Aug 19, 2012 / 5:00 am
For nearly everyone, there's 'The One.'
The one that makes your heart race and your palms get sweaty. The one that you would lavish all your hard earned money on and spare no expense for.
And the one that you will always want to drive as fast as you can.
For Summerland's Dick Knorr, 'The One' is a 1970 Opel GT, and he's been trying to make his go faster than anyone else in the world for over a decade.
On August 13, that finally happened.
Together with partner and driver Frank Kinney, they set a new world record during Speed Week at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Wendover, Utah.
Competing in the E Gas Modified Sport category, their average speed from two consecutive runs of 208.974 MPH shattered the previous mark of 202 MPH.
Their fastest run was just under 210 MPH.
To be eligible in their class, a vehicle's engine must be under 260 cubic inches, the Opel's is 254, and the vehicle must be a two seater.
"We've been chasing it for 11 years," says Knorr. "We almost got it last fall, in September, but got rained out, so this year we went back with a better motor.
The two Summerland retirees have been anything but idle ever since Dick found the car of his dreams 13 years ago.
"Dick always wanted an Opel," says Kinney "And always wanted to go land speed racing, so that's where it started. He got it going."
A year later Kinney joined him and started helping him.
"After the first year he discovered that if we want to go fast it's going to cost some money. He needed a partner and then I bought in, but it's just been Dick's dream to own an Opel and go fast."
As for what it's like, Kinney says the experience is pretty cool.
"You're doing five kilometres a minute, it's really neat. The markers are about a quarter mile apart and they're clicking by pretty quick. When you get going 200 MPH things are kind of squiggly and well, it's just really fun."
Speed Week is the biggest event of the year on the flats with racers from all over the world descending on Utah to compete in a variety of different classes.
The fastest vehicles will top 400 MPH.
With so many competitors, it's not easy to stand out from the crowd, but setting a world record will help.
"We were fortunate to be noticed by a group from Belgium that were doing a movie, so they did an interview with Frank," says Knorr.
As a result, the Black Opel Racing Team will gain notoriety in Europe.
Keeping the Opel going has been a labour of love for the pair as they not only finance the operation, but do the work as well.
"We do most of the work ourselves because we don't have a big sponsor, although Lordco has been really good to us over the years. Frank and I mainly fund this out of our wallets," says Knorr
But to get fast enough to break a world record the pair needed new ideas and concepts. Ideas, Knorr says, which are often provided by their competition.
"We share information, parts and tools. We all help each other. If they have a better idea they'll share it with you. The guy that's our biggest fan is the engine builder for the car that held the record for 11 years, so he would come over and cheer us on, wanting us to beat his own record."
As for what's next, that's simple. They just have to figure out how to go faster.
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