Gunners Garage

This Bird Has Flown

Last winter the red Firebird became the “Silver Streak” with a new paint job.

Last winter the red Firebird became the “Silver Streak” with a new paint job.

The Firebird you see in these pictures has flown to a speed of 193 mph over the salt flats at Bonneville, Utah. That was back in 2011, when the car was painted red and we took it to Bonneville Speedway with a student team from Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, Wis.

Things have changed a bit since that time. Driver Dave Sarna traded another car the Fox Valley Tech and took possession of this one. Most or all of the young guys have bowed out of the project. Bonneville was a bit grueling for many of them. They’d rather drag race on Friday nights at Wisconsin International Speedway with their friends watching. As a result, the Bonneville team dwindled down to the veterans who were advisors in 2011.

Plans to return to Bonneville in 2012 failed to gel. In fact, very little got done to the car that year. This turned out to be a good thing, since the weather at Bonneville that fall was bad and the “World of Speed” event that we ran in was affected. Chance are the long haul to Utah would have been a wasted effort.

 

Despite some intensive work sessions in Tom Ale’s garage, the car wasn’t ready in time for the September event at Bonneville.

Despite some intensive work sessions in Tom Ale’s garage, the car wasn’t ready in time for the September event at Bonneville.

In 2014, a lot of work was done to the car—including the new “Silver Streak” paint job—but as fall approached we began to realize that we were not going to join the Utah Salt Flats Racing Assoc. (www.saltflats.com) at the “World of Speed” for the second year in a row. Despite all the efforts put into the car and the engine, our low-budget project did not come together on time.

Too bad! From what we hear, the 2014 “World of Speed” was an outstanding event. Motorcycle racer and team owner, Valerie Thompson, set her 7th land speed record on her CTEK sponsored BMW S 1000 RR. Thompson made her first pass at 209.85 mph and the return run was 207.71 mph for an average speed of 208.81 mph, high enough to take the record in the MPS-6-1000 class and put her in the 200 mph class.

Another record was set by a race team closer to home, on Sept. 7, when Milwaukee Midget Racing’s MG Midget established a new course record of 122.539 mph for the I/GT class. This was the oldest standing record in the GT category. It stood unbeaten for over 22 years.

Work on the “Silver Streak” Firebird is continuing, with hopes of taking the car back to the “World of Speed” in 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

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