we could make the journey together. Thanks for all your time and patience over the years.

Chris Tarasoff, my tranny guy and friend who never quit trying, and gave up much free time to build my gearbox, and go though it again and again. I really wish I could have made a run with your box Chris, we'll get it figured out for next time. Thanks for all your effort, I really appreciate it.

My buddy Al Abrahams from SiteFinder GPS, who bought my trusty old 1776 and basically bankrolled the trip. Thanks for the support and encouragement

Colton and Justin McAlillister of Blackline racing. Two of the nicest and hard working young men it has been my pleasure to meet. THANKS so much for loaning me a great (and very expensive) gearbox. Without you two I would have been pretty much dead in the water. I wish you both continued successes in your LSR endevours.

Carter, Gaylen, Tom, Dave for all your help both in the pits and insight about what to expect, what to do and where to go. It was a privelage to meet the 4 of you, thanks for everything.

Last, but not least, my friend, road trip partner, and the guy who kept me on my toes, Gord Leach. Thanks for driving, helping me get belted in, keeping me calm when things were going a million miles an hour and working your buns off on the cars even though they weren't British. Thanks Buddy for coming along, it was great to have you along for the ride.

And to all my family and friends either at home or on the web. Thanks for your support and encouragement that helped make my dream come true.


Brad Humenny
By Brad H 1498 Date 2010-10-15 00:42 Edited 2010-10-15 00:45
Bradley, thanks for the Kudo's. To Me it was a trip of a lifetime, I hope You return the favour and come crew for Me at the Canadian G.P next June.

We can run the F1 support race in Formula Ford Grid...........You iN?

Ooooohhh BTW, because of You I'm building a purpose car for next year,,,,,,,,,,,B@$tard.

Let's SHRED some Salt Baby :-)


Hey, just noticed I'm signed in as Brad (non computer geek that left an automatic sign in thingy) on My laptop
By Brad H 1498 Date 2010-10-15 14:25 Edited 2010-10-25 13:09
Gotta get that one past the wife LOL. Anyways I was finally able to post a video on U-tube. We broke down and got hi speed at home. here's the link. I'll post the others this weekend.

Have added my fourth run, can figure out how to load them into my computer so have to go direct from camera which takes about 4 hours to download

ENJOY. I did.

By Brad H 1498 Date 2010-10-25 13:11
Looking through some pictures this weekend, Thought I's share some more. Yes that is a motor home running, worlds fasted Winnebago 130+mph and in front of it the smallest competitor

By John D 2567 Date 2011-01-15 18:31
Good going Brad.  I also have a dune buggy prepared for B'ville and would have been there except could not get roll cage done in time.
What is your estimated horsepower?  My street buggy has 120 hp and is probably waay short for 130 mph.
I do have some "aero" - tonneau cover, side pods (which may not be of some help) and belly pan from nose of body to the front of the pan.  Still working on belly pan from rear of pan back to back of car.
All I need is more HP.
Will try to get to B'ville in Sep.   My Son and I were there in '09 and he ran 131+ in his Dodge SRT10  pickup
(viper V-10 motor, 505 hp) So I am going to the opposite end of the spectrum!
Hope to see you there.
By Brad H 1498 Date 2011-01-15 20:32
My engine makes around 150hp. I figure I'd need another 100+ to get to 130 Even though my engine was in it's powerband, the last half mile only saw 5mph gains in 4th gear. Running at 7200rpm in 3rd netted no better speeds which leads me to believe hp met wind resistance and that's all that much hp would push that shape of car to.

If you want PM me and I'll give you some names of people to contact. One is Burly Burlile, who organizes all things VW on The Salt, he'll get you in the VW loop, they all pit together and help each other and it was a much better time because of that. Another is Dan (Reid??) from the USFRA.  He is head of tech, a great guy to work with and you can get tech and safety requirements for a open car to run. You'll need arm restraints, and helmet support and an SA helmet this year. They were very picky about roll cage mounting in my car, mine is welded right to the chassis so passed with flying colours.

The aero mods you are doing will definitely help. You might want to run the tonneau by Dan as well. Love to see pictures of the work you're doing.

I won't be going this year, but planning for 2012 with a Pro-Street Beetle, unless you break my record and then I'll be back with the buggy and my big Beetle motor (190-200hp). LOL


By John S 2 Date 2011-03-28 02:22
Nice photo in HotVWs Magazine !
Man I have been out of touch.
Just saw it and said hey thats Brad's buggy!

duh.... Where have I been!
John Shepard the DBA
By Brad H 1498 Date 2011-03-28 16:19
Thanks!!!. My buddy Todd took the pic with my camera so I even got a photo credit. LOL the article brought back a lot of great memories. We're planning on going back in 2012, perhaps with an aero improved version of the buggy and my big motor or a Bug if it gets done by then. I love the open air feeling though, the wind rushing at you it's a totally visceral experience.

Hopefully you've been out of touch becasue you're working on your buggy ;-) LOL

By Brad H 1498 Date 2012-03-04 08:00
Well, it's all set and I'm headed back to Bonneville this year for another crack at joining the 130MPH Club.

I just made a deal to sell my current buggy engine and have all the parts for the new one sitting in boxes at the shop. I won't be taking a lot of pictures or giving a lot of info on the motor until just before or soon after the event, but I will say it is more potent than the one in there now. There is supposed to be 3 buggies showing up this year so I'm looking forward to some competition.

We'll also be making some improvements to the car aerodynamically both on top and underneath. The car handled great at 115mph and I want to be sure it keeps going straight and firmly planted to the ground when going (hopefully) another 15-20mph faster.

I'm about to start hte assembly of the 2332 for the Beetle so will continue my engine building thread soon.....

By Allison Daytona Ken Date 2012-03-04 14:54
" You can Do It "  Good Luck, and safe travels my friend ! We going to start talking aerodynamic's again, gonna have to get you one of those bicycle helments made in DOT approved !!!

                                                                                           Allison Daytona Ken ....................
By Brad H 1498 Date 2012-05-06 14:24
Just over 4 months to go, time is going to fly. I'm going to pull the motor out of the buggy today so I can strip the tins and anciliaries off of it and get it ready to put in in the next couple of weeks. And heres some pics of the new mill. Thought I'd share them with you guys first.


By Stickerdick Date 2012-06-14 01:24
Brad, have anything new you can updateus on? I am really interested in your attempt this year, have enjoyed all of the photos and I have to admit you have inspired me to build my own LSR buggy for 2013 attempt.
By Brad H 1498 Date 2012-06-14 05:38 Edited 2012-07-01 02:08
The new motor is just about ready to go in. We've started making the templates to do some aerodynamic improvements and I have the seat positioned and templates made for the mounts. I'm going to drop the rear end down a spline. A few small changes to GPS and tach mounting

By Stickerdick Date 2012-06-14 23:45
Great! I used a GPS also, it worked good for guesstimating speed, the timers still seemed to be more accurate. Like your idea about dropping the rear some more and I think your on the money about adding some more areodynamic panels to clean up the body. Can't wait to see the pics.
By Brad H 1498 Date 2012-06-15 00:14
My Garmin was bang on at 115mph when I ran a 115.5. I'm HOPING that I will really need it this time to gauge my speed at the big end. In 2010 after my first 2 runs I left the GPS in the truck as I knew I wouldn't be in danger of running over 139. Hopefully some pictures of the body work next week. this weekend I'm breaking up a concrete driveway. Been a few years since I've been on the end of a jackhammer.......


Attachment: 2332.2.bmp (900.1k)
By Stickerdick Date 2012-06-15 03:35
OOOH, Pretty and Shiney and it looks like it will be fast. Hope mine will look that good, but I don't think it will be in my budget for this year to build a big bad motor, that will have to wait till later in the first part of 2013. Good luck with the hammer! I sent you and Burly a email thanking you for getting in touch with me and for the advice and I have also enclosed a question about whether or not I can use a hoop rollbar with a 4 pt. mounting? Just trying to finalize chassis design and the type of rollbars will play into my design.
By Brad H 1498 Date 2012-09-08 03:44
Hey guys. I'm at the flats and through tech with only a couple of small issues. A very minor fuel leak at the electric pump and my belts expired in June :-(  but the kindly inspector gave me a pass and I'm full of 110 octane and ready to blast. Took the car out for a very short 2 gear run and it really likes the race gas and pulled to 55mph in second effortlessly (and almost instantly) then the marshalls came to talk to me, seems the speed limits have changed since I was here in 2010 (now 25mph), but he was cool about it and welcomed me to the event.

There is qite a bit of water at the entrance to the salt, but, the pits and race tracks are dry for the most part. The salt is much different than it was back in 2010, it is very grainy and big flakes of it are on the surface. Will see what this does for traction. I may go back to my speed rated street tires if wheel spin becomes an issue.

Lots of VWs here, 40 are expected including a 300mph streamliner. There is one other buggy, from Iowa, not sure if the other one will be showing or not. This year should see a lot of big speeds posted from the ACVW camp. It's going to be a lot of fun..........TBC

By Daytona Ken Date 2012-09-08 04:24
DAMN you just got there and allready SPEEDING , I hope you took BAIL money with you, Ha, Ha, Ha, as we would say down here South of the Mason Dixon line, GET R DONE buddy !!!!!!
By Brad H 1498 Date 2012-09-11 00:01 Edited 2012-10-28 14:25
Bonneville 2012

Well boys, no 130 again, but I'm still VERY happy with the performance of my car. It ran arrow straight and I one handed it the entire way down the track, no issues at all. I had to change a transmission again this year, but have now purchased a good rebuilt unit that I'll be able to use for years. At least the motor stayed together this time.

Yesterday I ran a 106 on my fiirst run after slowing from 114 at the 3/4 mile mark as we have to do a calibration run of "under" 100mph. 3rd gear let go on the return road and by the time I got back to the pits I didn't have 2nd either and it was making a lot of noise,...... grindy, things coming apart noise. I had arranged for a spare tranny to be here from fellow race Britt Granis as I thought a 3.88 R/P would be better than my good 4.12 box that I autocross and daily drive with. So we spent a couple of hours swapping out the box and starter that I had purchased from a fellow in Salt Lake City and was brought by the guys from Blackline racing. My old starter went to Dick Beith who's starter packed it in, so he could run his silver, highly modified, supercharged 40HP Beetle . By the time we got out to the start line it was 31*C and we waited for almost 3 hours to go. The car idled for a long time and was probably too hot by the time we got off the line on a run. I ran the mile at 111, so was pretty disappointed that I didn't at least match my performance in 2010

As last time, my heart was pounding before every run and I was just fighting to keep calm. It was actually worse this time because I expected a lot more from the car and the guy that prepared it (me, LOL) But by the time the visor went down I had slowed down enough that I was able to keep track of the gauges and lights, unlike last time where I was concentrating so much on what the car was doing. The new engine pulls strong and I was accelerating all the way down the course, unlike 2010, where the engine layed over in 4th gear and I only gained a few mile an hour over the last 1/4 mile. There was some confusion that was never cleared up about where the timing trap was so I kept going past the mile marker until I saw the next mark, probbably 1/4 mile from the one. MY GPS put this final speed at 124mph, not bad for a brick.

We got out to the track bright an early this morning and were close to the front and ran in the cool moring air. My first run was a 119mph, a new record, I was ecstatic. I got back in line right away and we started taping all the gaps in the body and over the belt bar on the passenger side. Back in line, waiting to go. Today I only fired the motor for a couple minutes on the tow over from the pits to get everything going and make sure it would start. I left the AFR on all night Friday and killed the battery DEAD so had to get a boost Saturday morning to get it fired. We couldn't even pull start it the battery was too dead to fire the ignition.

My 4th run. The starter gives me the thumbs up and I pull away, easy off the line to keep the tire spin down and once I'm rolling I pin the pedal to the floor and start shifting gears at the 7000rpm redline. I hit the 1/2 mile at 111 and it's pulling like a train, I can see the next marker coming up and I shift into 3rd, then the 3/4 mile marker flashes by at 116, the mile marker is coming really fast and I'm watching the GPS trying to will it to show a higher speed. The mile goes by and the the 1/4 marker past that and I clutch and pull it out of gear and coast 1/2 mile to the timing station on the return road. It felt like a really good pass but because I'm unsure of where the trap is I don't know my speed. The timer comes out and gives me my ticket and it's a new record. 121.253mph in the standing mile at Bonneville. To put it in perspective I was only 1 mile an hour slower than the 77 Porsche Carrera RS that was running. Again, not bad for a fiberglass brick.

My last 2 runs we both 119.9 mph runs but the air was getting hot and jet changes didn't seem to help. Personally I think I would need in excess of 300hp and the traction to hold it to make this car hit 130 at Bonneville. This trip really proved how tough this challenge is.

The traction this year wasn't great, it had rained a lot last week and rained today ending the racing early so the salt was VERY sticky and slippery on top. As I said before. There is no air up here to feed a naturally asperated engine. Back home I had it pulling hard till I shifted at 7500rpm, here it flatlined at 7000 like someone flipped a switch and said "that's enough".

AS far as the body goes.  Yes I could put a big fairing on the front, sides and rear and make it a lot cleaner for the air to go around. But, I don't want to lose the identity of the car under a bunch of plastic and aluminum. I want it to look like a buggy, not an exercise in aerodynamics. I had some problems this year with my helmet wobbling above 100mph. I'm not sure if this is a result of the extra bodywork on the car or becasue the helmet is not that aerodynamic. I honestly though my neck was going to break on one run (3rd I thihnk), and I had to reach up and grab my helmet at about 115mph because I couldn't focus on anything my head was shaking so violently. I don't know if you've ever stuck your hand out of a car window at that speed, but my hand hit my helmet with a MIGHTY thump. My Icon helmet I ran in 2010 is a bike helmet and meant to be in the open air at speed. MY Racequip is a closed car helmet, doesn't do well in the open air of a buggy.

I'll write more later and post a bunch of pictures. Hopefully the salt dried out a bunch tonight and we can watch some of the fast cars run.

By Brad H 1498 Date 2012-09-14 19:57
Here's a couple of shots my friend John took. I'm going to see if I can edidt some video down before posting to youtube.


By Brad H 1498 Date 2012-09-23 03:42
A couple of more shots from John.

By Daytona Ken Date 2012-09-23 13:38
By Brad H 1498 Date 2012-10-06 01:47 Edited 2012-10-28 14:36
I made refference before to tire spin.

I've done some calculations this past week and compared calculated speed, that is tach rpm/gear ratio/tire size to my measured speed. My tach was reading just over 6100rpm when I crossed over the mile marker. At this rpm my car should have been moving at a little over 135mph. However, the tires seem to have been spinning at about a 10-12% dropping my speed to around 120-121. It's kind of scarey to think that the back wheels were going about 15mph faster than the car!!!!! It never gave the slightest indication of wanting to wander or swap ends.

Something we have been discussing in our circle is whether the spin is the reult of lack of mechanical grip (traction) due to surface conditions or if the body shape simply can't be pushed any faster and the tires are breaking free. It was a very bad year for the salt and most every one was struggling trying to get grip. the turbo cars were suffering the most do the the sudden increase in hp at boost and gear changes were a real challenge for them. in 2010 the salt was very hard and you could leave blackies at the start line and a fine dusting of salt kicked up behind the cars. This year there was roostertails at the start and a solid spray off the backs of the cars and the tires grew heavy with salt if they had any tread on them like my fronts did. I packed more salt into the car on my first run than I did last time on all 5 runs plus about 50 miles of cruising the salt on the last day.

Tom Bruch, long time racer and multiple record holder said this was a horrible years for traction. He figures we were all pushing 1 inch waves of salt in front of each tire becasue the ground was so soft. That coupled with the loose slippery salt on top slowed everyone down considerably.

It was also one of the worst years he's seen for salt damage. Both my carbs seized up because of salt water gettting into them and I have traces of salt running down the intake runners. I will be pulling the engine apart to check for corrosion before too long. In the mean time I'm pouring some oil down the holes. I was talking with Burly and he said Tom also found salt water INSIDE the engine. Better drain the oil too....

The discussions on track conditions and lack of grip have planted the seed that I might take the buggy back one more time if the salt is good. But, I also have my '57 waiting in the wings almost ready to give it a shot.............


By Nick R 2948 Date 2012-10-08 13:33
Wow!  too cool!
By Brad H 1498 Date 2012-10-26 14:20
Check out Decembers issue of HVW. In the FYI section all us Bonneville racers are mentioned and the HVWs records section has been updated to include most of the classes now racing for top speeds. there's even a picture of your truly next to the list of records ;-) along with my friend Britt's Ghia and the silver Mexican Beetle featured earlier this year.

By Daytona Ken Date 2012-10-27 02:15
By Brian B 1822 Date 2012-10-28 18:16
Congrats. How about bringing it down to Texas for the Texas Mile? You wont have traction trouble there!
Brian Boggs,Katy Texas
ThunderBug, Surfer GT, 49 Dodge
By dustymojave Date 2012-10-28 20:09
Brad, Congrats on what you've accomplished on the salt.

I live where I can look out my kitchen window and see El Mirage where SCTA runs most of the year except when they take a month off to change their guise to BNI and do Bonneville. I have a clear memory of being on the El Mirage lake bed when I was 2 years old in 1958 where dad was helping his close buddy Tom Beatty with his belly tank. I've been around that racing all my life. I'm offended that BLM now demands $20 to get in to the lake and surrounding area.

In 1980, I took my HiJumper offroad race buggy to El Mirage for testing in the surrounding desert. I parked at the west edge of the lakebed and unloaded.  SCTA soon started setting up for their starting line very nearby. There was a lakes racer who pulled in and set up his pit next to us. It was a guy with a lime green Ghia. I can't for the life of me remember his name right now, although he raced the Ghia for many years and may still race it these days. Last time I saw the car it still had the same paint with a list of records all over the car. He was there by himself that day.

While we were testing my buggy, we lost the left front lug bolts (studs hadn't been installed yet) and limped the car back to our pit. The guy with the Ghia had some spare lug bolts in his tool box, along with the ones I had in my truck, we were back to full strength.

Then he put the Ghia into the line. So to return his favor, we helped him push the car through the line and get ready to do his run. Right in front of the Ghia in line there was a '62 Corvette with a lightweight body and modified suspension with an aluminum Big Block Chevy with Hilborn injector stacks sticking out of the hood. They were running a fuel class. The Corvette crew spent the whole time in the line making fun of the VW and how the clocks were going to have a tough time keeping track of such a slow car.

The owner of the Ghia kept quiet and smiling not returning the comments. When it came time for the Vette, one guy got into the push truck and they went through a deal squirting fuel into each of the injector stacks. The driver signed he was ready and they gave a final squirt into the stacks and the push truck started out. The Vette lit off and headed down the track. The Ghia driver reached into his pocket and pulled out his keys as the Vette crew were waiting for the push truck to return and pick them up. They pointed at the Ghia driver with his keys and laughed. So the driver of the Ghia got in and buckled his belts and fired the engine. The dual 48 Webers gave it a nice bark. The Vette crew had a great hoot about a "race car" which had ignition keys. "Real race cars don't have keys." was a memorable comment. "Or license plates!" was an add-on.

The crew stood there and listened to the PA for the time for the Vette. It was mph. They cheered and slapped each other on the backs as the starter gave the go-ahead to the guy in the Ghia. He took off with a little bit of wheel spin and the Vette crew got a little quieter. When the PA announced the time for the Ghia, the Vette crew suddenly hushed, looked dejected and walked silently away. The little car with ignition keys they had made so much fun of for an hour and a half had turned a 153 and change.

When the Ghia returned to his pit we were telling him of the Vette crew and their response. He smiled and said he figured they would be like that. He said he could have driven the car up to El Mirage from LA, but just in case he broke something, and because it was a pain to put the lakes tires inside the car, he brought it on a trailer behind his station wagon. It was lowered in the front, had stock VW wheels, a 2180 on gas, stock passenger seat and fiberglass driver seat. It had a roll bar, but not a cage. The body looked to be entirely stone stock.
By Brad H 1498 Date 2012-10-29 00:00
Thank you so much for sharing that story, what a great memory. And thanks for the congratulations and taking the time to read my stories. The Texas Mile would be a real adventure. there is a race in Ohio that some of the Mid-Western guys go to, it's about the same distance as Bonneville for me.

The driver was probably Larry Monreal from Larry's Old Volks Home. He has been racing for decades although I think his son drives now becasue Larry is in his late 70s if not 80s. The great thing about Bonneville is, everyone respects each other and their cars. Whether you are doing 56mph in a stone stock Bus or 156 in a Ghia everyone is very supportive. I didn't have one person, or hear of anyone, making fun of our little German cars. In fact we have garnered quite a bit of respect even from the big guys. Everyone is just happy you are doing your thing, they all realise what a commitment of time and money it is just to show up and everyone respects that. 

On the other hand I've gone to regional autocrross events that were shared between sports car and Corvette clubs. The 'vette guys get pretty pi$$y when you beat them, and even more so when you do it in a flat black clapped out S-10 on street tires like I did one year. And it's always the guy that makes the most fun of you that you end up spanking the hardest. LOL Sure is fun......

By dustymojave Date 2012-10-29 01:46
Actually, most everyone at the SCTA meets is very friendly and generous. I had the impression the Vette crew were new converts from drag racing. Dry Lakes racing, while it is all about going fast and involves the highest speeds of any car sport, and can be very dangerous, is also the MOST laid back and relaxed atmosphere of any sort of racing I've ever been around. It has an awesome family atmosphere.

And YES! Larry Monreal is correct! Here's a pic of his Ghia:
By Stickerdick Date 2012-11-04 01:28
Looks likeyou had allot of fun, I hope I will be able to go next year, my build has kinda slowed up. Funds have gotten tight and too many other projects getting in the way.
By Brad H 1498 Date 2012-11-05 01:08
Thanks SD, yes in the end it was a lot of fun. It's also a ton of work and money. I was going to ask how your project was going. I won't be back next year, but in 2014, which is the 100th anniverasary of racing on the salt flats. IF the conditions are right I might bring the buggy back for one last shot as well as my 57 Oval. I think if the salt had have been in better shape I might have cracked 130. If the salt is in the same shape as it was in 2010............

Previous Next Up Topic Public / General Discussion / Bonneville Buggy with 2012 updates (50743 hits)
1 2 Previous Next  

Powered by mwForum 2.10.2 © 1999-2007 Markus Wichitill