"Oh no, this isn’t what I imagined..."
August 2008, while MOONEYES was cheering up for Chicos' World record at Bonneville, I was so depressed about pictures I took, which didn’t look like I wanted at all. There was a huge difference between the real Bonneville speed week I saw with my own eyes and pictures I took there. My picture didn’t express the things in real sight. How sky was so clear that looks like it strike through to places so far that I haven’t seen before, or that tension in air when racer was about to take off at start. I wasn’t able to forget as days went by and instead I was more frustrated feeling More pain with Bonneville salts poured into my cuts. Many magazines came out with pictures of Bonneville and I was angry at myself as they all look much better than my pictures.
In 2011, I got another chance to go to Bonneville. I didn’t make that huge success work to get this chanced, it was like going
On behalf of another pros, but it didn’t matter I was just so excited, Wanted to shout out "I am going again!!!". I was ready to find out how much I have changed in this 3 years.
From here 2011 Bonneville trip report by MOON Space Agency "PAN" will start. I hope my message can express what I felt thorough the real scenes I saw. Report by driver and builder Chico is already up from last week, please Link from here.
The first day Wednesday August 10th. This time I flew from Haneda Tokyo on redeye flight. I worked during day and got on plane from airport that was only 30 minutes from office. Fly to LA after work, sounds like great business man. I was mumbling in airport and Boarded on fully booked holiday season peak flight. Seated at center of center isle with Not even one time of getting up from seat, I was sleeping or eating through all the way. It was quick fight, I recommend to those who can sleep anywhere and eat what ever, like me.
The first day Wednesday August 10th
This time I flew from Haneda Tokyo on redeye flight. I worked during day and got on plane from airport that was only 30 minutes from office. Fly to LA after work, sounds like great business man. I was mumbling in airport and Boarded on fully booked holiday season peak flight. Seated at center of center isle with Not even one time of getting up from seat, I was sleeping or eating through all the way. It was quick fight, I recommend to those who can sleep anywhere and eat what ever, like me.
Second day, Thursday August 11th. 4 am
I slept after landing in LA at night so it was easy getting up. Trip to Bonneville will start today. Boss sent me message "Go enjoy yourself". I know a happy trip is up to result of my pictures, I had to keep my tension. It was great to see everyone again, blank of 3 years and good hand shake.
5am before sunrise, we left MOONEYES USA, weather was cloudy but turned to clear sky as time went by. Everything is big in USA. Trailers going by, bottle of drinks at gas station, Foot long size sandwich, the man who eats that sandwich and how he laughs.. Its unusual to see open space in Japan, but here you can see all that mountains highway and sky At so far ahead. The wood poles for electric wires are standing endless. Even that was cool for me. Wires hanging loose between each poles, making endless even arches.
Yoshi told me "You can see it when we pass that mountain!!". Watching that direction and soon the white world came. Three years ago we took different way, so it was first time for me to head straight to Bonneville Speedway. "Ohhhh! Ohhhh!" was all I can say. I couldn’t express how I felt in words. >From "End of Road" Chico head for Inspection area to get raced car inspection. We headed to Pit area to saved our spot. I got out of car, landed on Salt after 3 years of blank and felt that feeling of walking on salt. I felt like jumping, with my soul and even my heavy weight body. My eyes must have been sparkling.
Chico was taking so long. Too long, may be something bad happened.. Chico came back to pit area. " I was going to leave it on the line, but inspector was kind enough to finish the inspection." Then he looked at me and laughed "Aren't you supposed to take that picture? " Everyone laughed. Sun went down and first day at Bonneville ended in piece.
I have gathered the world of what I saw from driving 12 hours, 625 miles from California, Nevada and Utah.
Watch the video below.
The third day, Friday August 12th
Today was slow day an MOONEYES Pit as Inspection for raced car was already done. But Shop was busy all day. During the speed week, Shop trailer is always full Of people, people who came to race and tourist who came to see the race.
Now let me introduce the MOONEYES Bonneville crew. First of all, Chico the driver and builder of course. I only see him building Race car or driving race car, so for me it was strange to see him working at his desk in MOONEYES USA office. And his loving wife Sandy. Sandy made dinner for all crew and was kind enough to help me take care of sunburn. Every morning She will give me the medicine to put on for sunburn and I was able to stay running around to take pictures in sun. Chicos two boys, Ken and Non. I saw Ken in 2008 too, they are both very kind and helped me when I couldn’t communicate with English. Chief crew Doug. I saw Doug from El mirage and Bonneville in 2008 and this was third time. I would talk long and try to express how I thank him if I became a fluent English speaker. He doesn’t speak much but he has always been kind enough to call me for great chance to take pictures.
Tim and Daren. They are always smiling and nice, always using easy understandable English. Their smiles saved me many times as I was alone taking pictures and came back to pit for water and break. BOB, Fred Larsen's nephew. It was first time I saw him but he was really nice Guy helping cleaning up race car after each run. Last Yoshi. He was smiling all the time and helping out every one at shop. He was working all the time. MOONEYES USA Manager Bob and his family was there for 2 days too. Tim found this Honda Trial 90 for me. It is my new partner on salt.
I moved alone while taking pictures of other people and Walking wan not greatest idea. I will be picked up by crew like last time while I am like half dead by walking. Everything is so huge here on salt I needed bike to get myself around. Yoshi helped me put some sticker on bike. Now its MOONEYES Special. Tim filled up with gas and said "ready to go" in Japanese. Chico called me "Hey PAN, we are going to register for crew, you need ride?". He asked for ride But I told him " I will take this bike!". I was on bike and it was great. I can go anywhere now. I will go everywhere. Pit area is huge too with long line of tents. With a Kick start I followed Chico to Official area. A Man came out from Pit and shouted something. I thought he was giving us a cheer. I raised my left hand to thank him but he is still shouting he was trying to tell me something seriously. Then he showed hand signed, pointing to left ancle. I looked at my left foot and saw the side stand sticking out. I was going fast and could have been a mess if I fell. I waved my left hand and Shouted Thank you to him.
When I am moving alone many people came up and talk to me. "How did Chico do in Last run.?" "where did you buy your T shirts" "Do you have a water? " "how many times did you come to Bonneville?" "Your face look bad from sunburn", I could hear what people say if I stopped my hand and Listened hard. That day I made a call. I was hoping to see him at Bonneville. " How is it?" "Its huge" " Of course it is" " Where about are you at?" "What I am at home" please come here, I have so many questions to ask. At night I went to see the car show at parking lot of hotel with casino Which I saw last time too. It was a great sight, so many cars that was unreal for me and seeing real Cars that I have only seen on magazines.
Cruise Night in the hotel parking lot that night.
4th day, Saturday August 13th
Finally race will start from Today. The Bonneville speed week will begin. We left at 5 in morning. Yoshi was getting shop ready, crews were getting race car ready, Sandy was getting every ones breakfast ready. It was still cool and comfortable in morning. And sunrise was absolutely beautiful.
To join the Drivers meeting, it was first time to move from pit to the course. I got on bike of course. How big is Bonneville, for example from pit to first lane of Long course is 5 miles. That’s 5 miles straight one way. That’s like from HONMOKU SHOP IN JAPAN to some town in suburb, passing many major city areas. Or if you swim in regular small school pools in Japan, its 320 turns you have to make. That’s just how big and far it is. Just Straight long distance. I was going to use bicycle but that was impossible for me, even though I saw one Japanese man Using bicycle.
There were so many people around trailer of SCTA, BNI in between the course 1 and 2. Official staff leads the drivers meeting. Even though I don’t understand English I can tell they are talking smooth and grabbing drivers attention.
With Live national anthem, clapping hands sounds like earth shake and whistle And voice then first raced car in line start up engine. This is my favorite moment. Now I was ready for taking pictures and Chico called me. "We are going on test run. You want a ride?" This is a rare so I jumped on Chevy truck. After Drivers meeting driver can check The condition of the course on other than race car.
Race car will go through between This two black flag at 200 miles per hour. Unlike me, I thought I was going fast doing 40 mph on bike.
From here I will be working alone. What did I came to Bonneville for this time?. I will take picture of Chico racing, picture to use on commercial and parts catalog page. Plus taking picture for article and cover used for MOON Illustrated Vol.8. It was decided right before I left. Making cover and most of the article too. So no mistake can be allowed.
But this day, I was getting worried about same thing as 3 years ago has happened again. I couldn’t take picture of the view I see from view. I didn’t know what to do, I got lost in this strong sun light that I can only experience in here. I try to plan so much in Japan to be ready for times like this, having alternative way and Getting around from my mistakes. But I couldn’t make use of it at all in start. I was getting weak and lost will to try things out. I was trying to remember my plans while I was riding my bike and tried to keep working.
But It's just too hot, I wasn’t sweating but this strong sun light made my senses go wrong. I was moving alone so while looking at start from course one to four, I was taking water and Tried not to run out of it. Chico's first day record was 189.280mph. I could tell how Chico did from his looks after each run. Not much smile, busy getting ready for next race.
It doesn’t go like I have imagined. "Bonneville isn’t that easy" I remember I was told that on phone yesterday.
5th day, Sunday August 14th
2nd day of Bonneville race. Grab bottle of water and keep on moving with bike. Pit , four courses, Chicos run, back to pit for food, grab more bottle of water and out to the course again. I was getting more sunburn from strong sun light reflexed on white salt. When I felt the limit I escaped to shade made beside temporary toilet. Sun light hearts. I had to get used to it soon. Chico made 151.396mph turn out, 184.938 mph turn out, 193.190 mph turn out, Trying all kinds of setting.
By the End of day when I was returning to pit from course, I had tears pouring out of both eyes. Not that I had dust in my eyes but my eyes were hearting. I closed one eye at time until I reached the pit. I wanted to see the real colors and used no sunglass, but my eyes were sunburned. Every one told me that I will not be able to open my eyes if I continue. So decided to use sunglass I got from coworkers on day I left while I was moving on bike. "Wow this sun glass really works! Thank you"
On the way back to motel, just as we were talking that "it supposed to rain tonight " The lighting flashed, strong wind blew and heavy rain started. Front yard of motel was like a pool and road was like a river. Just as I thought about What will happen to the race tomorrow, rain stopped. The rainbow came out to words Bonneville. It all happened in flash of time and even the rainbow was gone.