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For the second time this week, a racing event slated for western Utah's struggling Bonneville Salt Flats has bitten the dust.
The Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) announced on its website that the World Finals land speed event scheduled in late September and early October for the flats has been canceled.
That means that, other than some motorcycles expected to participate in Mike Cook's Shootout starting Sept. 17, no land-speed record attempts involving cars are likely to be held in 2015 on the famed race course.
The Utah Salt Flats Racing Association said Monday it had scrapped its World of Speed Event this year.
The SCTA has sponsored Speed Week and the World Finals on the famous flats for decades.
It announced on its website that the salt conditions have deteriorated and that recent rainstorms have made matters worse. The group said preparation crews made multiple trips to prepare the race courses and were not able to find even one good long course.
"It is our opinion that the current salt conditions could not possibly sustain the many hundreds of vehicles that would come across the surface of the Bonneville Salt Flats," read the announcement on the group's website.
The full-blown Cook Shootout, scheduled for Sept. 17 to 21, has been canceled, though that group hopes the salt will be good enough for the big streamliner motorcycles Oct. 12 through 16.
The Cook group also plans to hold racing, starting Sept. 17, for sit-down motorcycles. Streamliners, capable of speeds topping 300 mph, will be able to test and tune, but will not be able to run for records.
Racing groups have organized a Sept. 9 event at Totem's in Salt Lake City to discuss the salt flats and propose ways to reclaim them.
Some racers have criticized the Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the area. They allege the agency isn't doing enough to preserve the flats.
Kevin Oliver, district manager for the BLM's West Desert District, pointed Tuesday to heavy rain in May and August as the main reason for the cancellations.
"It is an open environment subject to climatic variation," he said.
"Heavy precipitation interferes with salt-crust formation. The salt is either evaporating and creating salt crust or dissolving with precipitation."
Last May, 2.35 inches were measured at the Wendover Airport. In 2014, the amount was 0.23. In 2007, there was no rain at all.
Oliver said that since the summer rains have eased, the salt crust has been increasing this year.
He said that the Intrepid Potash mining company has been returning twice as much salt to the area as it has been taking out and that, since 1997, there has been a net positive of salt going to the flats.
"We understand why people are upset," Oliver said. "They have had plans to race over a long period of time. When it is interfered with due to weather, it is upsetting."