Monday, 10 September 2012

Day 10: Battle Mountain, NV

05:30 is not a civilised time to get up when one is on one's holibobs.  It just isn't.  We were out and ready to run as soon as the skool bus had passed through - both parents and staff take a dim view of their kiddies being twenty minutes late for skool because of a bunch of oddballs playing silly buggers in the desert.  The field is pretty huge this year, in spite of the no-shows, so there were no fewer than six groups running over the 2.5 mile qualifying course.  Which meant six runs up the course for me and the Crappy Chrysler.  Thus I discovered its maximum speed to be just shy of 120 mph.  This is actually 6-7 mph faster than the Mighty Mustang of last year, but that was artificially limited - by Ford, the terrible gits, not the rental company - whereas the Chrysler is naturally so slow they didn't bother.

The weather was pretty calm for the earlier groups but the wind began to pick up later.  Big surprise number one: Barbara Buatois dropped the Varna BM at launch; it later transpired that someone had made a bit of a horlicks of adjusting the gadget which limits steering movement.  These things have little enough steering lock as it is.

Steve Nash launches Barbara Buatois, shortly before she fell over
Small surprise number one was that Larry Lem decked the Glowworm back-to-back tandem, with Phil Plath in the tail-gunner's seat, at launch.  Big surprise number two was Eric Ware in the Wedge being taken off the road by a crosswind = surprising as Eric has ridden it in wind conditions which have most people loading their steeds back into the van and heading off to drink BEER somewhere quiet.  When he went off the road the top of the fairing came off and was badly damaged.  Eric injured his knee and has some apparently spectacular grazes on his back, while the bike's chainset was damaged.  Perhaps the worst thing, though, was that the transverse tube to which the bike's subframe is clamped was torn clean out of the tub.  In spite of all this, spanner-wielder-in-chief Mark Anderson reckons it can be fixed.  Hopefully he's right as it's a long drive here from Minneapolis.

Huge surprise number one was the speed of Aussie Gareth Hanks in Completely Overzealous, the Trisled team's trike.  He was clocked at over 68 mph and didn't believe it.  Although trikes are not officially recognised as a separate class, this was the highest speed yet seen from a three-wheeler, handily eclipsing the 66.1 mph set by Chuck Royalty in Raymond Gage's machine Orion in 2008.

Team Trisled's vehicles: Completely Overzealous (L) and Nitro
I haven't got access to the full list of results yet but quickest of all over the short course was Jan-Marcel van Dijken in the Cygnus.  This machine now sports a custom top for each of the three riders; Jan-Marcel has one with a camera for forward vision, as does Thomas van Schaik.  Thomas' lid also has a bulge in it to accommodate the big lanky idiot's excessive height.  David Verbroekken is sticking with last year's Periscoop(tm).

The afternoon was spent mostly on Teh Intarwebs before heading back out into the dark heart of Nevada, where the wind comes from.  It was, quite simply, a rubbish evening in this respect, with no rider getting in a legal run in spite of our holding off the start a bit later than initially planned.  For the first time that I can recall we set off twelve bike/rider combinations in three groups rather than the usual two.  Eleven of the twelve starters record speeds over 60 mph.  The twelfth, Sebastiaan Bowier in Human Power Team Delft's new machine VeloX2, blew a tyre somewhere north of 70mph and cartwheeled into the countryside.  The bike had been fitted with seat belts after a previous high-speed crash and Sebastiaan was unhurt.

David Verbroekken also crashed after a visit from the P+nct+r+ Fairy, but his occurred shortly before the 200 and he was able to get through the traps with the rear of the machine dragging on the ground.  This year we are using an optical timing system; had we been using the old one, which is triggered by tape switches on the road, the timing system would have been comprehensively b0rked.  Again I don't have the full results yet but again the irrepressible Gareth Hanks was second fastest, this time exceeding 69 mph.  Fastest of all was the Glowworm, this time captained by Tom Amick, with Phil Plath as stoker again.  Their speed exceeded the 2002 record of Andy Jacques-Mayne and Lance Doherty in the Bearcuda.  That machine's designer, Neal Hartman, is here for the fourth year in a row, making a documentary film about the event.  With better weather we should be seeing some new records...

John Jackson & Larry Lem prepare Glowworm for its > 69mph run
I refilled my motorcar this morning.  I have used a quarter of it already.


  1. Thanks for the updates! I wish I could be there - this whole growing up and having a job business is overrated. I will see what I can do about that in the next few years to have a (working) bike and race again. Take care, Whittney :)

  2. Never have I laughed so much on a: "Ranch Road Sentry Duty" V. J.