Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Day 11: Battle Mountain, NV

Rather foolishly, I switched the waker off at five.  Foolishly because I then went straight back to sleep for another hour and a quarter, thereby preventing me from having more than one cup of brown drink coffee before being obliged to head out to the course for the morning's qualifying runs.  Two groups of four riders were set to start.

Group one was Jan Bos (Velox S), Trefor Evans (Bluenose), Thomas van Schaik (Cygnus) and Damjan Zabovnik (Eivie 4).  The first three all got down the course successfully, but Damjan once again encountered starting problems and withdrew to lick his wounds.


Velox S with rider Jan Bos waits for the signal to start


Damjan launch FAIL
After the first heat there was the Gunfight At The OK Parking Lot.  Thomas attempted to shoot me with his banana, but he missed and I was able to zap him with my radio, temporarily in taser mode.

Back up to the start for the second heat.  Runners were Dave Sianez (Big Nose Pete), Calvin Moes (Bluenose), Florian Kowalik (Norus) and Sergei Dashevski (Tativa 3).  All were successful and Florian, who is fourteen, earned himself a 50 mph hat into the bargain.


Tativa about to set off


Calvin in Bluenose ready to start
Then a long pause to relocate people and Stuffs up to the start of the full course.  Only four bike/rider combinations this morning: Ellen van Vugt (Velox S2), Cam Robertson (Bluenose), Alex Selwa (Vortex) and Calvin Moes (Bluenose).  The morning results may be viewed here.  For no readily apparent reason (since he hadn't even attempted a qualification run), Mike Mowett had a crack too, but gave up after falling three times as soon as the bike was released.  Damjan was also allowed to run on condition that his team caught him at the 2.5 mile mark.  This time he got away successfully and the team made a perfect job of catching him.  I didn't get any pictures of any of this.  Soz.

Time to take the distance marker signs down.  But what's this?  Jonathan Woolrich has got his motor-car stuck?  Oh dear!  Some sturdy types were sent from catch and, since Jonathan is driving a Fraud Siesta this year, were able to get him back on terra firma.  On arriving back at the Civic Centre Scott Wilson was given a stern ticking off by someone from the Sheriff's Department for not indicating or slowing down sufficiently when turning in the car park.  Jun Nogami has also received a ticking off, for posting the results to the Web before reading them out at the post-race meeting.  The meeting came and went eventually, but there was about half an hour of doing bugger-all before it started.  I wanted to kill seven different people.  At the close, Thomas (the Prince of the Cones) asked when we would be putting a couple of orange marker cones a couple of hundred metres before catch, as previously requested.

We already had.

For the benefit of Mr Middleton, and Mr Knight, and the Home Secretary's private secretary's secretary's assistant secretary's assistant, Mr Obree did not run this morning as he had not completed his gearing-up exercise.

All the machinery was then gathered in the building for what they are now calling a "Show & Shine".  With the number of starting mishaps encountered thus far, "shine" may be the wrong word.  As usual the place was invaded with Tinies asking often rather sensible questions and getting any unfamiliar adult to autograph things.  I managed to avoid most of this by going back to the Super 8 and having a BEER prior to returning for the free lunch.


A Tiny extricates himself from Primal 2
Velox 3 spare fairing
Eivie 4 separates into two to allow rider ingress and egress
Steve Nash's T-shirt
Many more photos from the Civic Centre over on Flickr - link at top right.  With nothing better to do I uploaded them after lunch.

It was looking like a fast day as we arrived at the course, where Al Krause suggested we move the catch warning cone to the middle of timing before Auré's run.  Naughty man.  We were intending to run fifteen riders again and for once the wind was legal for all runs except the very first.  Heat one consisted of Todd Reichert (Bluenose), Alex Selwa (Vortex), Blake Anton (Primal 2), Wil Baselmans (Velox 3) and Florian Kowalik (Norus).  Sadly Todd crashed Bluenose after it had an attack of the wobs, possible as a result of running a radial Michelin on the back and a regular tyre on the front.  Speeds were good, Wil clocking in excess of 73 mph.


Florian being Not Nervous
With Bluenose being badly damaged enough to be unable to run tomorrow, let alone tonight, the second heat was down to four machines: March Jutras (Vortex), Jan Bos (Velox S), Ellen van Vugt (Velox S2) and Phil Plath/Randy Gillett (Glowworm).  All runs were fast - Marc and Ellen well over 65 mph and Jan and the tandem over 70.  I followed Glowworm's chase car down the course and had to keep up a genuine 75 mph to catch up.  They came within a whisker of breaking the record set in the same bike last year.  They are planning to fit higher gearing tomorrow.

The final heat contained Sebastiaan Bowier (Velox 3), Ben Goodall (Nitro), Barbara Buatois (Varna Tempest), Aurélien Bonneteau (Altaïr 4) and Jan-Marcel van Dijken (Cygnus).  Ben and Barbara were over 70; the other three over 75.  Auré was fastest of the day with a 76.5 mph run, and he managed a textbook performance in catch. Results are here.

Purple anodised bits, Ben?  That's so 90s!
For the benefit of Mr Middleton, and Mr Knight, and the Home Secretary's private secretary's secretary's assistant secretary's assistant, Mr Obree did not run this evening as there was still work to be done on the bike.  We are assured, however, that he will be running again in the morning.  Apropos Mr Obree, Jonathan has brought a copy of The Flying Scotsman, starring Jonny Lee Miller as Graeme.  Wicked Ben suggested gaffer-taping Graeme to a chair and making him watch it...

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