SI Vault
Edited by Martin Kane
June 14, 1971
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June 14, 1971


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The challenge was issued by Gary Gabelich, present holder of the world land speed record, to Craig Breedlove, former holder of the record. It called for a head-to-head drag race on the flats, with the winner collecting $500,000.

The sound barrier on the western Utah flats is 720 mph and Gabelich traveled 622.407 in his Blue Flame rocket on Oct. 23, 1970, thereby beating the 600.601 mark set by Breedlove in the Spirit of America in 1965.

Details of the challenge, including where the $500,000 is to come from, have not yet been worked out, but Labor Day 1972 is the target date for the race.

"I don't know whether we will start from a dead stop, travel the six-mile course, turn around and come back over the same course, with the winner determined by the best two-way time," Gabelich says, "or whether it will be just the first man over the finish line at the end of six miles."

Gabelich told Breedlove that the car in front would have the advantage when the sound barrier is broken, Breedlove recalls.

"When he breaks the sound barrier, he said, the concussion will knock me off the track. Well, I'm not worried because I plan to be in front when that happens."


Teams of sharpshooters will undertake to kill 2,000 elephants in Uganda during the next few months. Indeed, Murchison Falls National Park ecologists may increase the kill to as many as 4,000 out of a total of 8,500 in the area. The reason: great elephant herds have reduced a once forested woodland to grass, to the detriment of their own and other species. If the herd is not thinned, there may be no elephants at all in Uganda by the turn of the century.

While Africa may be having a (temporary) surplus of elephants, it seems that the only countries lacking lions are in Africa, so France will begin exporting lions there in September.

"Our lion population is proliferating dangerously," explains Count Paul de la Panouse, owner of a private game preserve at Ch�teau de Thoiry. "Seventy lions are born every year in the Paris area alone. European and American zoos are filled with lions and lion cubs."

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