This follows the men and their machines for a week of land speed racing on the Bonneville salt flats. Who has what it takes to get a Bonneville record?
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This programme contains strong language.
In the last episode, a group of British amateur engineers
finally arrived in Utah for Bonneville's 64th Annual Speed Week.
Six teams, six very different machines.
We came here with the express intention
of racing this bike on the salt.
There's nowhere else on Earth like it.
Guys from all walks of life...
Guys in sheds, guys in garages, little tinkerers.
We're all little tinkerers and little feckers
and we like a trinket and a treasure.
Yeah, mate! THEY LAUGH
My ice cream dealer(!)
..all with something to prove.
Big records. Running on a tough record,
and we're a little team from a very, very long way away.
I mean, how hard could it possibly be? THEY LAUGH
There ain't no messing around here, you know what I mean?
This is it. Time to go fast.
Welcome to Bonneville, you guys.
This is the fastest speedway in the world.
Top speed here of 462 mph.
You'll see every kind of car and motorcycle you could ever dream of.
This is the place they're going to be and this is the fastest there is.
Keep track of the streamline - the ones that go really fast -
and then go down to the five-mile marker
and you could hear the engine start, and you can hear them coming,
but you can't see them yet till they come up over the edge of the earth.
The cars will come up to you over the curvature of the earth.
It's really a hoot to see that.
The record that the Scottish streamliner team are trying to break
has been held for over 10 years.
It's a huge challenge.
To bring a team of guys from a little garage outside Glasgow,
with a 300-plus mph car to the Bonneville Salt Flats.
To try and be one of only seven Brits
to break a record here over 300 mph, you know.
Yeah, I'd be the third living Brit
in the 300 chapter of the 200 mph club here.
You know, the other six are all legends. I mean, look at the names -
Sir Malcolm Campbell, Donald Campbell,
Cobb, Eastern and then Noble and Green.
I mean, these guys are heroes.
This will be the team's third visit to the flats,
having only just missed the record on previous occasions
due to technical problems.
The record's stood for all this time,
because people reckon that it's impossible to go any quicker.
We need to prove them wrong.
If we don't break the record this year, or if we don't even break 300,
we will have failed, and we will have failed miserably and, um,
right now, failure is not something I want to contemplate.
Most of the teams are prepping their vehicles for their first run.
Put some more fuel in it, and we're ready to go.
Hey, we're ready to go!
Fresh in the knowledge they've passed the rigorous tech inspection,
the teams begin the five-mile trip to the start line.
But before they can even attempt a record,
they'll first need to qualify for a licence
by proving they can safely ride down the track
within a set range of speeds.
So Bonneville's pretty unique, huh? ENGINES REV
Yesterday, raining buckets, two inches of water everywhere,
loads of long faces, everybody getting drunk. Today, race face.
PJ and his partner Dave
-have gone back to basics with their retro Suzuki.
cos it's a 30-year-old bike.
Everyone else is doing it on modern stuff, with hybrid turbos.
Fair play to them, that's the easy way. We like older stuff.
You can't buy a bike like this, so you have to go and make one.
I've got butterflies. I'm nervous, I've got the whole gambit.
It's all going on, you know.
He's going to be the same. He'll be the same when I'm on it.
You know, you're just nervous,
cos you're sending someone off on something you built and you're like,
things are going in your head, "Did I? Did I? Did I?
PJ and Dave know they'll need a minor miracle
to get near the 203 mph record,
but they're at Bonneville for the long haul.
Their target this year is to upgrade the 150 licence they already hold
to a licence that entitles them to go over 175 mph.
Can't wait. I'm really looking forward to it. But I know that when
I get down the bottom, on the line, I'm going to be shaking like a leaf.
But we'll see what the old girl will do.
I've never done this before ever. I've gone fast and everything,
but I've never raced against a clock or tried to set a speed.
I've only gone fast, usually trying to get away from the police.
-Our record is not phenomenally high.
If we get absolutely everything right and the wind behind us, and it's downhill,
-we might get, I don't know, 180 if we're lucky.
Last year, Steve and Dave went to Bonneville as spectators
and got their licences on a borrowed bike.
The salt fever took hold,
and now, they've built their very own bike from scratch.
I've put pictures of these up on Facebook pages
and had comments of people saying, "Wow, who made that?"
-So I said, "Dave did." Everything's made by hand.
-ENGINE REVS THEN SPLUTTERS
-There's a fault underneath.
-That was me, I'm not panicking. Sorry about that. OK.
ENGINE REVS LOUDLY
For Steve and Dave to get the record,
they'll need to beat 88 mph in a 750 cc class.
The fastest I've been on the roads is 160, and I was on a trike.
And that didn't in fact seem particularly fast.
And that was on the A14 at rush hour.
As the more experienced rider,
Steve gets the first chance to put the bike through its paces.
Geordie Oz was last here in 2009.
Every day since has been dedicated to getting back to the salt.
Get in about five o'clock, work until about eight o'clock,
have a bit of tea, watch an hour's telly and then go to bed.
Then start again the next day.
Always the same. Every night.
Unfortunately for Oz, his three-year quest to beat a 196 mph record
might have to wait a little longer.
Oz has taken a turn for the worse with a recurring chronic illness.
Far too ill to ride, he's resting in a local camp site
away from the chaos and heat of the flats.
PJ's partner Dave is next up.
Gagging for it now.
Yeah, heart's going like a stolen moped.
Yeah, I can't wait. I'm really buzzing.
It's nice to get back on something and be able to race again, you know.
-Are you nervous?
-Yeah, course I'm nervous.
If you're not nervous, then there's something wrong with you, I think, maybe.
You know, it's there, a little bit of the jitters,
but it's a respect thing, you know.
If you don't respect it, it'll bite you, it'll kill you.
To get their 175 licence,
a run of between 150-175 mph is required on the 30-year-old bike.
Steve and Dave's bespoke bike has already found its first gremlin.
Slowing it down is an art.
And then, eventually, it just went bump and down.
-Can we get it moved? We've got to get it...
It's annoying in the way that the engine wouldn't take full throttle.
And so I was feathering it along, and I thought,
"Why can't I see my speedo?" I'd forgotten to switch it on.
So then, I switched the speedo on and the vibration increased,
and the power lead jumped out, so I've no idea how fast I was.
How many things have fallen off? I don't know.
But the engine stopped itself. We now need to find out why it stopped.
At these high speeds, drivers and riders have mile upon mile of salt
on which to stop their vehicles.
But it doesn't always go to plan.
'We have another spin!'
Thankfully, there are no marks for content or style.
It's only the top speed at the designated mile marker that counts.
Dave and Steve should be confident they have a record-breaking time.
The current record is set at a modest 88 mph.
It appears we've something we can work with. That's what we want.
All I'm going to say is...
-Look at the speed in mile two, which is 129 mph.
-Half throttle, there you go, you see.
-129 mph on part throttle.
-There you go.
In theory, 129 mph is more than enough
to qualify for a record attempt.
-Come on, I'm getting hot in here.
-Let's get back.
But to make a second run, they'll first need to find out
what caused the engine to fail.
Chris Ireland decided to make the trip to Bonneville after watching
a film about legendary Kiwi bike builder Burt Monro.
-It's his first visit to the salt flats.
It is going to be an experience. I'm getting a really bad disease now
that people have probably told you about - salt fever.
Have you heard that phrase? Salt fever is what everybody's got.
After two years of planning, Chris is about to find out
if his 70-year-old 500 cc Indian
will hold together whilst going for the 127 mph record.
What goes through my mind is, um, praying that
the clutch will work on it, for a start.
And it worked perfect every time.
And you hope that you've got your jetting right, and gearing right,
and it's going to pull OK and they kick her over, shit your pants.
I'm actually looking at the rev counter all the time,
trying to keep my head down. And you just hope and pray
your engine ain't going to blow up between your legs.
I guess you could say your mind almost goes blank doing these runs.
You don't know what you thought about or anything when you get to the end.
There's a weird feeling when you've actually finished the run,
you've got this feeling of solitude.
In the middle of the desert, your bike's steaming away,
and it's just been run flat out again.
Something it was never ever designed for.
You really can't describe it. It's like being on the moon.
See, I'm knackered there, I'm out of breath.
I had a full head of hair when I set off, it's blown it all off(!)
How can you describe that? The only thing you can say to somebody is
get out there, go and have a look.
Chris' bike only reached 69 mph.
The record is 127 mph, and I don't think we're going to get anywhere near it.
But I haven't come here to break records, I've come here to have a good time.
Just hope I don't break a record. I don't care.
Team Page from Hertfordshire have their own very personal reasons
for joining the contingent of bikers.
Our friend Mike died a couple of years ago
from a heart attack at a young age.
He had this bike that he'd been rebuilding for 20-plus years,
and never finished it. It became a long-running joke.
Everyone always used to ask if he'd finished and it never happened.
Compared to the other teams, they're the least experienced.
I'm an architectural technologist and building services engineer.
-I'm an IT manager.
-I'm the grinder. If it needs grinding, I'll grind it.
I'm about to do my first run at Bonneville Salt Flats.
Alien is the first to ride the Mike Page Special,
as they begin their pursuit of a 124 mph record.
It's only 10am, but already,
the sun's beating down well into the 40s.
Probably got a gallon of sweat inside this suit with me right now,
and the only way to get the heat out is threw my head with this fan.
And I got a cold rag on top.
The track's been open for a while now and already there's been...
We had an accident on two,
and so they take all the ambulances over there and shut everything down.
So we can't run until the ambulances are back in place.
If you look out there, you can see all the cars in the middle,
that's where the accident is.
Once they clear that up, and they get back, then we'll be back to running.
We saw one of the first 300 mph passes of the day today,
which is the Marrow Streamliner. And he threw the 'chute,
and the 'chute picked up the back of the car,
and the car turned hard right, and fired off the track at 300-plus mph.
He was lucky, he's a very big heavy car.
We wouldn't have got away with it.
Our car's too light, we'd have got flicked up.
We'd have maybe got turned over, so, er...
just a little bit sobering for the first day back on the salt.
If you fall off, first is to get rid of it, kick it out of your way.
The only enemy out there is the bike itself.
The rest of it is just hopefully slide and a bit of skin missing.
If you break an arm, that's not a bad injury considering what we do.
I mean, you've got to keep things in some sort of balance, haven't you?
-If I was thinking about, "Am I going to get hurt?"
-I wouldn't even be here.
-I wouldn't be doing this.
It's a dangerous sport, riding motorcycles.
The faster you go, the harder you're going to hit the ground.
Speed doesn't hurt, it's the sudden stopping that hurts you.
This isn't sitting in a car behind a windscreen,
you know, with a seat belt on.
You know, this is two wheels, this is 300 horsepower,
no speed limits, all you've got to do is remember the way.
Meanwhile, Dave and Steve may have uncovered
why their bike suddenly lost power.
-The whole thing seized.
-Yeah, the whole thing seized.
-Something has gone in it.
-It's gone all over...
-No, I'm taking the pieces out I can see here.
-Steve, you're wasting your time.
-What I'm trying to do is to try and cut the pieces out
that are jamming it from moving further forwards.
It's everywhere. We can see it in this end.
Look there's a piece here between there and the case.
It ain't going to get these.
Oh, fuck, this is... This is fucked!
We don't know what's happened, what caused that.
Don't ask me at the moment. I mean, don't ask me at the fucking moment!
That's fucked! It's completely fucked!
HE THROWS IT SHARPLY, IT THUDS ON THE COUNTER
-That is completely and utterly fucked!
-That piece of metal has gone in there and seized completely.
The supercharger is dead.
-Can we get another one?
-No, I don't think I can.
Man, my condolences.
-It's eaten something.
-It's eaten something big time.
There's no coming back there, is there?
-And it's literally just peeled the aluminium off the side.
This is bad as the entire engine going bang. We don't go any more.
-Unless we can find a new one of those from somewhere.
-We don't go any more unless we can replace that.
Game over for us on the salt if we can't replace it.
The rest of it is minimal. Nothing else wrong with the rest of it,
but this is a... HE SIGHS
Ironically, it's one of the only parts on their bespoke bike
that they didn't hand craft themselves.
If there's a gap between here and the case,
air just leaks past and it won't make boost pressure.
Despite being nearly 30 mph off the record,
Team Page's spirits couldn't be more different.
Bunch of idiots. I'm sure Mike would go...
He'd be well impressed, I think, wouldn't he, that we'd done it.
-He'd be quite chuffed, I think.
-He'd probably have 1,000 suggestions of how we could go quicker, though.
Yeah, he'd probably be going, "What we want to do now is..."
LAUGHTER The bike works, the bike runs.
That's another big tick in the box for Team Page.
HE SIGHS LOUDLY
Well, it doesn't really matter how fast you go,
cos it's never going to be fast enough.
And when you get that first urge when you, "I just want to go to 200!"
"Really, honey, I just want a car that'll go to 200, and then I'll be fine.
"But I really want to go 225."
Do you know how close we are to 250?
300. This car could go 300.
Wow! It's never fast enough. You can always go 1 mph faster.
If you're going to set a record at Bonneville,
this is where your record is going to come from.
All the communications and all the timings
all come through the main timing tower, which is where we are now.
We're out between courses one and two at about the three-mile mark,
which puts us in about the middle of the course.
So we can see the cars just coming off the starting line,
and then we can also see them finishing just past the five,
-if it's a long-course vehicle.
-ENGINE ROARS OUTSIDE
We've got a car coming by now.
We control the pace of the race and the safety of the race.
It's our job to make sure that we get all the cars down course,
and that they get down the course safely. Period.
Coming up next, we're going to have car 1133.
This is the Eye Bloomfield Streamliner of Rick Pearson's The Flower of Scotland.
He's got bigger since last year, that's what it is.
Having spent the last 52 weeks cooped up in a garage,
it's finally time to see how the revamped Flower performs.
A push vehicle is used
to get the streamliner moving along the ten-mile track.
And with their 300 licence still valid from last year,
they can go straight for the record.
ENGINE REVS That sounds good, doesn't it?
-It sounds fantastic!
-He's off! Gone!
Pulled the 'chute.
-'That will be Scotland. This is Rick Pearson.'
Rick has only managed to get up to the third mile,
where he pulled the 'chute.
The early signs are far from promising.
I'm going to try and mend the blower.
I'm not going to give up, until I have to give up.
Amateur racing, huh?
Very annoying, but...
We'll be back.
Yes. The super charger is a mess, it's a big mess.
It may not be fixable.
I may spend all day today, and half of tomorrow trying it
and, in the end, we fail. But at least we've tried.
At least Steve's got some idea what it's like out there.
I've no idea at all. Unless I can go and steal a bike from somewhere.
I threw the 'chute and there's smoke still coming in.
So I thought about turning it off once, and then...
I opened the canopy up, I opened the canopy up on the course,
using it as an airbrake, to slow the car a bit.
It's as much as you can do to hold it up against the wind, yeah.
But at least then the smoke cleared and I could breathe again,
but then, actually, it probably wasn't very bright, really.
Not an ideal start, but the team will have a week to get it right.
Full of fighting spirit, PJ is fuelled up and ready to go.
-Are you sure we're allowed to give him vodka, AJ?
But is it enough to get what they came for - the 175 licence?
I like engineering and metalwork.
I hated woodwork. If you did wrong, you couldn't put the wood back.
But in metalwork, you could weld it back on again.
This is carving, this is art, not metalwork.
It's like whittling a piece of wood, but whittling a piece of aluminium.
Whether I'll be successful, whether it'll work...
-this time next week.
What's the main reason that these people are here?
There's only one reason - it's for a record in a book like this and...
while it doesn't seem like much, having your name listed in this book
means a lot to the people that are doing it.
Just run out the back door at 157. At mile two, it was 144.
And mile three, it's 157, so he's taken some good figures there.
We did it, bro!
PJ and Dave have achieved their goal.
They're now both proud owners of a 175 licence.
Simple lifeform gets a little bit of paper. Simple lifeform even happier.
BLUR: # Woo-hoo!
# Woo-hoo! #
HORN PARPS, ENGINE PURRS GENTLY
As of now, I officially give up trying to repair this super charger.
-I think it's a case of flogging a dead horse.
Dave and Steve will now spend the rest of the week
as reluctant spectators.
Most of the teams have their licences,
but are getting nowhere near their records.
You've got to more than want it, you have to earn it and part of that
is a respect for the place, the people, for the machinery,
to understand that there's a karma that goes back and forth.
You have to understand the salt. You can think, "Oh, it's flat, all I need is a lot of horsepower,
"go straight, put my foot down and have courage.
"And, you know, and go fast as I can."
Yeah? I'm sorry, that don't work.
Last year, we didn't have engine problems, but transmission problems.
It kept wrecking the gear boxes for some reason,
but we seem to have cured one problem and generated another.
Another engine's just scrap metal, I mean, it's, er...
totally destroyed. Absolutely and utterly and totally destroyed.
The only good thing that's left in it is the gearbox seems to be OK.
Och, now, I'm fed up. At the end of the day, that's the way it goes.
You know, it's full of lows and highs,
I mean, the lows are really low, and the highs are really high.
This year, the salt is unusually rough,
and the Flower of Scotland team are not the only ones suffering.
Started it up, and it's making an awful noise from the bottom end,
so we've just got to pull it apart and see what's what,
see what's wrong with it.
-Just started up, that's a lovely lot of...
-Where did that just land from?
-That'll be one of the problems...
-That's from inside the clutch. That's probably what's making a lot of noise.
-Well, that's not good.
Let's take the clutch apart!
Once again, Frog's engineering prowess comes to the fore.
-I've found the hole!
-You've found the hole?
Let's have a look.
Found this little fella rattling around in there.
I think that's where he's come out from.
And we think that's the hole he's come out from. We're hoping.
This is Team Page's first visit to Bonneville,
but petrolheads have been coming to the salt for the last 64 years.
Seven days dedicated to the pursuit of speed.
It's a unique setting where new friendships will be made,
and machines and records broken.
Chris Ireland originally planned to come out to the flats as a team of one.
But he has since acquired two younger assistants.
-They're my pit wallahs.
-Thank you! 'Hard work sometimes,'
but I wouldn't miss it for anything. It's brilliant.
Absolutely brilliant. Really good. Apart from, you know,
some of the views are not great, but...
But, er, no, we're getting on all right.
Chris's dedicated assistants are looking after every minor detail.
It keeps the heat off the seat, cos the seat gets really hot,
so when he sits down, it doesn't fry his bits, you know.
With a few runs under his belt, Chris is brimming with confidence.
-Built this in England.
-It was built in England this.
SHE PATS HIM ON THE BACK
-I've been doing it since I was 19.
-Takes a lot of tuning to get those old Indians to run.
I'll send this home and he won't believe it.
-Fits me better than I thought it would.
Each team has had at least a couple of runs down the salt.
But for Geordie Oz, his three-year quest has been put on hold.
It's basically an ongoing stomach problem I've had for about five years
and, basically, it all just nips up solid and you...
I'm not going to go into detail,
but basically everything backs up and it's very, very painful.
But, er, because there's no surgical department in Wendover,
we have to drive 120 miles to the emergency room,
because, if something internally bursts, it's going to be terminal.
So it hasn't been a case of not racing, because I don't want to,
it's been a case of I don't want to die from it.
Oz's wife was due to arrive three days ago,
but due to flight delays, she won't be turning up till later tonight.
That'll take a lot of the stress away.
Like, she's always upbeat, she makes me feel better,
just being around, so that's a good thing.
Back on the salt, Chris' bike is a long way off the 127 mph record.
Thank you very much.
But he hopes he's heading in the right direction.
-Oh, well done.
-Well done, that man!
-That's getting better! Excellent!
-That's made my day.
-Really chuffed. HE LAUGHS
A dramatic change in the weather
means the Flower have missed their chance to get a run today.
And as the wind speeds increase,
the lightweight car needs to be packed away for safety.
An abrupt end with the raising of the wind, you know.
We did intend to start her, but the battery's a bit down
and we can't leave her out in this wind.
Only a fool would hang about in this kind of weather, you know.
For some, today has been a relative success, but for the majority,
it's been a combination of Mother Nature's wrath,
and mechanical malfunctions.
After nearly a week, most of the riders
have had their chance to take on the empty plains.
-Are you going to get all shy?
Having just arrived, Oz's wife Becks has persuaded him to have a run,
figuring that the best cure for cabin fever is a dose of salt.
-It's not the same when we're not together, is it?
It takes the fun out of it, we're a team, like,
-and that's the long and short of it.
# I'm on the road again... #
This'll be his first day out on the salt,
so I think it'll be a major relief to him
just to get up the salt and do a run, and see how the bike is.
And see whether all the work he's done pays off.
He's still in a lot of pain, and he's not eaten anything,
so that'll add to the general tiredness and fatigue.
And then there's the stress, but I mean, if he gets on the bike
and it runs well, then I think a lot of that stress will dissipate.
I can't describe it, it's not nervousness,
but the tension is there. You so want him to do it.
But at the same time,
there's that feeling of, "God, what if something goes wrong?"
Oz's record sits at 195 mph,
but clearly glad to be back in the saddle,
he has just one thing in mind.
I've no strategy when I get on the bike at all.
Just nail it really right and see where it goes to, like, you know.
Car 1133, go.
Back at the start of the long track, the Flower is holding up the line.
Let somebody else go, if you want. If there's somebody ready to go.
-We'll only be two minutes, I'm sorry.
-Let him go.
-Let him go?
Let him go, Jim.
Oz has reached mile marker three.
I don't know whether I was going fast or not.
I had it wound out in fifth and sixth, I think,
so I presume it was doing...
145 plus. I presume, but I really don't know.
It looked good, you looked like you had a good line out there,
-it looked all right.
Call it a day for today, and then tomorrow start racing proper.
Don't want to rush into it.
Not 100%, but good enough to spank it up the salt at full tilt, ain't I?
But, er...no, that was good. It was good.
How could you not be proud of someone who's worked so hard
to make that happen, and then has gone out and done it, and...
Yeah, I'm really proud of him.
Oz hit a maximum speed of 149 mph,
and now, it's Rick's turn to post a good time.
Turn the radio on, let's hear what we got.
Look at the tail! It's got a booster tail on it now!
-It looks pretty good.
Things might look good from the crew vehicle,
but at the business end, it's a different story.
What is that out here on the right?
All these people gathered up in this spot.
-That's a car, isn't it?
-It's an ambulance going down.
Right out here to your right, where all these people are, that's him.
-Yeah, something green there.
-That's him, take a right.
-I can see the car.
-Is that him, is it?
Unknown to me, they'd been shouting "fire" for quite some distance.
Basically, we'd had a fuel pipe come off,
so we were spraying methanol around the engine bay
and that had caught and blown up.
I found a turn off, stopped the car, and bailed out the left-hand side,
and as I piled out, I heard the, "Fire, fire!"
I turned round, the guy was there with the fire bottle,
and he said, very politely,
"Sir, you have paint blistering, you are on fire."
Hey, I got paint blistering! Fire! Bring me CO2 quickly.
-And then, basically, I just said, "Knock yourself out,"
and they started spraying halon into the engine bay to sort the fire out.
You have a fire access? Cos you got flame in there.
-Watch your hands, guys.
We had a medic on the scene to check me over,
make sure I hadn't any smoke inhalation, and, um,
they've basically saved the day cos they got the fire out on the car.
Although she looks pretty bad, um, it's cosmetic.
The team will spend the rest of the afternoon preparing the streamliner
for the final full day on the salt.
With the end of speed week in sight,
the teams are realising how hard it is to claim a record on the salt.
Well, yesterday, I spent all day adjusting the valve clearances,
changing the jets, fitting different sprockets on it,
and then I ran 5 mph slower.
Yeah, no hurry.
Even eternally buoyant Team Page is suffering.
Yesterday, we had fuel issues, then we had electrical issues,
and then we had a fairly vital piece of the framework snapped.
And we needed to get some welding done this morning first thing,
so it's time to go through it all again now
and see what the problem is.
I'd say our chance of breaking the record
is slim to none at the moment.
I don't think Mike wants to go this fast yet, he's not ready.
-He's a bit of a old timer.
-You talking about me again?
-No, I'm talking about Mike.
This is the third run. Another engine. Hopefully no fires.
Er... No, should be all right.
Everything's been checked, double checked and checked again, so...
but out here, things happen, things go wrong.
If we can make it to the five-mile mark, I'll be happy.
Make a full pass. If we make it to the five mile,
we should be going quickly to get there, so we'll see.
Beautiful piece, love it.
Still a funny colour, though. HE LAUGHS
There's not many green cars here, so we had to have something different,
and the flower of Scotland is green and purple, you know,
-so we had to have it, you know.
-It goes back generations
that green is considered a bad luck colour on a race car.
Bonneville sits nearly 4,500 feet above sea level,
but there's a price riders have been paying
for this relatively untouched landscape.
The thinner air makes combustion engines work even harder
converting fuel into power.
I'm just changing the fuel now, because a couple of the racers
have told me that this high octane stuff is doing more harm than good.
So I'm going to try ordinary pump petrol in it now,
see if that makes a difference.
I mean, the engine is running really nice,
but it just pull any revs at the top end.
So it's not getting enough fuel or oxygen, one of the two.
But the altitude and rough terrain
are not the only things they have to contend with.
Out here, anything can happen.
-Damn it, damn it!
-He's good, he's good, he's good!
-What the fuck did he do there?
-We pushed him over.
-We did so. Reward of the day for saving that.
-Moving pretty good.
-He's probably got a big fright, to be quite fair.
If he didn't, he's not human, you know.
'Back on course number one, it's mile four for car 1133.
'Flower of Scotland is 250.916 for car 1133.'
250 mph is the best speed they've posted this week.
But Rick has to bail out early once again.
It seems there's more coming out the back than just the 'chute.
Now we're going to have to tell Rick what a hero he is
and we know he'll not be comfortable with that.
Look at him, cool as a cucumber! A walk in the park.
It looked like it was virtually going teeter, teeter, teeter, then went.
-Well, I steered into it.
-I know! He steered into it! Click!
Something like that, yeah!
Having averted one disaster, another becomes apparent.
The chain has, er, come off the back. Got a broken chain.
So something's gone on, there's oil dripping out of the back of it.
The rear parachute's got oil all over it here.
That is, er...
..not very healthy.
Rick's been slowly inching up on this record.
It's been a very rough week for Rick.
They received the car about four days later than they should have,
put them a little behind schedule,
but none the less, they worked very hard to get here.
Back in the pits, the post-race assessment continues.
What I do want to see is just a broken chain
and no other damage, you know.
That's the chain, the front drive chain.
It has water spraying onto the chain to keep it cool
and, for some reason, it's got very hot, and it's broken.
We'll have to see what damage the chain's done when it's come off,
cos like it'll flail more, and just chew everything in front of it,
so we'll get this open and have a look and see.
They'll now need to take out the engine again,
in order to check the transmission and see if anything needs replacing.
The real important thing we can do at this time is the ice cream van.
Ice cream vans are like policemen - you never get one when you need one.
ICE CREAM JINGLE PLAYS
For the previous two years, we've broken other things,
and clearly the fire yesterday was a major setback for the car.
The poor little thing is pretty wounded,
and it's a lot to ask at this point to, er, to expect her to keep going.
-Well, the gearbox is still intact.
Oil dropping out, it's absolutely brand new.
So the gearbox and engine have survived?
We've got a leak somewhere, but as I say,
we're not replacing anything, we're just... We'll cure the leak.
-Let's fire on.
And it's not only Rick and Derek
that lady luck has changed the fortunes of.
As you do in motorsport, somebody's offered me a ride.
You can't turn it down, can you?
Yeah, we're letting our mate Dave Branch go out, cos, you know,
him and Steve have worked so hard on that bike.
Dave has practically hand engineered every part of that bike.
They've brought it all the way to America and, er,
Steve got a nice little run on an 80 mph record, he went 129.
And the blower packed up.
The only part that Dave hadn't built has let him down.
So we said he can take a shot on that.
Hopefully, he'll have a nice run and get his licence.
To get his 150 licence,
Dave needs to keep the bike between 125 mph and 150.
PJ's last run of a 164 shows the bike has more than enough clout.
Having had just one run on the bike,
it's a disappointing end to Oz's week.
So the bike is loaded up now to take back to the camp site.
It's a bit upsetting, to be honest, because...
we've only managed one run up the salt.
He's been so ill that that one run was really all he could do,
and it wiped him out for the rest of the day.
It's upsetting, because there's 3½ years' work in that bike.
But I would rather have him home in one piece,
than him be so ill. So he's on the mend,
and the bike will come home and we'll be back again sometime.
With his super charger shredded,
Dave has finally got his ride up the salt on a borrowed bike,
his kind benefactor just behind him.
Can't wait to see his face at the other end, really.
I hope he's got a real nice smile on it.
-Oh, well, it's no big deal.
Watch your glasses.
-I completely lost on the gear changes.
-It don't matter.
-What did you do?
-Not a lot. I got mixed up with my bloody gears.
-Where did you do 154 mph?
-Did I? I didn't realise I'd got that far.
-That'll be about 153.
-Oh, well. Well, perhaps I didn't get them mixed, then.
-Well done, mate.
I didn't know where the hell they bloody was!
-The trouble is you might be told off.
Right, go and get in the van. Let's get you out of these, all right.
But I thought I'd made a mess of it. I just...
I thought I'd mixed all the gears up, but apparently I hadn't,
so I've actually just gone quicker than I should've done.
It's a smile.
That what we wanted. A smile.
I didn't organise any of this. It's these guys.
Yeah, didn't know about it, at all.
We were on the salt this morning watching,
he tells us he's got a ride.
And here we are now, about three hours later,
he's not going to get the helmet back on with that grin.
Really, really proud of you, well done.
So we've been to Bonneville twice,
-and twice you've gone faster than me.
Long may it continue. LAUGHTER
Didn't do this in grand prix racing.
You get caught in someone else's bay, they'll probably shoot you.
Imagine Lewis saying to Red Bull, "Mine's broken, can I play with yours?"
-That's not going to happen.
It's the last full day of racing.
The once-flat salt surface has rapidly deteriorated,
making each pass even harder.
Undeterred, Rick is still hungry for a record.
To get the blue cap, we need to break a record at over 300 mph.
There's a real challenge to getting one of those hats
here at Bonneville, that's why there's only 75 blue hats ever.
And there's six Brits, there's only two living Brits.
You know, it's a very elite club.
On course now, we've got vehicle 1133,
Rick Pearson's the Flower of Scotland.
Class record currently stands at 313.980.
All right, guys, stop him and strap him, get him in there.
If they can match or better the current record,
an average over two runs will be taken
and Rick could join the infamous 300 club.
VOICES ON RADIO
-He's going away now.
-I can just see the rooster tail.
RADIO CONTINUES, VOICE DISTORTED
The bright green streamliner goes through mile four with a speed of...
And here is the 'chute, and the car slows, as it goes into mile five.
'About 100 mph short of the record.'
HE SIGHS: He looked to be going away really well, but then...
200 mph's crap!
Rick's streamliner is not the only vehicle
to have taken such a beating from the salt this week.
Team Page's Triumph Bonneville was built to break a 124 mph record
as a tribute to their friend.
So far, it's managed only 90 mph and the bike is on its last legs.
Fingers crossed, if it starts up now, we're going to get it together,
take it back down the bottom end,
and we're going to run it and drop his ashes, so...
We think we can probably get it to run well enough to do one more run.
And then, we'll do the do.
We've built the bike, we've got it here, we've all had a ride,
we've all got our licences, mission successful, as far as I'm concerned.
-I don't know about the rest of you guys.
Come on, Mike, one more.
ENGINE REVS LOUDLY
With Team Page's bike defying the odds once again,
it's down to chief engineer Derek
to pinpoint the streamliner's latest mechanical failure.
Now there we go.
That is the bottom of the spark plug. For some reason, it sheared...
If I can get this off of here, I will show you.
That originally was in there.
So, after the two, he was running on three cylinders.
We ran on three cylinders, which we'd done a 200 mph pass.
He now holds the record for a 750 cc car.
-If only, yeah.
So we put a fresh one in and should be good to go reasonably quickly.
All week, the team have fought hard in the face of adversity
and now need to rally for one last assault on the record.
I've been here for a week, had some pretty good runs,
and this is the last one, so we're really going to go for it.
Despite all his hard work, Chris is well off the 123 mph record,
but hopes his Indian will have left a lasting impression.
In the 1,000 cc motorcycle category...
..you will see Burt Monro. He had an Indian, 1967, 183 mph.
That record from 1967 still stands today.
And that, I think, is a tribute
to how crafty some of these individuals can be,
including a man from New Zealand who made his own pistons,
built his own bike, and brought it over here and had great success.
And to this day, his record still stands. I think that's pretty cool.
Inspired by Burt's legacy,
Chris and his well-oiled pit crew are primed for one last push.
The thing to learn from what Chris has done here is,
if you want something hard enough, you can get it.
But you've got to work and push it. I mean, he's really worked at it.
I definitely think Britain has forgotten about people
who use their hands to, you know, build stuff
and they need to remember that.
The engine is 70 years old.
1942. It was left here after the war.
-'Chris has just brought it back to America and raced it down the salt flats at Bonneville.'
How much better can you get than that?
Chris has reached a very respectable top speed of 81.5 mph,
twice the speed of the original bike.
Congratulations, you old fucker, you!
-'Look at that!'
'They're just having the best time of their little boy lives.
'I don't care how much grey hair is on their head,
'they are having a great time. And that's the whole point of it.'
This is an elixir of youth, you're doing something,
you have worth, you put relevance back into your own life.
With the day coming to an end,
the Flower must now get a successful pass of at least 313 mph.
It's like a cat with nine lives, we just don't know to kill it.
We've had it on fire. We tried to turn it over.
We've blown up everything in it that we can blow up
and it's still running, so we're going to give it another shot.
As Rick puts pedal to metal, the team all know it's make or break.
Do us a favour and just pull one of these legs off for us.
-Do I have to be in this shot?
Please don't show this to my kids.
-I didn't sign up for that, Jim.
-The things you do for glory.
These two have never met in their lives and they're now best mates.
Yeah, picked me up at the airport. It's the first I'd seen him.
It's all about making friends, and everybody helping each other.
All the other race teams, everybody helps each other here.
-For the final time. Are you right?
I think the best thing was we've missed the Olympics as well.
I think he's broke the gearbox. Sad.
That'll be it. It'll be over. That's why I was out there.
It's one of my favourite places on the planet,
and, er, don't even know if you'll make it back, do you?
So you just enjoy the moment.
Yeah, it was worth it, every minute.
And all the struggling financially to get here.
I think we've amazed all the Americans.
I think they were pretty impressed with us,
especially by the machines we've brought with us.
I mean, our pit has been full of visitors all week,
always someone coming round to talk to us.
Some fella came up to the van, and I was sat in my leathers,
and he said, "I just want to thank you," he said...
"If it wasn't for you, and your film, I wouldn't be here."
And he thought I was Burt Monro, the world's fastest Indian.
-Anything to see?
-Oh, yeah, have a look there.
There's a tooth came off one of the gears and, erm,
what happens is it jams against something else and it just explodes the casings.
So...we're done in gearbox wise.
Maybe see if we can build one up again, but don't see the point now.
Run out of time, run out of luck.
No, we've achieved nothing, in my terms, this week.
Everybody's gutted, um...
No, we came to do 300 mph, we came to break a record at 320 and, er...
-I hate to break in this interview. Mind if we finish, er...?
I don't think the gearbox is away.
I think it's actually the jack shaft, the secondary shaft is knackered.
-No. It's still alive.
HE LAUGHS Kenny's actually sussed it.
I don't know whether it's totally alive, but the gearbox is intact.
It's the jack shaft. I mean, I need to go and find bearings and whatnot,
but as I say, at this minute in time, it might not be totally dead.
But I'll tell you this much... Terry cannot believe it.
There's no way that little car can get up and run again.
I just wouldn't bet too much on it, I just wouldn't bet too much on it.
They never give up.
I just asked them to push it out the back and take photographs of it.
Um, to be fair, though, she's so wounded that, even if they fix that,
I'm not sure we can do 300 mph this week, but, er...
I'm not going to stop them.
Should you use super glue for this? LAUGHTER
I'm going to staple it on. Careful, honey.
Mike would have liked the silliness now.
The shirts and 'taches, he'd love. He'd have lapped it up.
LAUGHTER WOMEN: Our beautiful 'taches!
-You look like a young Terry-Thomas, you cad!
We're all 'tached up. 'Taches everywhere.
Hippy will take the Mike Page Special out
for the last time.
It's a poignant moment, as he heads out on to the salt
to scatter the ashes of his old school friend.
MUSIC: "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" by Pink Floyd
To Mikey man!
We achieved it. LAUGHTER
-You've done it.
Yes! Ha-ha! Where are you, hippy?
# Nobody knows where you are
# How near or how far
# Shine on you crazy diamond... #
-Going to get any AC?
-I'm happy sitting here for a minute.
-Fine. Take your time, mate.
I shouted him all the way.
-How did it go?
-All right, actually. Still gotta break a record with it.
Hopefully, back here some day maybe,
but if not, we'll do it somewhere else.
Well, if we break a record with it,
we still put Mike's name in the record books,
-cos it's now the Mike Page Special, and it always will be.
-To Mikey man.
-Yeah, let's go crack a cold one.
Yeah, let's do it.
-I can push!
Get away from it, Captain Hook(!)
Leave my little pinkie alone!
# You reached for the secret too soon
# You cried for the moon
-# Shine on you crazy diamond!
-You crazy diamond! #
Top man when he was around. Loved him to bits.
-Could've picked a better bike.
LAUGHTER Yeah, he could, yeah.
-I think this proves we haven't stopped thinking about him and won't stop thinking about him.
Sitting in the cabin by yourself feeling ill is not good.
When you got your best mate with you, it makes it so much better.
This trip's not been about making records, it's just...
It's almost like a pilgrimage.
It's been absolutely brilliant. I mean, I've made new friends.
Everybody's helped each other out.
What's it like in one word? Proper!
We came, we saw, we got the hell kicked out of us,
but that's what this place is all about.
Was it worth it? It was definitely worth it.
No matter what class you're in, whether it's a 50, or a 2½ litre class on a bike, you earn it.
You're not given anything out there ever.
People think it's easy, you know.
Well, if it's easy, guys, come and have a go, cos it ain't easy.
DAVID BOWIE: # We can all pull on through
# Get there in the end
# Sometimes, it'll take you right up
# And sometimes down again
# It ain't easy! It ain't easy!
# It ain't easy to get to heaven when you're going down... #
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Bill Nighy narrates the story of how every year thousands of petrol heads descend upon a dried up salt lake bed in Bonneville, Utah.
Men from all over the world come to this truly unique setting with their bespoke vehicles - they all have just one plan, to drive them as fast as they can and hopefully join an elite group: the fastest men on earth.
This is a story of a group of British amateur engineers who are willing to risk life and limb on their home made machines - six very different vehicles, six very different reasons for coming - all building speed machines in a quest to hold a Bonneville record.
This follows the men and their machines for a week of land speed racing on the Bonneville salt flats. It is a place where either parts or records are broken. Do any of our teams have what it takes to get a Bonneville record?