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When Trevor Slaughter was 10 years old he met land speed legend Donald Campbell, just before Donald set a world record at 403.10MPH (648.73km/h) on Lake Eyre in 1964. Decades later, when Trevor sold his trucking business, the long-time dragster crew chief took this memory to his man shed with a few volunteers. More than a million dollars later his land speed ‘streamliner’ emerged, which he tested at Speed Week 2013. The eventual aim is to beat the wheel-driven vehicle record set by Campbell.
Trevor, a Queenslander, put out an ad to boost his streamliner crew numbers. This dedicated crew is seen before dawn, getting an early start on the machine.
Trevor beat his own Lake Gairdner record, set for his class of vehicles reaching 253.7MPH (408.3km/h) at Speed Week 2013. Next, he plans to insert a helicopter engine for a bit of extra oomph.
Brett De Stoop, along with offsider Nigel, walks his modified motorbike, Salt Fever, back to the pits for a bit of a tinker.
Brett crashed his bike going almost 400km/h on the last day of the races. Aside from a couple of scrapes, he walked away. His bike sustained a bit more damage.
Steven ‘Animal’ Charleton debriefs the fire crew after Brett’s crash. The fire crews are all volunteers from the local area.
Father of three Brett De Stoop builds and tests his bike in his backyard shed in Sydney’s west.
Racers and spectators watch a crash at almost 400km/p. The rider Brett De Stoop, 38, comes off with only a couple of bruises and a graze.
A couple of the crews act as security on the lake at night, while the rest of the racers camp at a couple of sites located off the salt.
At the start line, James “Dr Goggles” Stewart jumps into the Spirit of Sunshine belly tank, made from the fuel tank of a mid-century military plane.
Support crew Peter Quick (left) and Graham Hadley drive at a click behind their race vehicle, ready to pick up their drivers at the end of the timing track.
Dik Jarman, James Stewart and Graham Hadley designed and built the Spirit of Sunshine. Dik, who was in the UK at the time of the race, is an architect and award-winning animator; Graham a mechanic and James a social worker.
James Stewart was elated to drive the Spirit of Sunshine into the 200MPH club, the mark of a serious Aussie land speed racer.
Every year racers take to the fourth largest salt lake in Australia, Lake Gairdner, SA, to compete at Speed Week. The sport’s aim is to record the fastest mile in a specified vehicle class, along a nine-mile (14.5km) straight track.
The weather can be tricky and so international travellers like American Jim Higgins risk a rained out event for their chance to get a record on Australia’s far away lakes.
John Lynch’s belly tanker took out the fastest speed at the event at 277.8MPH (447km/h).
Here Dave McLachlan, also known as Bones, takes off from the start line. Bones, despite breaking a few of his own in recent years, is back on the bike with gusto.
The E-type Jaguar does WA’s ‘Team Shep’ proud.
People get around any way they can in the large pit area, where vehicles are stored and fixed.
Racers line up early to get as many laps as possible during their annual run down the salt lake track.
The Dry Lakes Racers Australia are a volunteer organisation that run Speed Week. A yearly auction helps fund their work. Race director Animal (at left) auctioned off his shorts here one years and hasn’t worn them, or much else, at the event since.
The Gawler Rangers that line Lake Gairdner are also emblazoned upon the side a million-dollar streamliner owned by Trevour Slaughter.
Home Topics History & Culture Gallery: Racing on Lake Gairdner
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