Revisiting a Rotary Record – 1995 Bonneville

One of the best things about poking around the Racing Beat archives is the discovery of something that hasn’t been seen in decades – especially when something of rotary historical is uncovered!

In this case, we recently discovered in Jim’s desk a stack of time slips from the 1995 Bonneville Speedweek event. After sorting through the stack we located two time slips that Jim Mederer (Racing Beat co-founder and driver) received after making his two historic record-setting runs.

Each slip reflects the class (C/Blown Modified Sport), existing record, course direction, time/date, and speeds recorded through the three 1-mile timing sections. The speed at the end of each 3 mile run is factored into the determination of a possible new record speed.

The original slip on the left was handed to Jim after the 11:38 AM morning run, where the then current record of 241.480 MPH was eclipsed by the Racing Beat RX-7 with a speed of 242.270 MPH. You’ll note that Jim drove the RX-7 at speeds between 227-242 MPH for the entire length of the 3 mile course!

Bonneville timing procedures require that if an existing record has been eclipsed, those cars are held at the far end of the course and a return run is made later in the day, and then both runs are averaged. We can only image the long, stressful delay as competitors wait their turn for a second run. (If you aren’t familiar with a bit of Racing Beat history, back in 1992 Jim drove this same car at Bonneville, painted in a white color scheme, only to have the RX-7 take flight and become airborne a similar speeds.)

At 6:37PM it was finally Jim’s turn to make his return run. Years of preparation, sponsor expectations, and personal pride was on the line. At the end of the run Jim was handed his time slip, at the bottom it read 241.734MPH. Was this enough?

After the car came to a stop, Jim turned over the return run time slip and hastily penciled out the average between the two runs….242.002 MPH! He had set a new land speed record. Jim then wrote the new speed record on the front of the slip, showed it to the crew and safely stored it away, until now.

The Racing Beat RX-7 record of 242.002 MPH has stood for over 23 years, a remarkable feat considering most Bonneville records are eclipsed with just a few years. However, this record will never be broken now as the BMS class has since been retired, a fitting and lasting tribute to the talents and dedication of Racing Beat legend, Jim Mederer.

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