Bar Hodgson - Bonneville updates August 21 2008
Team Arrow Racing Streamliner and Bar Hodgson's 2008 Land speed record attempt

SUPERSHOW / Team Arrow Streamliner

Bonneville Streamliner Updates August 21 2008

Thursday August 21st, 2008

Disaster Strikes!

There's no easy way to report this one. Today's run on the streamliner ended in a spectacular crash on the Long Course of the Bonneville Salt Flats. First of all, Bar is OK. Injured but OK.

Bar preparing for his run on the long course the # 1150 Streamliner in the long course line up
Bar, packed into the 1150 streamliner before his run We got into the Long Course line up early this morning and once all the record runs from the previous day had completed their back up runs, we quickly made our way to the front of the line. Each step forward was crucial as Bar suited up, the streamliner was warmed up, final instrument checks completed, etc. The closer we got to the front the more the tension mounted, and crowds gathered around to get at look at the Canadian Team, fascinated by Bob's push vehicle/sidecar/wheelchair bike. These photos show our progress to the start line, and then away they went.

Bob Williams on his unique push vehicle/sidecar/wheelchair bike

Team Arrow # 1150 - team and rider talk before the run Bar Hodgson in the the Team Arrow  1150 Streamliner at Bonneville
Next thing we heard over the radio system was that bike #1150 had crashed. A few moments of panic wafted over the crew before they announced that the rider had exited the vehicle and was signaling he was OK. We'll let Bar take the report over from here.

In Bar's own words, "Once the officials had performed the final check on my 7-point seat belt harness, verified my visor was down, the crew closed the rider compartment hatch and secured it, while Bob Williams lined up behind the streamliner to assume the push-start position with his special wheelchair sidecar. Once the starter had given us the go-ahead Bob pushed me up to approximately 40mph at which point I let out the clutch and pushed the foot throttle to the floor. As the bike is geared very high it took a long time to get to the 11,500 rpm redline that our gear charts indicated we needed to hit our 185 mile objective on this run. The redline green lights started flashing and I backed off the throttle slightly, triggered the first to second gear shift and buried the throttle again. Once I reached the higher rpm's in second gear I noticed there appeared to be a force steering me slightly to the left so I corrected with the handlebars which respond in a normal motorcycle fashion.

As the green redline shift lights appeared again at 11,500 I made another speed shift to third gear. By now we were well into the first to second timed mile stretch and I was building rpm to enter the third to fourth timed mile stretch to get our official reading. As I was approaching the higher rpm's of third gear I ultimately would have reached 11,500 and then held that limit with my throttle all the way through that timed section.

However, I once again experienced a force which were side gusts of wind that started to steer the streamliner to the left. I tried to make a correction but the force of the sidegust was too strong and it became apparent to me that I was no longer in control of the steering and would ultimately crash off the course to the left. The streamliner rolled onto its left side just shy of 180 mph and was sliding nose-first until it encountered some pressure cracks and rough stuff off the groomed track surface. As it hit the first pressure crack, it launched the streamliner into the air and landed with a tremendous slam and then launched again. It skipped like a stone alternating between launching and slamming the surface 5 or 6 times. While all this was going on I was quite secure in my harness. I started to notice that the pitch blackness of the enclosed capsule was starting to let in daylight and realized that the rider compartment hatch was starting to open due to the pounding the streamliner was receiving. I tried to hold the hatch closed by the handlebars, when the bars and hatch were violently ripped out of my hands as the hatch disappeared. (witnesses described seeing the large engine cover panel plus one other flying through the air upon impact)

Realizing that the rider compartment may now fill up with salt as it scraped down the course, at that point I closed my eyes to keep the salt out. My knees were flailing about and I was aware of them contacting various compartment components and, as the hatch disappeared my left hand was flung violently against a structural member. After skipping across the salt for what was measured later to be over a half a mile, I finally came to a halt, quickly undid my leg belt and 7-point harness and arm restraints, exited feet first in a roll out as the streamliner ended up laying on its left side. I immediately got up, waved both arms over my head to let the safety support people know that I was all right. Their response was phenomenally quick. Within seconds there were medical, fire, and safety people bearing down in trucks. I was checked out to see if I knew what my name was, what day it was and if I knew who the President was, to which I answered 'Jimmy Carter'! After the medical team were satisfied that I was all right they released me. Meanwhile the very battered streamliner was impounded to go through an extensive forensic crash investigation. This is important as their findings impact future safety regulations.

My injuries consist of very battered knees and we're not sure yet if my left hand is broken as it is very badly swollen and beginning to develop varying degrees of yellow and purple. But all in all, after what witnesses described as one of the most spectacular crashes that they had seen it's a real tribute to the integrity of the structure that Bob Williams created that I can tell you this story.

I feel very bad that the streamliner is wrecked and it is obvious that the record attempt is over for this year."

The rider and crew of the 1150 Streamliner Back in the pits the crew tries to determine what went wrong. Shown in the photo, left to right are Bar, Bob Williams, Gay Pheifer, Dave Powell, and Dave Lloyd.

Bar does an interview after the crash Our videographer friend, John Hart who came to Bonneville with his wife, Sylvia to watch Bar go after his dream, interviews Bar after the crash. Bar is still a little wound up and his injuries are becoming obvious. Considering the crash, he was lucky. We'll update you on his condition in a day or two.

The streamliner has been impounded at this point pending an investigation. They take crashes at the Salt Flats very seriously. However, after much discussion it seems the crosswinds were a little too strong for the streamliner and pushed Bar off course into the 'rough stuff'.

Bar Hodgson at the Bonneville salt flats August 21, 2008 Unfortunately the damage to the streamliner is too severe to continue. We'll spend another day at the Salt Flats on Friday. Someone has told us there may be photos of the crash so we'll try to get a couple for the web-site. If you've been following the story we know you'd be interested to see them. Not the ending we were hoping to bring you but stay tuned for more news in a day or two.

Daily Updates: August 17 - August 18 - August 19 - August 20 - August 22

SUPERSHOW 2009 sponsored Land Speed Record attempt Slipstreamer

Streamliner Press Releases:
June 2 Press Release
July 2 Press Release

Read more about the development of Bar Hodgson's Streamliner project:

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