Green light for Speed Scotland10 | 08 | 2012

    SPEED SCOTLAND, THE LESMAHAGOW-BASED team, will tomorrow start their campaign to break the 1000cc World Land Speed Record of 313mph.

    Today the team successfully put their EFG-backed 'Flower of Scotland' through scrutineering at America's famous Bonneville Salt Flats.

    And the 22in-wide, methanol-powered Streamliner car — which is also backed by Maurice de Mauriac Watches — will be rolled out on to the Salts on Saturday, under the eagle-eyes of team boss Derek Palmer, for it's first 300mph 'warm-up'.

    But ahead of the 2012 campaign's launch, which is being filmed by the BBC for a 60-minute documentary to be shown in January, driver Rick Pearson gave us his exclusive update on the team's progress.

    "Friday at Bonneville is traditionally given over to tech inspection and setting up the pits," Pearson, one of only two Brits licensed to drive at more than 300mph, said.

    "This time last year however, the Flower had no engine in her and no crew to tend to her after flight cancellations and delays meant we were effectively a day behind before we could run.

    See more official photos of Speed Scotland at Bonneville

    "So far, 2012 is definitely treating us better, despite a minor panic when the Fire Bottle manufacturers hadn’t realised they had received our bottles, let alone filled them and sent them back.

    "It looks as if the Flower will be good to make the first pass soon after the courses open at 10am on Saturday.

    "Dawn over the casino town of West Wendover was spectacular, although not quite as impressive as the thunderstorms that had blown through the area all night and were to revisit the Salt by mid-afternoon.

    "In the hours in between, the Speed Scotland crew managed to get the EFG Flower of Scotland through Tech Inspection early on and spent the rest of the day checking the car over ahead of a planned 300mph run tomorrow.

    "West Wendover is only a few miles from the Bonneville Speedway turning, although by the time we drive out on the Flats to our pits, we’re 20 miles from the overnight camp ground, and actually in a different time zone!

    "Yes, the line between Mountain Time and Pacific Time runs between the two and with the town operating on the latter — while the Salt operates on the former — it can get a bit confusing!

    Speed Scotland gets oh so close to record

"The weather was scalding hot during the day before the storms blew back through later on, and the crew were glad we weren’t trying to desperately fit an engine like this time last year when we had to hightail it off the Salt to avoid the lightning storms.

    "Given how flat the “Flats” are, you clearly don’t want to be roaming around on something that conducts as well as the Salt when large bolts of electricity are being thrown around!

    "So, an early night for the crew, which is pretty helpful given we’re all a touch jet-lagged right now still. And despite having to put on a few “performances” for our ever present BBC camera crew, we even had a little time this afternoon to have a wander through the pits and see some of the other great racecars out there.

    "Particularly impressive is an original Indy 500 roadster which will run here at Speedweek and which looked absolutely fabulous, including the drivers helmet painted to resemble the old fashion open-face/handkerchief over the nose style. Superb!

    "Plan for Saturday is to shake down the Flower over the first couple of miles, see how she feels and if all is good push her out there hard and fast to see what she’ll do.

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    "I am licensed to run unlimited speeds now at Bonneville, one of only two Brits, (the other being Andy Green!) so no need to try and hit a targeted speed.

    "If the going is good, then the good will be going fast!

    "The track was hard and grippy until the rain came in, although there are a few holes in the surface which, while not a problem for stability, will put extra loads on the transmission which is already an issue with all bike-engined cars.

    "I’ll have to pick my line well if I’m to avoid further failures this year, but we’re confident the updates we’ve made since 2011 will see us being able to hold together long enough to break the magic 300mph barrier and perhaps finally the 313mph existing record!

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    Jim McGill


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