KCBS_740 BONNEVILLE SALT FLATS (AP) — Thousands of racers have descended on Utah’s world-famous Bonneville Salt Flats after two years of cancellations.

They came this week from as far away as New Zealand, Japan and Russia to this stark landscape about 100 miles west of Salt Lake City. They’re spending a week trying to beat the clock, some topping speeds of 400 mph.

While they’re glad to be back at Speed Week, which runs through Friday, it’s a bittersweet return for racing enthusiasts after a two-year hiatus marked by disappointments and accusations that federal land managers have failed to protect the unique area.

U.S. officials partly blame wet weather and say they’re trying to preserve the salt by requiring a nearby mining company to pump hundreds of tons of brine onto the flats each year.

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