Teams are welcomed by Bolivian government in Potosí, one of the highest cities in the world!
FIM World Records competitors and teams were guests at a celebration in Potosí hosted by the local government.
Anticipation and excitement are high in Bolivia at the Salar de Uyuni as competitors anxiously await the start of Cook’s Top Oil Land Speed Shootout. The event, scheduled to begin on July 10, has been held up due to shipping delays of the equipment containers, but is expected to get underway as early as tomorrow, Thursday July 12. In the meantime, the teams and crew traveled to the city of Potosí, one of the highest cities in the world at 4,067 m (13,343 ft), where they were guests of the Bolivian government.
“We had an amazing trip to Potosí,” said competitor Erin Sills. “We’re waiting on containers so what else are we going to do but explore the local culture and community? We were delighted to be the guests of the governor of the state of Potosí, which is where the Salar de Uyuni is. They brought out their finest and presented us with a dance and some local food and a tour of the mines. We learned a significant amount about how their culture evolved and how the town of Potosí was built around the rich silver mines in the mountain. It was great.”
The tour included a trip up “Cerro Rico” (the rich mountain) to a searing altitude of 4,390 m (14,400 feet) where silver and ore have been mined for nearly 500 years. Then it was to the city center to see the ornate colonial buildings including the cathedral, and a tour of the Casa Nacional de la Moneda, formerly the Potosí royal mint and now a museum dedicated to art and mining history of the city.
But the pursuit of FIM World Records is foremost on the minds of the competitors and teams, who remain eager to get out on the Salar de Uyuni to make history.
“I think everybody’s hopes are pretty high,” said competitor Ralph Hudson. “We’re all hoping Mike Cook’s container will come first because there’s probably a day’s worth of course prep before anybody can run. The anticipation is wonderful and horrible at the same time. [laughs] We just can’t wait to be doing something.”
“I think we all feel like we’re the kid the night before they go to Disneyland,” Sills said with a laugh. “They wake up in the morning and they still can’t go to Disneyland but they’re going the next day! We’re told the containers going to arrive later today, so our hope is that we’re able to perfect the course and the race teams will do some prep work to do to get ready to go out and make some history!”
Ack Attack pilot Rocky Robinson agreed, adding, “we still have four days to run, so if everything goes smooth from here forward, it’s going to be one heck of a show.”
Text and Pictures by Jean Turner, FIM