Thursday, September 24, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Here bloggers can see I am rushing from the SLC to Atlanta. More than 3/4 of an hours delay coming into Atlanta with only 1 hour stopover is too tight for my health..
It was a rude shock arriving back into the my real work and home life after a week on the Bonneville salt. A week that felt surreal on many occasions.
I am confident the healeysreturntobonneville project can be closed as a very successful event for Team Healey (the name of the official entry for World of Speed) members and all participants, including the almost two hundred Austin Healey enthusiasts who attended!
Bonneville World of Speed was a week where all emotions were concentrated around two magnificent sports cars with them being the focus and everyone, team members and enthusiasts alike willing them to perform at their best and progress through the rookie speed grading process.
On the salt many new friends from all over the world were made. The mechanics worked well and thanks to hard stubborn creative thinking by the team and supporters everything came together for the required runs when the pressure was on. We greatly appreciated your support. Many enthusiasts pitched in and helped out as needed and these people will be appropriately identified at later date. Right now the team and you know who you are and we thank you for your part in making the Team Healey contribution to the success it was.
Prior to the event Bonneville weather was dry and hot but on the Monday before the event the rain came in a torrent and the runoff from the surrounding mountains turned the salt back into a lake. All this while the team were setting up the pit!
The event was almost cancelled due to the state of the salt. However, the wet weather gradually passed and the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association (USFRA) declared the event to commence after 12:00 Wednesday 17 September, a delay of a day and a half. In the event the WOS had been cancelled the team had developed a contingency plan. In the end this was not required but did provide an opportunity to demonstrate the cars to the waiting crowd.
Few realize one amazing aspect of Team Healey and that is it consisted of a small but dedicated team spread across the world with different cultures and languages. The more incredible for having pulled off an entry in an event like this with cars built in Australia
Team members had just one thing in common: a passion for Austin-Healeys.
What is remarkable looking at the teams experience on the salt in 2009 is the number of similarities with the 1954 record breaking. While some of these were deliberately set up by the team, most were created on the spot or arose just by coincidence which was uncanny.
In taking this journey the team has realized once more just how talented the team Donald Healey had around him when he attempted record breaking on the salt at Bonneville.
We take our hats off to them.
While the event and rules could not have been more different from 1954 in the eyes of the Team Healey it was always intended as a tribute to them. For many years we have all been looking at the pictures and video of the mountains on the Bonneville Salt Flats.
Now we have seen them with all our senses. What was the most remarkable thing is that we added another dimension to pictures and the visual aspect. Colour and Music!!
The fortunate few hundred enthusiasts who were at Bonneville witnessed the highs and lows of emotion as the event unfolded. We are confident that much of this will have been captured by a specialized photo and video crew who travelled with the team. We will now concentrate on working hard to provide a glimpse into the emotions of the event for Austin Healey enthusiasts around the world.
The cars will now briefly retire for a well deserved check over and adjustment incorporating the lessons learnt from the World of Speed. The other thing both cars have received is a well deserved bath, with more to come to ensure the harmful effect of the salt is minimised.
The Endurance car is on its journey to its home to be in Switzerland and the Streamliner is on its way back to Australia.
Will there be a sequel of this event? As in movies there is no such thing as the original. A second version of it could only be realized by the same dedication and passion as in the project that created the cars for 2009.
Streamliners were not built to run on the street and only by substantial financial investment they can be replicated. Without making it into a commercial event this may be difficult to realize.
Who knows – passion has a way of making things come true?
They have a saying in Bonneville that you need to be careful as once you ran, the salt gets into your blood!!!
Time will tell. One thing is for sure: the Healeysreturntobonneville Club has been formed and will be networked further! As a way of facilitating this network consideration will now be given to setting up an FTP-server where everyone can upload their photographs and video footage from the salt.
It would be nice to receive a picture of everyone who was there with their names and so that brief details (club and locale) could be provided in this “Family Album”.
Bruno Verstraete (edited by Joe Jarick).
(Pictures by Joe Jarick and Bruno Verstraete)
Sunday 20 September 2009,
Somewhere in the air between Atlanta and New York
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I will post closeup picture of Roy in the Enduance Car at Miller Motor Sports Park last Saturday later. as I am not on my computer and access here isn't the greatest.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Monday 14 September 2009, 7.30 AM
Seems like it was a very relaxing day yesterday, whereby some team members went successfully flyfishing (thanks to Bob and Jim for arranging that) and others (Steve & Co) were working hard on the cars to arrange the last minute remarks from scrutineering. The Streamliner was fired up and put under some engine pressure. Made some team members (the ones wearing the white overalls) relax after that.
Joe Jarick Happy as can be with the first trout of the day
The Team is about to set off to Wendover where we will be located into one and the same hotel. We would like to thank all the local, Salt Lake City, Austin-Healey Bonneville Club members, for their warm welcome, Friendship and for keeping us as their guests in their local Healey Hiltons. For sure we will miss this high standard as we move into the hotel!
Let us hope the weather does not show like last night too much!
On the other hand, having flown into Salt Lake City and having seen the dramatic landscape, one starts to see these mountains that are depicted on the historic Healey pictures almost every where! It kind of gets into your system and makes you restless, impatient to get to the mythical place.
I can not wait to see this vast mass of salt we have all been reading about for years. I can not wait to have my engine started up on the Salt 55 years after the Donald Healey Motor Company was there with the cars. Having had the honor to stay at the same place as Roy (Jackson-Moore) in Salt Lake City did not really help to calm me down!
Bonneville, here we come be aware, if that is not a nice birthday present, what could be?
Park City, 7.46 AM
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Roy Jackson-Moore took the steering wheel of the Endurance Car to prepare it for the serious work on the Salt Flats. He thought the car was feeling very solid. For sure their will be more stories coming out during the Revival Roundtable. Photo by Gisela Putzke.
Tomorrow will be a day for further preparations on the Endurance Car and the Streamliner. Both scrutineering and mechanical last minute issues
will need to be solved.
Friday, September 11, 2009
The Team was getting a very warm welcome reception at Salt Lake City put on by Marian and Don Colman Family and the Bonneville Austin-Healey Club. The Cake was very impressive indeed...
September 10, 2009 2.30 PM
For practical purposes I travelled over Paris as there is a direct flight to Salt Lake City. Having slept very little (some e-mails with registrations from enthusiasts joining us on the Salt kept me awake). At security check they mentioned I had too many wires in my hand luggage. Closer investigation showed that a full bag of camera equipment, nor a speed GPS (needed some explanation though), but some liquid “beauty creme” for ... The car was the issue and was as such confiscated. Then off to the gate to explain what on earth I would be doing in Salt Lake City. I guess the person doing this felt the vibe quite quickly and I was off the hook and got my “approved” sticker on my Passport. Stress gone ... Then someone came to me with a T-shirt that had a very familiar looking car embroidered on it... The Streamliner. Amazing to fly from a destination that you would think has very little nice people and then out of nowhere you meet a very sympathetic couple from...Perth Australia! Tony Ash (ex President of the Western Australia Austin-Healey Club) was flying over from Paris to Salt Lake City for the Revival. How about that! This project really turned into a global event.
Symbolically the plane took off and passed right over Cornwall. I could almost see DMH smiling under us...In the plane I had some time (as there is no internet over there) for interesting reading. The Healey books were not in my suitcase this time. Instead I took some time to read the manual of the speed GPS. Looking at all this, I was almost feeling that an upgrade to Formula one engineering crew would be amongst the possibilities. But then again apart from realized speed, acceleration and deceleration lesser essentials such as cornering G-forces, lap times and other indicators will hopefully not be needed in Bonneville!
This is stuff that could however be interesting on the track at Miller Motorsports Park. Could give us some extra testing information. But then again, that will be a “parade” lap.
Exclusive Interview with Roy Jackson-Moore
Q. My memory tells me Roy, that you were living in the USA during the 1950’s, how did you end up going there, and who did you work for?
A. After leaving Marlborough school, I joined the Royal Air Force at seventeen and spent the majority of my service in Training Command flying Harvard’s, but the highlight was flying a Mosquito which was a fabulous aircraft. When I left the R.A.F., living in post war Britain was pretty austere, so I contacted my Father who had a successful doctor’s practice in the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York, and I ended up moving to the USA.
My father spoke to his friend, and client, Henry J. Kaiser mentioning that his son had just arrived from England and would like to get a job with an American auto. manufacturer. His response was that it might be possible to fit me in to a sales promotion team who were promoting Kaiser Frazer cars at State fairs across the USA. During the 1951 economic downturn the company stopped making cars and I moved from Detroit to San Francisco getting a job selling Rootes group cars, before getting a job with Austin as a field representative.
Q. What brought you to Bonneville?
A. In 1953 I was summoned to Austin’s head office where I was introduced to Donald Healey … “I am Donald Healey, and you must be Roy – you are going to drive me half way around America in my car”. Later that day we collected the first Austin Healey 100 in America and for the next few weeks we toured the US including the Miami international motor show. The 100 was very well received and created lots of publicity. We had been late arriving at the show and all the trophies had been awarded for ‘best car’ etc. I borrowed a magnificent trophy from the Packard stand … the “Grand Premier Award” and put it on the Healey for the media. It looked very impressive, and Austin used the photos in their publicity – but nobody knew the truth!
I talked with Donald about the future plans for promoting the new Austin Healey by setting international records and sports car racing to boost sales, and in 1953 we went to Bonneville where I drove for the first time on the salt. I later returned in 1954 and 1956 driving the Endurance car and the Streamliners.
Q. Looking back to 1954, is there anything in particular about the event that comes to mind?
A. Driving on the salt was interesting as it is quite a slippery surface which becomes damp in the evenings. There are strong winds that can blow a car sideways, so it was a question of doing everything gently with small inputs to avoid disaster … in summary it was a case of relaxed concentration!
We stayed at the only motel in Wendover run by a very friendly Mr. Mcloud with an excellent restaurant. We made visits one mile to the west into Nevada where we could get a drink (Utah being a dry state) at the Stateline Hotel which had a massive sign outside of a cowboy waving, reputed to be the largest sign in America at the time. I remember whilst waiting for the conditions to be at their best, swimming in the salt lake, which apart from the Dead Sea is the only place where you can sit in the water and read a book. I also remember passing the time flying model aircraft with Carroll Shelby … although, I recall not very well!
Q. For record breaking in the endurance car, especially the 24 hour record, what was the routine devised for the length of each stint of driving?
A. The fuel lasted for 3 hours, so this determined the time between pit stops. The mechanics worked very quickly to service and re-fuel the cars … in fact this took the same time as it did to change drivers, so very little time was lost.
Q. What were your memories of Donald at the time?
A. Donald was always calm and never showed any great emotion at the time. He was very happy to have achieved (and surpassed) his goals as the records were set. The only exception was in 1956 when he achieved 200 mph … he was jubilant. He was very proud of being a member of the 200 mph club which was one of his main goals in going to Bonneville. On the other hand, his son Geoff showed no emotion and remained focused on the ‘job’.
Q. Who did the work on the cars at the time?
A. There were two Austin mechanics from the USA, one from the Austin depot, and the other from Gough Industries in Los Angeles. From England there was Roger Menadue and Geoff Healey from The Donald Healey Motor Company, Jim Harris from SU carburettors, and a chap from Dunlop.
Q. At the end of the event in 1954 what was the feeling in the camp?
A. We were all very happy with the results, as we had achieved our goals. We wanted to improve on what we had achieved in 1953, which we did giving a boost to sales. We packed up the cars and went back to work!
Q. What were your thoughts when you heard that someone was reconstructing the cars for a return to the salt?
A. My son Jamie had already looked into reviving the record runs for the 50th anniversary of the 100, but finances were not available at the time. In 2006 at the Healey Drivers Club international meeting Wiet Huidekoper and Steve Pike told me that they were going to re-create the cars and I was delighted. From the photographs I have seen they have done a splendid job, and I am looking forward to returning to Bonneville to see them run on the salt … even though I won’t be driving them this time!
Thanks for your time and recollections from Bonneville, it has been wonderful to talk to you and re-live part of 1954.
Charles Matthews – Team Manager