Journal: Help Kickstart A Documentary Film On Chasing Speed At The Bonneville Salt Flats

Help Kickstart A Documentary Film On Chasing Speed At The Bonneville Salt Flats

By Florence Walker
May 22, 2017

Photography provided by Alexandra Lier

Alexandra Lier knows Bonneville. A month after seeing David Perry’s photographic work with hot rods in the area, she was on a plane to Salt Lake City. “I saw the pictures and I knew I needed to see this place.”

Seeing Bonneville for the first time—a space so vast you can see the curved edge of the earth—unsurprisingly ignited a passion in Alexandra that has carried her work for 18 years. Also unsurprisingly for a talented photographer, she’s making a documentary about the speed-loving community that the Salt Flats have given a spiritual home to. Her film on the place and the people who are drawn to it, The World’s Fastest, is a tribute to endangered species of the internal combustion and the petrol-loving fiends that push their machines to their limits on the salt. This documentary hopes to capture this chapter of human achievement in racing history. This unique form of motorsport—not a race and not a time trial—but a battle against physics and will, draws many to its challenge.

Speed is also of the essence with the creation of this film, subject matter aside: “This story has to be made this summer, so we really need  the support of the automotive community.” Lier tells me, “Bonneville Land speed racing is in danger. The salt is getting thinner, every year because a mining company has been removing potash for the past 70 years. Unless they stop, the salt will all be gone.” But this is only half of the reasons why the race is on to get the film made soon, “One of our protagonists is the last active member of the 49er club. He was part of the first Speedweek. He will be honored this year from the SCTA and I would love to include it in the story. So yes, we have to do it this year.”

Alexandra Lier and her colleague, Laia Gonzalez have already begun telling the story on film of the friendships and shared ambition to be the very fastest, but in order to get the rest of the filming done in time, they have turned to Kickstarter for the funding to get the film finished this summer.

Lier wants to honor the achievements and records that have been set in the otherworldly setting of the Bonneville Salt Flats, “I really like that people always help each other, even if they are competitors.” As always seems to be the case, it’s the people behind the cars that drive the stories. But she’s not leaving any of the rare metal out of the film either, as Lier is a petrolhead herself, and is continually inspired by the mechanics and engineers who pour their heart and soul into these unique machines, “You see vehicles you’ve never come across before—everything is individual, it is what the builder can afford and believe in. So each car is built in unique circumstance and each has a different method of building to reach the goal of being the fastest. It’s very creative and inspiring.”

Lier’s passion for Bonneville is as pure and unmitigated as the thrill of just booking it with the pedal firmly and continuously on the floor. She even hopes to set her own record on the flats one day too: “Bonneville is the only place where you can go along at full throttle and leave it there for five unbroken miles.” Her enthusiasm is childlike and is hard to not get caught up in, “It’s the rawest form of racing. You have to work very hard to get to your goal and it is about a team-spirit and friends, not just the individual struggle.”

Lier’s combined expertise of cinematography and knowledge base amassed from years of visiting the Salt Flats will make for a wonderful and enthralling documentary from someone who is deeply vested in who deeply cares for this enduring form of motorsport that represents one of the most pure reasons we like cars: speed. To tell these stories at a time when both the location and the idea are both increasingly under threat, this is a film that deserves your support.

Support this project at the film’s Kickstarter page, or the official website


Join the Conversation
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
1 Comment
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ryan McBride
Ryan McBride
7 years ago

My father and I first went to the salt flats in 2000. Never could imagine how it is in person…. Came to find out our house in San Jose was around the corner from Jack Costella. Introductions were made and next thing nights and weekends were spent at his shop helping for upcoming speed week prep. We went and helped crew, his first year with the little 50cc banana car. I got to push start the big orange streamliner with his T roadster. Will never forget it!

Petrolicious Newsletter