There are, in theory, at least ten locations around the world which fit the description above and would be the ideal location for a land speed record such as Angelic Bulldog’s. And there is a lot of historical data available to help refine the selection process. In the early day beaches were very popular as the generally they provided a smooth surface when the tide had retreated.
In the UK, Pendine sands in Wales were used extensively by several LSR contenders.
Over in the U.S. Daytona beach in Florida became popular too and was the venue for many record attempts, including those by Sir Malcom Campbell in his famous Bluebird.
But then the salt flats at Bonneville, Utah became the venue of choice and have subsequently become the ‘spiritual home of speed’ for LSR contenders and is where all of the modern records for the Motorcycle Land Speed Record have been set. So that is where Angelic Bulldog has its sights set initially.
However we also have, as a certain TV character used to say, a Plan B too.
We are fortunate in that the ‘big’ British LSR teams like Thrust, and more recently Bloodhound SSC, have spent a lot of time looking at these venues in detail, travelling the world to virtually every continent (Antarctica not surprisingly being the exception!), in search of the perfect combination of surface and weather conditions. Of course their Bloodhound requires somewhat more room than our Bulldog to achieve it’s objective, 1,000mph as opposed to our 400+mph. Also their four wheeler is somewhat heavier (7786kgs!!) than our more Angelic two wheeler, so they need a harder surface to run too.
The result of that has resulted in them selecting a location in the Northern Cape region of South Africa, the Hakskeen Pan. This part of the world in fact boasts of two locations, which depending on the type of vehicle, are ideal for Land Speed Record attempts, the Hakskeen and the Vernuek Pan. Gabriel in fact visited Vernuek back in 2003 and noted then that this could well offer some advantages over the salt flats at Bonneville, mainly the harder surface which offers less rolling resistance and therefore offers the prospect of higher speeds.
Interestingly, Malcom Campbell travelled there in 1929 to make an attempt, so we’d not be the first Brits to venture forth here. However the logistics are a bit more challenging than those at Bonneville, and therefore the operational costs a lot higher too. So for now, a run at Verneuk or Hakskeen remain a more distant prospect. More a phase two of the Angelic Bulldog project where we would hope to push the speed envelope even higher than the 400+ that we are aiming for at Bonneville.
Meanwhile though we wish pilot/driver Andy Green and the boys at Bloodhound SSC the very best for their first run in 2017.