Friday, 16 September 2011

Day 14: Battle Mountain, NV

Rain.  It rained quite heavily overnight and the course was still quite damp when we rolled out this morning.  This led to the timing team having difficulty in getting the tapes to stay put - normally they are stuck down to the road with gaffer tape.  Ingenious solutions offered included someone going back to town to borrow a leaf blower or a weed burner, siphoning some motor-spirit out of someone's vehicle and setting fire to the road, or calling in the USAF to drop some napalm, but fortunately such drastic measures were not required.

Steam.  In the aftermath of the rain, it was much more humid than is usually the case round here, and a few people had issues with their windscreens misting up.  Barclay Henry parked the Backslider and went back for another try once the air had warmed up a bit; Tom Amick managed to get the Flying Cucumber down the course by keeping the road's centre line in view through his side window, until a combination of seeing someone in a hi-vis vest and hearing someone else shout "STOP!!" encouraged him to hit the brakes.

Speed.  Winds were negligible, so speeds were fairly good except for the once-again-luckless Tiffany Underwood.  The Firefly ate its chain again, which meant some high-speed pit work to collect the machine, haul it back to the start and fix things in time for Kara Snyder to have a run in the next session.  And to think that they ditched last year's Rohloff hub gear in favour of the supposedly more reliable disraeli gears...  Fastest run of the morning was by Ron Layman in Primal 2, with a 64+, slightly ahead of David Verbroekken in Cygnus.  Full Friday morning results.

Sad to report that while Jun Nogami made a reasonable start in Vortex this morning, he stacked it about a mile into the run when accelerating through 40 mph.  He's undamaged but the bike's fairing has a split in it.  It's still ridable but looks as though it'll need some patching if Todd Reichert is to crack 75.  The Toronto team almost didn't make it back to town at all, as their van was telling them it wanted feeding.  John Jackson and one of the Firefly team vehicles shepherded them all the way back.

I had offered to look after the radios and drive the sweep car today, that Jonathan might have a chance to see the bikes running at speed.  This is why there is only one picture so far today, and it is this:

This, it would seem, is Mikey's breakfast...

I did not got to the drag races this afternoon, preferring to catch up on missed sleep, but it seems that Kara Snyder managed to trouser more of Robert Barnett's prize money than anyone else.  Once I'd dragged myself out into the open again, it was time for the evening runs.  The much-anticipated standoff between Sam and Sebastiaan was not going to happen tonight, as the latter elected to take a night off.  Rain fell on the way out to the course, but things seemed OK once we'd arrived.  Except for the wind, of course.

We held off the road closure as long as possible, until Tom Amick called in from the first ranch road, four miles from the timing station.  "It's raining" he said.  Two minutes later he was back on the radio.  "I got hail!"  Then it was the road flooding.  Investigation by George Leone and the Krauses determined that conditions were too dangerous, and the night's running was cancelled, even though catch was still bone-dry.  This changed pretty quickly, with thunder and lightning thrown into the mix for good measure.

Looking south from catch, 18:15 Friday

As someone said, that's racing, and the consequences to us were rather less severe than those suffered by the spectators at the Reno Air Races at about the time we were setting off for the course.

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