Saturday, 15 September 2012

Day 15: Battle Mountain, NV

First an apology to Miss von Brandenburg.  I was planning to take the photos you requested last Sunday, but my ankle wasn't working.  After that I've been too busy.  Next year...

Further news on the Jan-Marcel cock-up from last night.  They recorded the entire run on one of the on-board cameras and got Neal Hartman to have a close look at it.  Based on the analysis of the video as the Cygnus enters and leaves the measured 200 metres they concluded that he was running over 79 mph, but it remains to be seen how official this can be.

Every time the bikes run, someone is assigned the onerous task of ensuring that the radios and emergency flares are collected from the chase cars and handed over to the sweep car for transport back to the start.  The name of this official has gradually mutated from "Radio Nanny" through "Radio Wrangler" to "Senior Vice-President For Communications Technology".  The chief person in the start area, however, has always been known as "The Starter".  Until this morning, when it was changed to "Inconsiderate Arrogant Bastard" courtesy of a couple of drivers displeased at being held up.  One character gave us grief as he was going to be late for a funeral.  We forbore to tell him that he was already twenty-four hours late for it.

Considering the wind conditions this morning speeds were quite respectable.  Todd Reichert and Bluenose (which as I type has just been painted blue!) was fastest with 69.8 mph.  Aurélien went down quite gently after being released by his sk8r d00d, while David Verbroekken, running without a speedo, came into the catch area at R17.  Fortunately some of the Delft PSOs had turned up and were able to catch him before he had to ride back to town.  Sergei had signed up to ride this morning but his foot was giving him a bit too much grief.

So, back to the Super 8 for the photo shoot of bikes, riders, designers, builders, menials, loud-mouthed Aussies etc.  Chief Timer Jun Nogami, whose day job is Chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Toronto, is apparently known to the PSOs of that august seat of learning as "Dr. No".  Show some rispek, boys.  Anyway, world+dog is milling around in the parking lot.  A siren is heard.  Crikey, it's the rozzers, in the shape of Officer A-10 (at least, that's how he pronounces it).  He claps Sebastiaan in handcuffs and pretends to arrest him, before getting everyone who broke the speed limit on the course to sign on the dotted line pending the issue of proper tickets at the awards bash tonight.  Well, all except Greg Thomas (who has fled the jurisdiction and must be presumed safe in California) and Yannick Lutz (thought to be hiding under his bed at the Big Chief).

After a certain delay photographs of most of the bikes still here were snapped.  We'd just started to disperse when the Annecy boys showed up chiz.  Ben is busy encouraging everyone to sign his bike and there is generally much good humour.  I have a large number of photos of all this stuff and no time to upload them today.  I doubt I'll be able to get in anything about this evening's runs either as the awards bash can go on until the staff of the Owl Club throw us bodily out of the side door and then continues in someone's room until the BEER runs out.  And I have to get up at a time for which the Aussies have a typically pithy, nay, vulgar expression.  Expect the second half of this entry tomorrow evening...

Chris Broome helps spoil Nitro's previously pristine finish

It is now tomorrow evening and I am forced to recreate Matters Arising from memory as Idiot Boy managed to mislay his notebook overnight.  The final set of runs of 2012 were somewhat wind-affected, with one notable exception.  Riders, crews and volunteers are gathered in a huddle at catch.  Over the wireless come the dulcet tones of Marieke the Radio Goddess: "Legal wind".  Sharp intake of breath all round.  "Thomas van Schaik".  Silence.  "Seventy-five point".  The decimals are drowned out by a cheer audible in town.  The sight of a two metre tall bloke in a blue and yellow skinsuit capering about like a capering thing on caper-inducing drugs is a sight to behold, though being hugged by such a creature is not recommended.  Doubly so if you've only recently had a shower.  Then he fell over, or at least ended up lying on the ground like a stranded fish.

And so to dinner.  Kind of.  The first item on the agenda is the presentation of door prizes, an opportunity to waste an hour or more of valuable drinking time in making sure no-one goes home without either a Trisled water bottle or a piece of useless tat.  Jonathan was worried that the Bradley Wiggins mask and stick-on sidies he had brought along would remain unclaimed but fortunately Matt and Will from the Cal Poly team both have a wild and woolly sense of the ridiculous.

Opinion is divided as to whether the stick-on sidies evoke the appearance of Bradley Wiggins or Ron Layman...
Cal Poly appear to have been fielding a ringer...

Further presentation of stifftickets from Mike "Statto" Mowett, Hats to those whose performance met the specified criteria (although The Mgt decided to give Thomas both a 70 and a 75 because of his having to wear that tall pointy thing for two years), trophies, fizz, etc. etc.  I managed to escape by copping a lift with Raymond Gage.  It is possible to fit three six-footers into the back of a Chevrolet Rubbish.  Just not advisable.

I have gone to get some ice prior to melting some of it using the contents of a bottle marked "Johnnie Walker" when I am accosted by Ellen.  "BEER in the lobby" she says, waving a fity-six pound bag of crisps.  "Thanks, but I'm going to bed."  Pause.  "I bet you never thought you'd hear me say that!"

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