2001 World Human Powered Speed Championships Race Results

Monday October 1st Racing Reports

Sam Whittingham just smashed the 75MPH barrier in his Varna Diablo by going 76.61 Mph over the 200M from a flying start. This is the first record attempt at the event and Sam commented that he will definitely go faster as the week progresses. 


Sam Whittingham with the Varna Diablo.

This World Record will need to be backed up by another run within 5% in the 5 days to come. Weather conditions were absolutely ideal temperatures in the 80 and dry. Legal wind conditions appeared right at 5:30 pm when Sam Launched.Weather conditions are expected to persist thourough the week. I expect that 80 MPH could be reached before the week is over. 

The Double Gold Rush Piloted by Fast Freddy Markham and Chris Springer set a new World Record for the 200M. by going 66.87 MPH. They too expect to go faster as the week progresses. 


Paul Gracey gives the Double Gold a tech inspection 

The Blueyonder Team did not race. They have been plagued by mechanical difficulties and Gold Medallist Jason Queally has yet to ride the vehicle with the top on. Wind conditions were not suitable this afternoon for them to try out the bike, but it is expected that they were able to get some practice in at the local airport while the event was taking place. I expect them to be ready tomorrow. 

Matt Weaver has not shown up yet. However he did call me to say that he is not expecting to race tonight. 

Also racing was the Bearacuda from Cal Berkley. They finished with a very respectable 60.54 mph They had some handling problems that they can fix easily and I expect they will be challenging the The Double Gold Rush in the next few days. 


The Bearacuda team swarms on the bike, preparing it for the speed runs. 

Steve Delair begged me all day to run since the Blueyonder Team and Matt Weaver did not run. I decided to let him and he went 50.93 MPH in his rather practical racer named Frankenstein. Not bad for a 50 year old guy. 

Here are the results: 

Vehicle 200 meter time Speed
Varna Diablo 5.84 sec 76.61 mph 
Double Gold Rush 6.69 sec 66.87 mph
Bearacuda  7.39 sec 60.54 mph 
Frankenstein 8.78 sec 50.93 mph 

All were in legal wind conditions. I think the winds were from the North, so that would have been a head wind. 

The event went quite smoothly for the first day. Unfortunately we could not lay the longer distance timing tapes because Matt Weaver was bringing them. If we would have, I would be reporting that 6 additional records were broken. Again, we expect to have that working tomorrow, so stay tuned for more record breaking news. 

Here is some additional information from the attempts on Monday, October 1st. At dinner, I learned more about what happened with some of the teams and what to expect in the days to come. 

Double Gold Rush: 
These guys came very prepared, but everything went wrong at the start. The front tire blew just 15 minutes before their start Freddy Markham managed to get it fixed in time and stated to put in one of his contact lenses. To his horror, the lens case had been polluted with shampoo from his kit. 

With a burning eye, Freddy Markham and stoker Chris Springer with a combined age of 85 years flew down the course to a New World Record of 66.87 mph. According to Freddy, they totally blew the timing and were just hanging on to finish. Freddy joked at dinner that They can break the record every day by just a little bit to get more publicity. 

For a team that just broke a world record, these guys were quite disappointed. I think that they were stunned by Sam Whittingham's first run of 76.6 mph. Ten mph faster than they went. Freddy said, "That Double Gold Rush looks bigger every time I look at it. This will be the last event for the Double Gold Rush." He is also interested in building something much better for next year. Now that he is back working for Easy Racers it makes more sense for him. He also feels that back when these bikes were built, Gardner Martin felt it was important to have a vehicle similar to bike they sold. Now that the Easy Racer name has been established, They can build whatever they think will be the fastest. I'll get Gardner's opinion later today when he arrives from Interbike. 

With better timing and warm-up I think that they will exceed 70 mph tonight. 

Varna:
I spent some time with Sam Whittingham last night as we prepared the press releases. There were some problems with the bike that they will be working on today. The front wheel is out of balance and was bouncing up and down. Sam was also using landmarks to regulate his speed going into the traps that were no longer appropriate for the speed of the Diablo. He claims to have gone into the traps at 75mph and exited at 77, never really peaking. This is all very exiting information because it means that 80 mph is within his grasp. I asked him quite directly if he thinks he can break 80 and his response was a confident "Yes". 

Sam seems to be smashing through boundaries that we all thought would be hold us for years. It was also wonderful to see George Georgiev there to witness the greatness of his creation. George will be inducted into the HPVA Hall of Fame on Saturday night along with Gardner Martin and Freddy Markham. 

Media:
It is great fun to have all this BBC media around to tape the event. There must be at least 10 reporters of all different forms of media. Sam was on BBC Live on 5 (radio broadcast) in England last night to talk about his record. They surrounded Sam like he was a superstar once the time was announced. The truth is, Sam is a superstar. He and George Georgiev are the stars of our sport and they represent us with class, charm and professionalism. We are truly lucky to have such wonderful people as our champions. 

BlueYonder:
I am getting some conflicting reports from the BlueYonder team. I've heard that they had a few attempts last night with the top shell on and they will be ready to race today. Another report said that Jason still hasn't ridden it with the top on. The winds died down last evening, so I can't imagine that this is still the problem. I sense some disappointment building with publicity people. I hope they can get it together today. 

Matt Weaver has not yet shown up, but I expect he will arrive in time to make an attempt this evening. 

One of the best quotes came from Steve Delaire in his Frankenstein bike who took one of the vacant time slots left by Blueyonder and Matt Weaver." I ran out of gear, ran out of legs and ran out of lungs." 

Technical notes: 
We are experiencing fantastic weather. High today in the upper 80's tomorrow lower 80s.Then upper 80's again on Thursday The air is extremely dry. I checked it when I returned to the hotel room after the events-only 25% humidity. My sinuses are killing me and my lips are chapped. I wouldn't want it any other way. 

This course is deceptively long. Even an experienced 200M guy like Fred Markham had difficulty timing his effort despite coaching, videos from last year and distance markers every 1/2 mile. It seems you get going and you are so exited that it is easy and fun to go pretty fast, so you can't help yourself and you pedal harder. Then you start feeling tired and realize that you have 2 more miles to go. 

The shortening of the course by 500M has also improved speed according to Sam Whittingham. 

The road surface is superb. They put some tar on the pavement we had last year, but again did not put the chips and tar on even though it was supposed to have been done this summer. I think someone at the Nevada Dept. of Transportation is looking out for us. 

Sean Costin
WHPSC Organizer 

 

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