Kiwi photographer Simon Davidson captured high-speed junkies at the 64th annual Bonneville SpeedWeek. Over 512 entries combining high-tech engineering and vintage automobiles—including custom belly tankers, hot rods, motorcycles and streamliners gathered to set land speed records and race at upwards of 400mph upon the uninhabited salt shell.
This year’s high-octane winner, a Speed Demon D Blown Fuel streamliner, smashed records by reaching 430mph in temperatures nearing 120 Fahrenheit. Utah’s famed speedway track dates back to the 30s when the then Salt Lake City mayor Ab Jenkins took on motoring journalist Sir Malcolm Campbell in the city’s first ever race.
‘Over the last hundred years, there have been more land speed records set on Bonneville’s Salt Flats than anywhere else in the world,’
Simon Davidson’s Bonneville photo series captures high-speed junkies from all over the world descending with their souped-up engines on a sprawling 5-mile course in Utah’s 36,650 acre dry salt lake for the 64th annual Bonneville SpeedWeek. ‘Over the last hundred years, there have been more land speed records set on Bonneville’s Salt Flats than anywhere else in the world,’ says the car-enthusiast photographer. For non car-enthusiasts, it just looks like they’re racing on the moon.
Born in New Zealand, raised in Sydney, Simon Davidson discovered photography at the age of 25. His early years of photography were spent in the darkroom developing film and printing black and white images. Moving to New York in the late nineties to assist fashion photographers, Simon returned to Australia in the new millennium to further assist before dabbling in fashion photography himself. A chance excursion to a street drag racing meet one cold winter evening changed the direction of his work. He has been photographing Australian custom car culture as a personal endeavour for the last decade. This project has allowed him a healthy editorial career in the V8 car scene leading to an advertising career. While the cars are central to the project, the people and the characters are a rich source of subject.