El Mirage Lake is located in the high desert near Adelanto, California, approximately 70 miles southeast of Los Angeles. More than 50 years ago, Southern California hot rod enthusiasts discovered that the flat, smooth, dry lakebed was perfect for land-speed record attempts. In the beginning there were only informal rules and regulations, little valid enforcement, and some very enthusiastic racers with a mind to go as fast as their equipment would allow. Innovation, mechanical ingenuity, and brute horsepower were applied to the cars and motorcycles of the day to elicit the most speed possible out of a given vehicle.
When land speed racing was still young, a group of racers who had been using the dry lakebed for several years as a high-speed land-speed record track decided to establish an organization to implement and enforce safety procedures, create vehicle classifications, and generally improve and promote the sport. The resulting Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) is celebrating 61 years of organized high-speed racing in the safest and consistent manner possible.
Land speed racing continues to be strictly an all-volunteer sport. No volunteers would mean, no racing. Voluntary participation by all the various hot rod club members and their families is what continues to make El Mirage Lake racing one of the safest, most enjoyable racing events going these days. This is family racing at its best.
Typically, there are five single-day racing events per year: May, June, July, September, October. There is also a two-day event held in November. All vehicles are subjected to and must pass a stringent technical inspection on the day prior to the race, which is Saturday, with racing commencing on Sunday morning. Saturday is also the day the course is coned-off by SCTA members using orange high-visibility cones. Sunday starts with a drivers meeting, patrol meeting, announcements, and our national anthem. Several patrol stations are established along the racing course to monitor passing race vehicles, and they provide course information and conditions to the timing tower at the start line. The timing tower is the controlling factor in course safety and the patrols are under the direct control of the timing stand. The course is only clear when the tower clears the course and the clearance is given to the starter. Safety vehicles are on standby to provide emergency services as needed.
The El Mirage course is relatively short compared to Bonneville. At El Mirage the length of the course from the starting line to the lights is 1.33 miles. The last 132 feet of the course are timed to convert time to speed, and the shutdown portion of the course is 1.33 miles.
The order in which vehicles line up at the starting line is determined by their current season points standing. Entries must be members of one of the various clubs within the SCTA. There is a "guest" option for non-members which is limited to time only (no points can be accrued). All drivers or riders must be licensed for the particular speed bracket they will be participating in-no exceptions. New drivers and riders start slow and build up to where they want to be licensed to run. This is why El Mirage Lake racing continues to be one of the safest powered racing sports of today.
Camping overnight on the dry lakebed is permitted as long as you follow the basic laws and rules which include: No open fires, no waste dumping, and if you packed it in, you must pack it out. There are speed and helmet regulations posted at the entrance to El Mirage and these regulations are strictly enforced by Federal officers.
During the summer racing months, it can get very hot, windy, and dusty. Bring your own shade, and bring sunscreen to keep yourself comfortable. Bring plenty of drinking water. There is usually a food and beverage vendor near the starting line, as well as a souvenir shop selling all the racing stickers and patches one could want. There is no charge to watch the races. This is one of the best entertainment bargains left in the world. Tune your FM radio to 88.7 to listen to racing announcements and race results. If you would like further information about the SCTA, please visit their website at www.scta-bni.org.