BrrrrrrrrrrrrrrBro pop pop brop. The orchestrated rhythm of crank strokes, cam lobes, and pistons sing a chorus of exhaust and intake valves opening, closing, and chattering to the mechanical beat of gas, fire, and power. This is the El Mirage dry lakebed during the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) race season.  Nestled in the San Bernardino Forest desert region within close driving proximity to the Los Angeles basin El Mirage is a clay surfaced race track provided by Mother Nature. Since the 1940's hot rodders and speed demons have come to the El Mirage Dry Lakebed to compete for the prestige of Land Speed Racing titles amongst their peers. El Mirage is one of the few places where the genuine desire to go fast and push the limits of design, performance, functionality, and speed rein without pomp, circumstance, online forums, or corporate mega sponsors.  These races are for the purists of speed. Many great names in the automotive industry had their start here on the lakebed but the most legendary stories are amongst the groups of racers, friends, and club members who campaign the different race vehicles. The victories and 'not such a good ideas' are shared and put to the test every time a vehicle or motorcycle enters and runs the expertly timed 1.3 mile course. Vehicles and motorcycles participating in the SCTA El Mirage races are all trying to go as fast as they can, with the exception of a few club point sand baggers, while running for personal bests and speed records.  To understand El Mirage is to understand one of our base human desires for speed and performance.
                The feeling of faster, faster, faster until there is no more gear left in the pedals, pushing your skateboard to the edge of the dreaded and disastrous speed wobbles, cris-crossing your surfboard rails across the open face of a wave, or just jamming as fast as you can down the track field are all part of the primal instinct racers share.   As youngsters most of us rode bicycles or skateboards around our neighborhoods with friends, siblings, and neighborhood kids. Inevitability we found ourselves racing each other down the local hill, over a jump, or around a hair pin turn you should probably slow down for but instead speed into. Whether we won, lost, crashed, or survived one of these impromptu battles for speed we were always wondering if we could have, and how we could have gone faster. El Mirage racing is an adult extension of these primal and youthful desires for speed and performance but only this time the machines are bigger, the track is longer, and the timing slips are spot on legitimate.  These special race events happen with the coordination amongst 11 clubs and our membership which makes up the SCTA.  The ritual of the pre race course walks checking for and removing glass, nails, the occasional bullet, and other debris from the race course, cone and starting line set up, timing towers, nighttime bonfires amongst friends and family, CB checks, waking to pre-sunrise engine warm ups and the beautifully majestic purple, pink, blue, and grey race course horizon are all part of a long tradition we all play a part in.  This October meet provided a clean well packed race surface with the only thing lacking being a nice tail wind. To burn off some energy the boys brought their bikes, found some jumps on the out skirts of the race area, and opened up the throttle to blast a few airs.    

                                                                                                                             -MWM



 


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