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Road Trip King
4,672 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Imagine the following: It's a beautiful, clear day and laid out before you are 50 miles of awesome two-lane highway consisting of thrilling straights and technical twisties. You are at the wheel of your Legend and are able to completely own the road at speeds between 100 and 120 miles per hour… LEGALLY. In fact, the only law enforcement you will see are actually stationed alongside the road egging you on. Sound too good to be true? It's not. This is what I did yesterday, and it was one of the most exciting driving experiences in my life.

It all started when I found out about open road racing about 6-8 months ago. I learned of an event called the Bonneville 100 that consisted of just that: a closed Nevada highway, 50 miles in each direction, making for a 100-mile time trial race, in which participants register themselves to compete at a given target speed, ranging from 85 mph to 170 mph, in 5 mph increments. As a first-timer and a rookie to the course, I felt confident that I could handle - and the Legend could handle - the 100 mile per hour class, so I registered for the event.

Fast forward to this past Thursday when I picked up my navigator, Branson (Mastervtec) in Salt Lake and we headed to race headquarters in the barren western Utah / eastern Nevada desert town of Wendover. The weekend's activities were awesome; I will highlight them here.


Thursday night, I went through the check-in procedures. Race directors provided my car number (194), a copy of the course notes, and a final itinerary for the weekend. Then it was time to "tech out" the car. I quickly put my stickers on the car, made sure my fire extinguisher was mounted correctly, and cleaned out the entire inside of the cabin (no loose items are permitted in the cockpit). Tech inspectors looked at my tire speed ratings, they looked to ensure that mirrors were in good working order, and they verified that Branson and I had the appropriate safety equipment (helmets, gloves, proper shoes). We (and the Legend) passed with flying colors and were given the green flag, so to speak.

The 100 mph class, in which I participated, has a "tech speed" of 124 mph. That was my MAX. If I were to hit 124.1 mph during the course of the event, I would have been disqualified. By the same token, if I were to go slower than 80 mph at any given time, I would have also been disqualified.


Friday morning came bright and early when I had to arrive at rookie qualifying, along with the 8 other individuals who were first-timers to the event this year. Immediately I was a little humbled by their cars… souped up muscle cars, a supercharged Mini, a race-only Mustang, etc. I ended up being the lone Honda/Acura representative in the entire event - encompassing 80 cars. It was mostly Porsches and Corvettes (between which there exists a huge rivalry I've found).

Qualifying was a ride to remember. All the rookies and instructors caravanned to a point 8 miles out of town into the actual course… a part of the road which included some of the most technical twisties. Each rookie driver was assigned an instructor. Mine was 40-year race veteran Richard Hille, who (I think) probably ended up in my car because it was the only car big enough to fit him - he was 6'7 and even in my car, his helmet was hitting the roof, lol. Richard has more race time under his belt than anyone I've ever met. He competes in the 170 mph class in his amazing black '96 Camaro. And here he is taking a ride along in my measly 100 mph Legend! The funniest part was, Richard used to have a 1991 Legend. He told me, just prior to the qualifying run, that he'd taken his Legend to 140 mph. "These are great cars," he said. I already knew that. Best of all, he did a double-take when he saw the shifter. As it turns out, he had no idea the Legend was offered in a stick shift.

For qualifying, they had a 9-mile stretch of the road closed. The goal of the run was twofold: 1) so that Richard could see that the Legend could handle at my target speed and above, and 2) so that he could see that I could handle at the target speed - that I wasn't tensing up.

We went to grid and as we inched toward the start, I reached to turn off the A/C. Richard said, "You can leave that on, you're not even going to be working this car hard." So I left it on! Now most of you know that I am a super conservative driver for the most part. I generally shift at under 3,000 RPM around town, I've never redlined my car, and I can count on probably two hands the number of times I've taken my car ¾ of the way around the tach. But for some reason, with the adrenaline running through my system and Richard in the passenger seat, I turned into a total beast! The green flag came, and I blasted through the gears like I never have in my life. I also found out what my car sounds like at high RPM and it sounds SWEEEEET! I remember thinking, "Man, how come I've never driven like this before?!" The TYPE II was singing right up until I hit 100 mph and then I leveled out the speed. After a mile or two, Richard said, "Let's take it to 110." I followed instructions, still in 5th gear at the time. Not long after, he said, "Go ahead and push it to 120." I did, and I held that speed for the rest of the qualifying run, and did the same on the return leg. Once again, the Legend and I passed the test so I got signed off and okayed for the following day's race.

Incidentally, Richard ran the race in his Camaro as well. His top speed? 211 mph. All I can say is wow. And this guy chose to ride in my slow Legend for qualifying :).


That evening, a meeting with all drivers and navigators was held and we learned about red flags versus yellow flags, safety procedures, and some overall requirements. We were to check tire pressure that night and the following morning. Everyone was getting pumped up. I got the Legend ready to go, running at a few PSI over the recommended in my tires so they wouldn't build up as much heat (I was instructed to increase them). I double-checked oil and coolant levels (still have never added any of either, between oil changes, in the entire life of the car), and I washed the car. Then it was ready to go.


After a restless night, I reported to pre-grid and lined up near the other participants in the speed classes around ours. I got a chance to meet the people who would be in front of and behind me. As it turned out, there was only one other participant in the 100 mph class: a guy named Mike in a black 2007 Corvette. We hit it off right away - he was a super nice guy and a self-proclaimed nerd, lol. While most people came to the event for the cars, he came for the numbers. Mike's an engineer by trade, and his entire objective for the race was to come in at exactly the designated time. Talk about precision. He had extensive course notes. He had two stop watches. He even actually had a paper stuck to his steering wheel that contained each milepost number and corresponding target time when he'd be passing each one. What did WE have? A $50 GPS unit that measured average speed to the tenth, and a sheet of course notes that we had only skimmed. Uh oh.

It came time to do final grid, so we caravanned out the closed highway and lined up in order again. We suited up in our racing gear and attended a last-minute driver's meeting. We were told that course workers were in place, the course had been swept, and everything was clear. Then they started turning the faster cars loose - those competing in the 155 mph class. The allowed 1 minute in between cars. They went down in speed class until it was finally time for our group. It took a solid hour before it was even our turn at the starting line, and the anxiety was building.


Finally we were within two cars of the starting line and it really set in that I was going to do this. I started rolling the camera (attached with a sticky pod to the inside of the back window). I turned off the radio. I turned off the A/C. I gripped the wheel firmly and we rolled up to the start. I reset my odometer and GPS. Lincoln, the starter, asked me if I was good to go, and I responded that I was. I watched the tree. Lincoln told me when I had ten seconds remaining. Five, four, three, two, one. We were off, blasting through the gears once again. I didn't stop accelerating until I hit about 115 miles per hour, and I held that speed until my average crept up to 100 mph. For the rest of the course, I held it as close to 100 as I could.

While other drivers were probably frantically scanning for mileposts and flipping through course notes, we relaxed and enjoyed the ride. I blasted the music, I opened the moonroof, I took pictures. I even honked and waved at some course workers - stationed every mile or so. What a riot. I don't think I looked at a mile marker the entire day - I was willing to trust my GPS. The only problem was: my GPS read average speeds in the tenth of a mph up to 99.9, but after that, it only displayed 100 even. So if it said 100, I had no idea if I was averaging 100.0 or 100.5. For that reason, I tried to keep the GPS alternating between 99.9 and 100 so that I knew it was right on the verge.

After what seemed like just a minute of racing, I looked down and we were 25 miles into the course already… halfway through the first leg! I held 5th gear at about 5,000 RPM through the technical twisties on the uphill and cruised in 6th for the remainder of the race. The car handled and performed amazingly.

Finish line in sight, the GPS dipped to 99.9 and I quickly went to 105-106 to compensate for it. Unfortunately, when we crossed, it was still 99.9. But that was close enough for me!

We had some downtime at that point. Everyone parked their cars and the last people to come in were the super sport class - 160 to 170 mph classes. When they arrived, the course was swept again, and we went to grid for the return trip, back on the same road we had taken.

My strategy remained the same for the 50-mile drive back. We blasted to 115, held it, and averaged 99.9 or 100 the whole way back. On one of the straights I couldn't resist a few miles at 110. I was so pissed though… once again, as the finish came into sight, the GPS displayed 99.9 and I couldn't bring it to 100 in time. For the race results, they add the two scores from each leg to get a total number of seconds that each driver was off from his or her target time on the race. I was so stoked from the drive I didn't care less about times though.


Last night at the awards, our class was announced. We got 2nd place (also last place since there were only two cars :)). But the amazing thing was this: We were only 2.3 SECONDS off a PERFECT time. The Corvette guy was just over a second off. Pretty amazing, and I still am quite impressed that we were able to travel 100 miles and pull into the finish line at only seconds off our target time. Pretty damn good IMO.

I will be back next year! And I will be driving the 110 class this time…

Just before tech inspection, putting my numbers on the car.

Lining up as we're waiting for the qualifying run.

Richard and me waiting at qualifying.

Ready to take off on the qualifying run.

Pulling back in from a 120-mph qualifying run.

Quick trip to the salt flats, which (because of heavy rain last week) are under water.

Night before the race. Wendover, Nevada.

This is what my trunk looked like during the race. They don't allow anything loose in the cabin of the car, and since we'd checked out of the motel, everything had to go in the back.

Caravan to the start line.

Morning craziness, all the drivers and navigators.

Starting line, first cars to go on the first leg.

Pre-grid for the first leg.

Racing! Taken at about 110 mph.

Staging up for the second leg. Some of the other cars.

Yes, there was a Saturn in the 95 mph class! The dude has amazing precision... consistently comes in at thousandths of a second off his target.

Can you find the Legend?

Pre-grid for the 50-mile return trip. We ran in the same order as the first leg.

Richard Hille's Camaro. This belongs to the instructor who rode with me on qualifying day. He raced it at 211 mph.

Mike, my competitor in the 100 mph class, gets out his calculator and notes after the race to see how many seconds he was off in his 2007 Corvette.

Turned this over on the way back to Salt Lake last night. Actually, DURING the race, I hit 288,888.8 but the shot came out blurry! :(


Sticky Pod video to come! But here are a couple to tide you over.

Quick vid from the halfway point before we headed back.

This next one is a 90 meg file. I'd recommend downloading it. After it processes on filefront, you will be able to stream it here though if you'd rather not download.

They didn't allow loose items in the car, but I made Vtec bring along my digital camera for a quick vid of the acceleration :). The angle isn't the best, but you get the idea! Turn up your volume -- I love how the car sounds under acceleration.;7745163;;/fileinfo.html


Edit 6/14/07 - Race results are online:

Turns out I was 2.9 seconds off.

First leg, averaged 99.902 mph, second leg, averaged 99.940 mph.

Touring class results:

Overall race results, 46th out of 71 on accuracy:

Speed trap results (I'm on page 3). On one of them I was at 110 mph:

1,800 Posts
I just finished reading that whole story, sounds like an amazing time! I can't imagine how fun it would be to run at those speeds without worry of law enforcement. Thanks for representing Legends so well!!!

Road Trip King
4,672 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
what kind of shoes did you race in?
Pyrotex racing shoes that I borrowed from a friend in Phoenix. They are really comfortable!! The helmets and gloves were also borrowed. The only thing I had to buy was the GPS and the fire extinguisher.

Mastervtec said:
I lost some money on roullette and blackjack.
You sure did. But how about that lucky streak last night with the $20 on red?

Premium Well Wisher
2,776 Posts
glad to read that it all went well, looks like amazing fun! 289k and still running strong!

I'van der Rohe
12,803 Posts
was that you B? leanin up against the car in that vid?

Get your skinny behind off that car!!!!!!:flame:

:lol: jk.

I've been waitin for this post. Great stuff, I gotta read the write up a little later, but i'm lookin forward to it:)
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