2001 Wisconsin Classic HPV and recumbent bike racing results

Wisconsin HPV Classic Racing Results
Sparta, Wis. -  August 17-19, 2001
Results and Race Report by Len Brunkalla


Results listed as place in class

Name # Class Drag race * 200 meter sprint 30 lap race Last man out Dash
John Olson 275 Super Stock 1 1 1 1
Steve Bringe 215 Super Stock 2 2 2 2
Bill Murphy 201 Super Stock 3 3 3 3
Aaron Stiles 356 Stock 1 3 3 3
Rick Gritters 370 Stock 2 1 1 1 1
Jeff Caswell 355 Stock 3 2 2 2
Sue Bringe 618 Women 1 1 1 1

*note: Although the drags were run as an elimination event, points are awarded using each
competitor's fastest time achieved.

Sparta, Wisconsin is the self-proclaimed capital of biking in America. Many people may beg to differ on this title, but one thing that remains hard, historical fact is that Sparta is where the first Rails-to-Trails bike trail, the Elroy-Sparta Trail, seemed to jump start America's surge in cycling more than three decades ago.

Dennis and Peggy Northey, of POWWOW Bicycle Tours, have been hosting an HPV racing event, every year, since 1990. Starting with the auto race course, the Milwaukee Mile, moving to an automotive proving grounds at the AGM facility, in Burlington, and finally landing in Sparta in 1999. The local tourist bureau works closely with the Northeys to coordinate activities.

The attendance at this year's event was very light, if not poor. This was due to many different factors, the most obvious being the weather. Many weather reporting stations, in Wisconsin, and in Illinois, were predicting rain, and some possibly severe showers. Even the local military base, was certain of really bad weather. It didn't happen. For those who did not attend, you missed some very comfortable racing weather.

On Friday afternoon, the boat races were held on the local lake. Jake Free, Ron Dreydon, Aaron Stiles, and Bill Murphy, had brought their HPBs, and the Howard 'Wave Walker'. This year's scant rainfall had left the lake level low, so it was impossible to run the 24-hour distance event. The remaining events were the Slalom, sprint, criterium, mass drag (which this reporter tried), and the static thrust. Results of these contests should be posted with the other racing results on the WISIL site.

There had been much confusion as to scheduling, with last minute weather concerns requiring some last minute shifts, and more confusion. Since the U.S. Army was predicting mid-morning storms, and the arrival of two C-130 transports on our 200m venue, that event was suddenly moved to late afternoon. The drag races were held on Rusk Avenue, in town, at noon, where all six racers assembled to battle it out for top eliminator. Since there was plenty of time for the few competitors to complete this portion of the racing program, recumbent rally riders were offered a cash prize to the first one who could beat the fastest time recorded in the drags. This was quite interesting as the Double EZ-1, a side-by-side tandem, went up against and beat a counterfeit Trek 'bent.

When racers assembled at the local airport for the 200m sprint event, they were joined by fellow racer, Jeff Caswell. There were a few drops of rain felt as the "crowd" waited for the two C-130s to depart, so that the timing equipment could get taped down. Even though the low turn out produced just 7 racers in three classes, there was keen competition for fastest time between John Olson, Rick Gritters, and Jeff Caswell.

After the 200m event, it was off to the ice rink, for more racing. Even in winter, ice racing is quite a specialized HPV sport. There were only three vehicles that came prepared for the ice, Bill Murphy's Tour Easy, and two vehicles built by Mark Stonich. Carl Gulbronson, and his business partner, hastily strapped an ice skate blade to the right front wheel of the Double EZ-1, to make it four vehicles on the ice. Bill quickly found out how fast ice shavings will build-up on cold tires, and pulled the Tour Easy off the ice due to loss of traction. The competition turned into more of a "...dare you to try this eh?" session, with several people trying for fast times on Mark's bikes. The Double EZ, was more like the half-time entertainment at a hockey game, as Carl & co. spun out of control across most of the rink. In the end, Mark recorded the fastest lap time, 19.84 seconds, while Bill Murphy took best 2 of 3 in the drags.

Sunday morning it was off to Excaliber speedway, in nearby Tomah, for oval track racing. The first event was the 30 lap distance event. It was destined to be an interesting race since there were three very well matched racers (Rick, Jeff, & John) that would be anxious for the win. There were also three relatively matched riders (Bill, Aaron Stiles, & Steve Bringe) that would make a good mid-field challenge. Sue Bringe, was the only Women's' category racer, and an unknown quantity. As it turned out, Rick put two laps on the field to cinch first. John put a pass on Jeff just one lap before the end. Steve finished ahead of Bill, Aaron, and Sue. There was a ten minute break, followed by the Last Man Out event. This year, a new rule was instituted in this event, prohibiting faster riders from passing the last rider in the field. It has made for some interesting battles. Rick Gritters, pulled off the win, with John Olson second, and Jeff Caswell third. The final event of the Classic, was the trophy dash. In car racing, the Trophy Dash is a short lap-race, of which the only place that counts, is first. In this case, it was a one-lap mass drag race back to the start/finish, which made the total number of events an odd number.

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