Dispatch from the desert: Speed Scotland hopes to break land speed record

Speed Scotland attempts to set a new world land speed record at the 62nd Annual Bonneville Speed Week.

Speed Scotland team's streamliner, Flower of Scotland, gets a push to the starting line on Saturday. The streamliners have no lower gears and are pushed to a speed of about 80 mph. Suzanne Ashe/CNET

TOOELE COUNTY, UTAH--The Speed Scotland team this week will try to beat the 12-year record of 313 mph in the Salt Flats of Utah at the 62nd annual running of Bonneville Speed Week.

At the starting line, Speed Scotland prepares for a timed run across the harsh salty desert track.

The team completed a "rookie run" on Saturday, reaching a top speed of 170 mph at the second mile marker of a five-mile run. Cars are clocked three times on the track. Each entry receives an average mph between the second and third mile, the third and fourth mile and the fourth and fifth mile. The team did not complete runs on Sunday or Monday.

The Scottish team, consisting of Derek Palmer, his 23-year-old son--also named Derek--and Rick Pearson, 35, of Switzerland, is one of more than 300 entries to hit the salt. The team is competing in the one-liter supercharged category.

The vehicles, which range from roadsters to motorcycles race on three different tracks--short, long, and mixed. The Scottish team's lightweight streamliner is competing in the long track (5 miles).

The driver of the streamliner, which has a very tight fit, has to lie down flat and slip into the cockpit before being strapped in by the pit crew.

The streamliner's controls are very basic--just an accelerator, clutch, and brake. The vehicle is also equipped with fire extinguishers and two parachutes.

Speed Scotland has won several British and European Championships, including the FIA European Michelin Supertouring Championship in 2001 and will continue in the competition until Friday.

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