1990 928 S4
June 20-23, 2002
Open Road Rally
Wendover, Nevada to Elko County Line
|The Bonneville 100 was run from Wendover, Nevada on highway 93A to the Elko County line. It's a 50+ mile course that's run in both directions for a total of 101. miles. It was the first open road rally put on by MKM Racing Promotions, which bought out Roger Ward's Classic Automobile Racing Society. They kept the same web address of www.openroadracing.com.|
I chose to enter the Grand Sport Division, 140 mph class. This
Division has a tech speed limit of 165 mph, and requires the car
to be equiped with rollbar, racing harnesses, fire extinguisher,
and Z rated or better tires. The driver and navigator are required
to wear a full racing suit, SA95 Helmet, fire resistant boots and
gloves. In preparation for this open road rally, I had installed new
spark plugs and wires, both fuel pumps, rear brake rotors and pads,
Mobil One oil,racing brake fluid, and Koni externally adjustable
shocks. Marc Thomas and Brad Breehl of
set up the suspension.
I picked up Dennis Kao, my navigator, Thursday afternoon and started the 600 mile trip from the SF Bay Area to Wendover on the Nevada/Utah border. The trip was more difficult then originally planned. We encountered traffic jams, accidents, fires, thunder storms, dense fog, and small town police. We finally arrived at the Red Garter Hotel and Casino, the host hotel, at midnight.
|Friday's schedule included Registration, Tech, and the Welcome Dinner. But first I met up with Peter Whelan from South Dakota and his 88 S4. We had exchanged emails, but this was our first meeting. He had come out with his wife and navigator Kelly to run in the 145 mph class. We discussed the cars for a while, then decided to go out and drive the road. Dennis and I took course notes, picked out markers, and estimated cornering speeds. On the road we again meet up with Peter, checking out his laptop-gps-navigation system.|
T-shirts 4 Sale
Dennis, Me, Kelly, Peter
Saturday was practice day. A
short section of highway 93A, about
6 miles, was closed to local traffic while we were allowed to
test our cars. On the second
run Peter came out for his
test runs. This was where we was able to see how fast the car
could go, how quickly it could accelerate at this altitude, and
how accurate the speedometer was at speed. I found that the
speedo was off by 3 mph at 140 and 4 mph at 165. I also found
out that the car could go 165 mph (169 indicated). It could have
gone more, but we were warned not to exceed the tech limit or
risk disqualification. It was also apparent that accelerating
uphill at 5000 feet was difficult. On the uphill runs, I was
only able to reach 153 before the radar check point at the half way
|After practice we meet up with fellow 928 owners from Utah. Dave and Quinn had driven they're 928s from Utah along with Craig (89 S4), to be volunteer corner workers. They had both expressed interest in entering the event, but were unable to do so. After dinner we collected in the parking lot and drove over to the Salt Flats for some photos. The site of 4 928s on the Salt Flats at 9 PM in the moon light was awe inspiring.|
Roland Roth/Mike Metcalfe
1998 Ruf Ctr
Super Sport 160 class
Monte Lieberfarb/Bob Trimmer
Grand Sport 145 class
Peter and Kelly Whelan
1988 928 S4
Grand Sport 145 class
George A Suennen/Dennis Kao
1990 928 S4
Grand Sport 140 class
Grand Sport 135 class
Charlie and Sandy Turner
2000 Boxster S
Touring 110 class
Sunday June 23rd, 2002
|Sunday morning we were instructed to report to pregrid at 6:30 AM. We all parked in our assigned spaces and waited to be call to the starting grid. This was the time to do the final checks on the vehicle and to make sure all the notes were secure. About 7:30 we drove from the parking lot to the starting grid on highway 93A. At 8:15 AM Bud Ridenour's '01 Corvette left the starting line.|
The unlimiteds started first, about 2-3 minutes apart. They were
followed by the Super Sport Division cars, then us, the Grand Sports.
We watched as the early cars left
the line, then suited up and strapped in for our turn.
I pulled up to the starting line. The black ZR1 in front of me roars off down the road. For what seems an eternity we wait for the light tree to go live. The starter is looking at his watch, then up at the Corvette now about a mile away, then at his watch again. Now he looks up at us, points at the light tree as the top light comes on. One, two, three, four seconds as each yellow light comes on, then the green. We start our three stop watches, and I hit the accelerator. The engine comes to life as we accelerate away from the line. One mile, 120 mph, not as good as at sea level, but still pretty good. Two miles, 150 mph, the first turn, a gentle sweeper to the left. I stayed on the gas as we start up hill. We continued to cruise at about 155 mph, until we near the top of the crest and gravity slows us to 152. The car feel good, the sound of the engine filled the cabin, and the handling is superb.
According to all our stop watches we finished the first leg in 21:34 seconds, 33 seconds ahead of schedule. That was great, we finished the uphill part of the rally with time in the bank. Now we could make a easy run downhill and focus on hitting our target time. We pulled into the lot with the other cars and waited for the rest of the cars to finish they're runs. I talked to Peter and he had run a 22:04, about 42 seconds behind schedule. He was going to use the downhill run to get back the lost time. All in all, we had things under control.
After waiting about a hour, they told us to get ready to roll.
The unlimiteds were about to start, so they had us drive the
5 miles from the lot to the starting line. When we got there,
the unlimiteds had gone and
Roland Roth was up next. There
was word that there was some trouble, so we'd have to wait till
they determined the extent of the problem. So we
waited in the hot sun. After
a while, we got word that Bud had crashed his Corvette on the
long downhill straight, near check point #4. It was serious,
the medical people were on scene, and the helicopter was being
called in. Some time later, they called a driver's meeting.
We were told that Bud had died, and the coronor was being called
in. There would be a meeting of the Event Sponsors Committee to
determine what was going to be done.
After some discussion, they decided to cancel the second leg of the rally. When the road was cleared, we would return to Wendover, following a sheriff's vehicle. We would drive with our lights on in memory of Bud, a long time open road enthusiast, retired airline pilot, father, and grandfather.
Mike and Marsha Borders
Ron and Becky Landaker
2nd Touring 95 class
At the awards dinner Mike Borders introduced the
Mayor of Wendover how spoke briefly
about the tragedy of the day, but also about the positive aspects
of the event. Afterwards, Mike and Carl Young announced the class
winners as well as Bud's entrance into the 200 mph club.
I must say the Bonneville 100 was a very memorable event. I want to thank MKM Racing Promotions for putting on the event, DEVEK Performance Inc for helping me prepare my car, and Dennis Kao, my navigator. It was also great meeting Peter and Kelly Whelan, as well as Dave, Quinn, and Craig.
Copyright 2002, George A Suennen