There came a surprising, unexpected phone call early this year, It was an invitation to join four other women in celebration of the International Day of the Woman. The ladies all work in the automotive and motorsports industry and all that was expected of us was to talk about our daily lives, each a different journey in male-dominated professions.

I’m ready at the drop of a pin to talk up land speed racing, but jabber on about myself? Not so much. It was the same for the other gals as well. Not a mantle we easily picked to carry.

This March 8th gathering took place at the Larz Anderson in Brookline, Massachusetts. It is America’s Oldest Car Collection and while the place carries a man’s name, Isobel Anderson was as good, if not a better driver, than her husband. She would have to be better, think about all the clothing “baggage” a gal was required to wear back her day. And the girl was a society taste-maker to boot, so dressing well was required, not optional.

This live storytelling event was billed as “Women’s Motormouth” A Vehicle of Human Experience and I was privileged to share the stage with  Samantha Briody, Sally Dawson, Dawn Hayes, and Jody Perewitz.

In the audience of some 150 people was Tim Baer, who writes for the the Motorcyclist’s Post.  Tim was kind enough to allow me to post his report here and it includes some short bios of each of the gals. Read his report here: http://www.landspeedproductions.biz/wp-content/uploads/Motormouth2018.pdf

What hit me afterwards was that one of the gals had yet to be be born when I began my motorsports career running around the country racing jet cars in the mid 1970s. Listening to each of these woman was a joy. Every one of them spoke with conviction and purpose, it was clear they enjoyed what they did and when you are happy in your labors, most often you are also good at what you do.

Dawn came to her path through abject tragedy and has stoically taken sadness and brought joy to thousands by teaching them how to safely ride a motorcycle. Sally Dawson owns and operates her own auto repair shop. Guys work for her! Samantha is a service writer at a dealership, who even at her tender young age, has amassed a respectable brain trust of info to get her clients, in and out of the shop deftly. And then there is Jody. Most would be impressed with what this gal does 9 to 5 at her dad’s custom motorcycle shop, but when you mention that she throws a leg over two-wheelers on the Bonneville Salt Flats and has set numerous records. . ., eyebrows rise exponentially.

The message? I think I speak for all of us when I say, ignore the naysayers, if you want it, go get it, whatever the career you desire. Girls, ladies, know this: there isn’t car, bike, or truck that knows what gender is at its controls. The machine will simply respond to input. Be your best and time will take care of the rest.

Carbinliner leaves Bonneville starting line

Age is superfluous at Bonneville. Young or old, it is all the same: wide-eyed wonder of a regal place constantly swirled with a riot of color, cackling thunder ripping out of homebuilt metal magic and the indescribable feeling of being so incredibly lucky to be there, to take part, to bear witness to the heart of motorsport still so pure and so welcoming.

 

You marvel that it exists at all.

That’s what coming to the Bonneville Salt Flats for the first time does to most everyone. It doesn’t matter what you might have read, heard, been told or watched, the real deal is a gargantuan knockout. Some freely admit this while others pretend not to be affected.

Oh, but pity those liars in denial for they rob themselves of pure joy, of being immersed in the saline speed dimension. Such people remind me of some teenagers that are so wrapped up in image and showing off the latest trendy thing that life’s most important parts rocket past them.

Forget the speed machines for a moment and simply consider the place. It is such a place that astronauts use the salt’s splendid immensity and stark, shimmering whiteness as a landmark whilst orbiting the earth.

Such a place that if you get your butt up and out of bed before the sun and manage to be present for the fiery orb’s awakening then you will be treated to unexpected grandeur, a brain-stretching vista that often invokes a dose of humanity humility wrapped up in a personal outpouring of thankfulness.

There is something inviting about being reduced, put in your place, made to understand how stinking small and insignificant you are in relationship to the planet. It made me feel honored to be there and later, it made me very protective of the place which is why I am intensely annoyed with the BLM for not being likewise invested.

If you drive out from Salt Lake City you get a good sense about the place as it requires you cross the salt to arrive at the access point just outside Wendover UT/NV – take your pick there are two of them with the state line painted right down the main drag.

If you have lots of coin, and few brains, you can try to access the salt from the interstate but make sure you have cell coverage or a working CB because when you get stuck you will be stuck like nothing else you’ve ever encountered.

Spinning your wheels only drives the vehicle deeper into the plastic-like mud that has been trapping things since well before the Conestoga wagons got mired. The salt flats are thick in the middle but thin out to practically nothing on the edges.

And yes, it is salt, just like the stuff that comes out of the shaker at home. Taste it. Most everyone does whether they admit it or not.

Driving in the from the south, on Highway 93, is a ‘peek-a-boo’ way to see the salt as the mountains rise and fall giving you only a hint of the place here and there along the road until it opens up and wows you as you near the Wendovers. The most dramatic way for salt virgins is from the West as the Silver Island mountain range blocks the view of the salt until you pass through the Wendovers and take the #1 exit.

sunrise on the salt Sadly, the roadside dramatic reveal has somewhat withered. The immense salt playa has shrunk, the bright white salt that once hugged either side of Interstate 80 is patchwork now, dirty in other spots mixed with the mud, or absent altogether and the ubiquitous sagebrush has moseyed back onto the plain.

I’ve seen this happen in just the past 20 years, but worry not, there is plenty left to astound you and for most racers to try their luck upon. Let’s talk about those racers, those wonderful, marvelous, inventive amateur folk who put on the best damn mechanical circus in the whole wide world.

Know this: You can be one too. Yes. You can earn a time slip driving your own car, truck, or bike at some events. Just try that at Indy or Daytona.

I don’t care if you don’t know a spark plug from a wheel hub, walking through the pits and staging lanes up to the starting line is a visual treat on multiple levels. Watching the speed machines roll off on a run, or flash through the mile-markers is an eye-candy spectacular. Lucky you if you get to see a parachute blossom.

There are hundreds of cars, trucks and motorcycles in race ready form, each the dearly held dream of someone about to face the truth of the timing clocks.

None of these speed machines come to the salt all by their lonesome. Each has a team, a few are big deals, but most are a small gatherings of like-minded speed hopefuls who will be delighted to tell you darn near anything you might want to ask of them.

This is the core of land speed racing, what gives the sport its fantastic edge over every other form of motorized competition on the planet: the people!

Be bold, walk up astarting line aerialnd introduce yourself, ask them about the machine, who designed it, built it, drives it and THEN ask how fast it goes.

This is a welcoming sport in an inhospitable place. Be assured, it experience will last long after you return to “normal” life. If you experience an unexplained sadness or sense of loss, you have been afflicted with “salt fever” and the only way to medicate away the symptoms is to return as soon as possible.

May 29, 2017 – Speedway, IN – Winners of the All American Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association National Competition were announced just prior to the 100th running of the Indy500. Entries were judged “blind,” no judge was aware of the writer or where the work was published. The works sent for judging were published in the 2016 calendar year.

FIRST | Magazine Feature Writing | New Age: Powering Today’s Youth Market | PRI Magazine AUG 2016

AUG2016_Youth_PRI

FIRST | Magazine Column Writing | Law & Order: Inside Rulemaking | PRI Magazine April 2016

APR2016_Rules_PRI

FIRST | Photography – People | “Oh No, Not Again” | www.powerperformancenews.com
FIRST | Photography – Print Action | “Velocity Victory: Don Vesco Sets World Record” | 
Position Paper for Save the Salt and Utah Alliance

SECOND | Online – Feature Report | “Slower Going at this Year’s Bonneville Speed Week” |  www.hemmings.com

https://www.hemmings.com/blog/?p=712282

SECOND |Photography – Action | “How to Shred a “Chute North of 375MPH” | www.hemmings.com

https://www.hemmings.com/blog/?p=712282

THIRD | Online – Technical Report | “Supersonic Truth Telling” | www.theengineer.co.uk

https://www.theengineer.co.uk/land-speed-record-progress-from-before-computers-to-after-digitisation/

“There are serious in-roads being made to encourage children to consider motorsports as a career, in addition to simple enthusiasm,” said Noeth providing background on the work. “Those who made it to the top recognize the difficulties made all the more tougher without basic guidelines. That is changing, and youngsters are getting practical help. Rule making is a thankless, essential job from which racers would derive more benefit by simply contributing to the process.

At Bonneville, its hard NOT to get a great shot, but its all for naught unless you can share the moment with other eyeballs. This girl is very grateful to Shawn Brereton at Xceleration Media Group and Dan Strohl at Hemmings for the space and recognizing the hard-charging amateur racers. The cover shot of the late Don Vesco has sadly come to represent the last time land speed racers had a safe, long course upon which to race. At the time, it wasn’t the type of history I figured that I would be recording. The exuberance of the moment is steadily morphing into speed eulogy for the beloved international speedway. ”

The American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) is the oldest and largest organization devoted to auto racing coverage. Founded in 1955 in Indianapolis, AARWBA has members throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.

To encourage excellence in the coverage of motor sports, AARWBA media members submit their best work for the annual media contest. Categories are for written, broadcast, online and photographic work. Winners present a true testament to the growth of the sport of auto racing.

3 Nov, 2016  |  Written by  |  under Journalism, Uncategorized

The long held hoimages-2pe of teenage left field bleacher bum was made manifest in Cleveland tonight.

Gone was Leo Durocher, Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Billy Williams, Randy Hundley, Billy Williams, Ferguson Jenkins, Glen Beckett, Don Kissinger. . .

How the hell do you remember these things after nearly 50 years?

Because your little desperate fan heart so was so damn heartbroken when the season went into the toilet, aka the September swoon. I was there, in Wrigley Field,  the day the music died. No man could break my heart more than the Cubs that year. Not even the kind words from Ernie Banks whom I met years later on an airplane could assuage my sadness.

That sting was finally extinguished tonight, in the bottom of the 10th, after the rain delay when the miracle made its move and manager Madden finally smiled.

The best part was I got to walk all over St Louis today with my Cub shirt on –  in the afternoon, reminding any daft creature who tried to take a piece out of me that bird-watching was such a boring thing to do. Today I dared to have hope and today my Cubbies delivered. The nice guys finished first. On top.

And I couldn’t tell the name of any player in any position if my life depended on it. It’s been so long since I let my heart care.

Thanks boys. . . .images-62952bbc84443b853379e568f0ec0f02c

May 28, 2016– Speedway, IN – Winners of the 2015 All American Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) National Competition were announced in the IMS Media Center prior to the 100th running of the Indy500. Photojournalist Louise Ann Noeth earned a pair of First-Place awards and an Honorable Mention.

1st | Newspaper Feature Writing
The Inner Workings of Motorsports Sponsorship | Performance Racing Industry

1st | Magazine Technical Writing
Rotors, Pads and Calipers | Performance Racing Industry

Honorable Mention | Photography – Print People
“454 to 0 in Only 2 Miles” | Gearheads For Life

“ The past year has been spent focused on getting the Bonneville Salt Flats restored as well as getting comfortable writing from the business angle for PRI Magazine,” explained Noeth, “Both presented serious challenges to updating skill sets that kept me slightly uncomfortable all year long. I like it that way.”

Noting that PRI Magazine’s Dan Schechner and Meredith Kaplan-Burns are the kind of pros you want editing your work, she added, “They demand clarity, provide comprehensive assignment direction and stay connected throughout the process ensuring that readership is the ultimate winner. And a special “shout out” goes to Tim Cindric who graciously shared his business acumen that set the baseline for the sponsorship piece.

As for the photography nod, she wrapped up with: “Too bad still photos are silent because my shot of Tom Burkland’s Bonneville Streamliner always reminds me of the nervous “ping, ping, ping” of the screaming-hot engine parts cooling under the hand-formed aluminum body work.”

2015 AARWBA win_ 411 spent chutes

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Founded in 1955, AARWBA is the oldest and largest organization devoted to auto racing coverage with members throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. To encourage excellence in the coverage of motor sports, AARWBA media members submit their best work for the annual media contest. Categories are for written, broadcast, online and photographic work. Winners present a true testament to the growth of the sport of auto racing. All magazine and newspaper judging is performed by an independent panel from a major journalism school. Entries — published in the 2015 calendar year — were judged “blind,” no judge was aware of the writer or where the work was published.
Judges: Photography – Prof. Emeritus Susan Fleck, Pulliam School of Journalism, Franklin College, Indiana; Magazine & Newspaper Writing – Prof. Emeritus Jerry Miller, Pulliam School of Journalism, Franklin College, Indiana and AARWBA Contest Chairman

Read the Winning Entries:
Feature Writing — www.landspeedproductions.biz/wp-content/uploads/PRI_NOV2015_Sponsorship.pdf
Technical Writing — www.landspeedproductions.biz/wp-content/uploads/AUG2015PRI_Brakes_edited.pdf
Complete listing of 2015 winners: www.aarwba.org

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