Bonneville's Women of Land Speed Racing
“LandSpeed” Louise Ann Noeth
At Bonneville, record holders must first earn the right to present themselves on the starting line. This requires passing rigorous safety and technical checks for driver, rider, and speed machine. Gender is inconsequential. Through the years, more than 200 women have made the cut and donned fireproof clothing and helmets. Dozens have set land speed records--35 in excess of 200 miles per hour, six above 300 miles per hour, and one deaf female racer who roared past 500 miles per hour. Equally impressive are the women who helped propel the helmeted gals into glory. Few know how many women are skilled fabricators, mechanics, crew chiefs, and all-round land speed racing experts, all working out on a brutal, merciless, and barren sodium-soaked playa. And for decades dedicated volunteers have not only put down that all-important starting line but erected a speed village that inspired tens of thousands to visit, taunting the timing lights run after run. Since 1949, women have played an integral part. Without question, land speed racing has more women actively participating and setting records than any other segment of motorsports in the world.