Michigan Challenge 2009
Michigan Challenge 2009
Pictures by Chris and Dora Cortez. Commentary by Warren Beauchamp
The Cortez crew arrives at the Michigan Proving Grounds five mile track. The track is accessed through a tunnel that passes under the track.
This track is 5 lanes wide, and the outer lane is rated for 112 MPH+! 
Damjan Zabovnik warms up on his trainer bike. 
Mike Mowett gets ready to chase Damjan around the track for an hour. 
All lanes open! 
Great signage helped us find the track through the hills, trees, and maze of roads in the Ford proning grounds. We did see same interesting vehicles being tested through the grounds while we were racing, but we we sworn to secrecy. :) 
Mike performs chase vehicle duties. 
Builder Rick Wianecki dubbed the bike that Jeff Hunn is now racing "Attilla". I'll let you put that one together.
Dora Cortez helps Jeff get ready for a test ride. 
Slovenian Damjan Zabovnik gets ready to race his tiny, backward facing Eivie speedbike. 
The shell is carefully fitted over Damjan. 
Damjan prepares for the 200 Meter run 
Plastic protects the windscreen from being smudged during the preparations. 
Damjan's face is barely visible through the plastic. He faces backwards and views the roads reflection in a mirror.
After a 1.5 lap run-up, Damjan went over 66 MPH in the 200 meter run. 
Jeff is ready to run his 200 meter run. 
Jeff is taped in and ready to go. 
Richard Meyers suits up. 
Eric Ware is ready to run a the 200 meter TT
Mark Anderson launches Eric. 
Rich Meyers  
Rich prepares to self launch. 
Dennis Grelk in the Barracuda awaits his turn.
Warren Beauchamp's  Cuda-W streamliner had problems with new cranks causing rubbing inside the fairing, so 25HZ Tim Hicks let him use the Bluevelo Quest velomobile.
And he's off! 
The BrandFX racer (?) prepares to make their Saturday 1 hour run. 
Despite their weight, generally a couple hundred pounds plus rider, these bikes all use 16 or 20 inch bicycle wheels, with Stelvio tires.
Generally, the racers do one lap to determine the best gear for the course and conditions, then skulk back to the pits to make gearing changes before running their record attempts or races.  

It's hard to see, but E. Michael Lewis is crammed into the orange and grey e-racer.

Because these bikes only have one gear, optimizing that gear for top speed for the hour is especially important.
Steve Nash gets strapped into  Dave Cloud's racer with a full racing harness.
Between Steve's legs are lead weights to bring him up to the mandated 180 lb rider weight. 
Last minute tweaks before getting buttoned in. 
George Georgiev helps Dave seal Steve into the e-racer. 
 Almost ready.
 E. Michael is almost ready.
 64 is almost reasy
Georgi confers with Warren Beauchamp and Robert Palmer.
L to R, Luke Gilberts, Arial from Rose Hulman, Karen Beauchamp, and Dennis Grelk. 
Bruce Gordon with his Zox lowracer, talks with Rick Gritters, Tedd Wheeler, and his wife. 
64 takes his test lap. 
It's back to the pits for 64, to adjust the gears, and top off the batteries before the record attempt. 

The electrothon racers can only use two lead acid batteries of a certain amp hour rating. This levels the playing field when everyone has the same 24 volt power source. There are of course tricks, like heating the batteries before the run to get the most power out of them.

Richard Myers built a fiberglass and cloth fairing for his Jester lowracer. 
Hans Wessels runs an hour TT record run in the Speedhawk  II.
Barbara Buatois runs an hour TT record run in the Varna Tempest.  Barbara went 51.1 in an hour.
What happens after the rain?  

The rainbow!

 Tedd Wheeler in his Alweder velomobile.
Bill Hannon raced his Quest velomobile with the foot holes sealed up, and a fairing canopy for the 100 mile / 6 hour event. 
 Dennis goes for 100 miles in the Barracuda.
Hans Wessels races 6 hours.
 Doug Pertner in his Coro-liner
 Ellen Van Vugt runs a one hour record attempt.
 Wally Keihler and ? in their Lightning F40's
Chris Cortez races in the 100 mile / 6 hour event 
Ellen Van Vugt is held by Scott during her 6 hour record attempt.
Barclay Henry prepares to climb into the "Backslider" for his one hour attempt. 
He pilots this trike in the Damjan position. Laying head first, on his back.

Here, the trike is on it's side, and he prepares to get in.

It's sort of like watching a dolphin give birth in reverse. 
 Much wriggling around ensues.
Eventually he gets into position, with his head between the two front wheels.
 One he is in position, the hatch is installed.
 The hatch is taped in for added speed.
 smoothing the tape
The bike is flipped upright. 
 Barclay steers be looking in a mirror which show him a reflection of the road through that small windshield.
Hans takes a break during his 6 hour record attempt. 
 Despite taking a few breaks, Hans still set a new 6 hour record.
 Robert Teragan & Merlin Elsner do a long ride on a Screamer tandem.
Race director and IHPVA VP of land Sean Costin checks out the track while the two Speedhawk II speedbikes are prepared for the next record attempt run. 
The Varna Tempest. Sam or Barbara are cranking away in there. I'm not sure which one.  
The Elan team from the Netherland poses on the left. That's Thomas Van Schaik, Hans Wessels, and Ellen Van Vugt.  On the right, is the fastest man motivating under his own power, ever, Sam Whittingham, in front of the Varna Tempest, and to the far right is race organizer Mike Mowett. I think the other two guys are from Ford.
Same picture except the new one hour female champion, Barbara Buatois has joined the group, next to Sam.
Team Elan on the left, team Varna on the right.
Now sitting! 
Just one more! 
Proud builder of the fastest bike in the world, George Georgiev. George builds the Varna speedbikes, as well as a full line of Varna handtrikes. 
Electrothon racer
 Barbara Buatois warms up on the Varna Tempest. Check out the trainer attached to the chainring.
Despite a severely sprained ankle, Thomas Van Schaik attempts a one hour record.
After 10 laps, Thomas signals that he wants to be caught.  
 Hans Wessels catches him. Others run to assist.
Barbara finishes her one hour attempt with a new record of over 52 miles for the hour.
Georgi places the bike on it's stand. 
Barbara's SO hands he some cold water. 
A tough ride, but she sets a new record which will be very hard to beat. 
Sometimes it's best to just site in the bike for a bit before trying to get up. 
Not ready yet. 
Thomas re-injured his ankle and could no longer walk. Hans helps him back to a chair. 
Thomas, Stasia Haferkorn and Scott.  

Thomas gives his ankle the evil eye.

Barbara, now able to stand, is congratulated on her new record.

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