Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Day 11: Battle Mountain, NV

The usual crew of red-eyed zombies made its collective way out to the course in the pre-dawn gloom, did Stuffs and then hung around in the desert for a long time while qualibobs were run. 
By the time we'd got the start gubbins moved out to the full five mile course, the wind was starting to edge upwards, with the result that Frenchman Yannick Lutz' first full run in the Altair 2, while over 70 mph, didn't have a legal wind speed.  Irrespective of the direction thereof, the wind has to be below 6 km/h for the run to count chiz.

Back to town and over to the Civic Center to show off the machines to some of the local Tinies. 
I can see why they might want Sam's autograph, but mine?  Still, we got free pizza and sandwiches and plenty of laughs.

Then back out to 305 for the evening record runs.  First to run was Barbara Buatois of France, riding the Varna Diablo 3 in which Sam broke the world record last year.  Barbara only appeared on the scene a couple of years ago, since which she's been World Champion three times, completed Paris-Brest-Paris on a back-to-back recumbent tandem and broke the women's Hour record twice in one weekend.  So the general consensus was that she'd be in with an excellent chance of beating Lisa Vetterlein's 66.6 mph record from 2005.  She clocked 69.2 mph, but the wind was up to its tricks again and hers was the only run of the evening with too much wind.  From Wednesday on she'll be running in the second session when the wind is usually better-behaved.  Both Larry Lem's Scimitar and James Schroeder in the Specter II were visited by the P+nct+r+ Fairy; while the latter occurred as the machine was just coming to a halt, Larry's front tyre let go about two miles into the run.  He managed to wrestle the machine down to about 20 mph before dropping it, but the Scimitar's luvverly blue finish
is looking decidedly second-hand...

First to run in the second session was the Whittingham and, as expected, he duly broke his own record, though his 82.4 mph did not represent a vast improvement...  Sam does reckon, however, that there's more to come - the weather is forecast to improve daily until the weekend and he says it always takes him a while to get used to the dry air and altitude, living as he does on a fairly small island.  The new road surface is certainly having an impact as people seemed to be going fast straight away.  Yannick was again over 70 and Fast Freddy Markham over 75, a personal best for Jason Erickson with a 67 and likewise for Eric Ware with a 65.  Last year Eric and fellow Minnesotan Mark Anderson worked 16 hours a day for the entire week to get the Wedge running, finally managing a single 34 mph run on the final evening of the event, so it made us all pretty chuffed that their hard work had paid off.

So, the first new record of the week has been set, and there's the prospect of more to come.  Actually, this is not strictly true as we've had another one on Wednesday morning, but I'm not telling you who, what or how fast until later.

Thought for the day:  the course sweep car is supposed to go fast.  So, Ford Motor Company, let me tell you that not only is 210 horsepower a lamentably low output for a four-litre V6 engine, but if that 210 horsepower can only propel your product to a poxy 114 mph, your engineers need to be sent to the camps for re-education.

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