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2003 WHPSC Saturday Racing Results and Report
by Jeff Hunn

Saturday Racing Results
Sam Whittingham, Varna Diablo, blew a tire at 80+ mph about 200M before the timing traps, went sideways, went airborne, landed, slid, & spun, and Sam walked away basically unscathed! Shaken, but not stirred, or something like that. 

Mackey Martin, Virtual Rush, 64.446 mph, 6.942 sec, illegal wind
Brian Romano, Rotator Frankenstein, 49.572 mph, 9.025 sec, illegal wind
Orin Macquarrie, Varna clone highracer, 35.889 mph, 12.466 sec, illegal wind (wind severely affected front wheelcovers, limiting desire for more speed)
Fred Markham, Varna Mephisto, 71.835 mph, 6.228 sec, illegal wind
Damjan Zabovnik, Eivie streamliner, 68.21 mph, 6.559 sec, legal wind (new European record, I think!)
Joe Kochanowski, Silver (Varna clone), 64.98 mph, 6.885 sec, illegal wind
Thom Ollinger, Coslinger Special, missed starting tape, illegal wind
Rob Wood, Norus streamliner, 57.997 mph, 7.714 sec, illegal wind

Saturday Race Report
Saturday was a mixture of fine-tuning bikes for one last speed attempt, rounding up and packing gear for the trips home, and having those important conversations that just hadn’t happened earlier in the 
week. Steve Delaire of Rotator Bicycles headed back to California early, leaving Orin Macquarrie and Brian Romano scrambling to arrange alternate transportation so they could stay for Saturay evening’s runs (they were successful--2 streamliners, gear, & 3 people crammed into a minivan!). A few others left early also, but most racers and volunteers were able to stay for the runs and the awards dinner afterwards. 

Since I was taking pictures all week, Carole let me choose where I wanted to be each evening, rather than assigning me to a particular spot. Monday and Friday I was the lone sentry at Ranch Road 1, at the 4-mile mark. It was a good place to get pictures, since it was 1 mile from the start and the bikes had not yet ramped up to full speed (most were in the 30-40 mph range). Tuesday I was at the start area, and Wednesday I was in the spectator area sitting on the bleachers just past the start of the 200M timing trap. Thursday I was at the catch area, both taking pictures and also helping catch. 

For Saturday I chose the timing area, since that was the one area I had not yet helped with. I headed out to the course early, planning to help Al and Alice Krause retrieve the hay bales from behind the guardrails on both sides of the bridge, but Chris Broome had gone out even earlier and  single handedly done all the liftin’ and totin’ to set them up. I hope Chris wanted a good upper-body workout, because moving those 100-lb bales around isn’t easy. So I headed to the timing area to help Paul Gracey and Brad Teubner, the regular crew, set things up. It involves tasks like setting up  tables and chairs, rolling out 200+M of wire from the finish line to the start of the timing area, laying out a timing tape and roll of duct tape at each position, setting up the timing console and laptop computer, setting up the tripod and table for the wind speed instruments, and setting up the big roadside “200M” and “Finish” signboards. Paul assigned me to monitor and record the wind speeds for the runs; this involves taking readings from a wind vane and two hot-wire anemometers (one upwind and one crosswind) and recording that information on a master grid along with rider, bike, and time for each attempt.
We planned to start 15 minute earlier than scheduled in order to finish before it got too dark. Starting-line glitches have a way of  happening, and such delays can make people all along the course 
impatient. 

First up was Sam in the Varna Diablo. He chose the first  spot today in an attempt to outwit the wind, but the wind wasn’t cooperating. Sam finally got launched, and about 3 minutes later Mackey 
Martin was launched in the Virtual Rush. Observers at Ranch Road 1 and then mid-course radioed that Sam was on course and building speed. As we prepared at the timing area, we could see Sam approach, with his chase vehicle following. Suddenly the Diablo started tumbling around and then spinning end-for-end as he slid off the road and into the weeds and brush, perhaps 100M before the start of the timing arrea. Almost simultaneously someone yelled on the radio “Rider down! Rider 
down!”

Things were pretty chaotic for several minutes, as volunteers from the timing start ran to the crash site, the chase vehicle stopped, the ambulance raced from mid-course, and the radios exploded with questions about what had happened: Could the course be cleared in time for Mackey to pass, Did we need to shut the course down, and Was Sam OK? After a brief stop with Sam, Andrea continued down course in the chase car, shouting “He’s OK,” as she passed the timing area. It was soon ascertained that the bike was well off the road and the course was cleared in time for Mackey to continue his run.
Sam later said he was doing about 80 mph when a tire blew, causing him to lose control and then crash. Observers said that when the Diablo went sideways it acted like a wing, and flew a foot or two off the ground for many yards before landing, sliding, and spinning. 

At the request of the Slovenian Eivie team the day before, NDOT had removed an extra mile’s worth of roadside marker posts, which may have saved Sam from serious injury. It may be awhile before he feels like getting back into the Diablo for a speed run.

Mackey came through the traps with his best run of the week, 64.446 mph, although the wind was above the legal limit (as it would be for all except the Eivie team this night). Brian Romano came next in the Rotator Frankenstein with his best run of the week at 49.572 mph. The fourth bike in Flight 1 was Orin Macquarrie’s Varna clone highracer. It went through the traps at 35.889 mph, and I later found out why. Orin had quickly constructed wheelcovers for his 700C wheels, but had problems with the rear, so tore that wheelcover off. The breeze had a strong effect on the front wheeldisc, pushing the largely-exposed wheel from side to side and making steering unpredictable and scary. Consequently Orin held his speed down intentionally. I haven’t heard whether he has any changes in mind for next year, but I would certainly suggest less wheel exposure somehow...<g>

Charlie Ollinger was scheduled last in Flight 1, and intended again to start at midcourse to reduce his runup from 5 miles to about 2, but the schedule had been delayed enough that the decision was made to abort his run, have NDOT open the road briefly for motorized traffic, and try to get the second flight on schedule to finish before dark. I know Charlie was disappointed not to get another shot, but almost 35 mph under his own power isn’t shabby for a 12-year-old! Look for great things from him in HPV racing in the future.

Fred Markham led off the second flight, after getting dropped twice and nearly falling several more times during his launch. He finished with a bang, though, going 71.835 mph in the Varna Mephisto to join Sam Whittingham and Matt Weaver in the 70-mph club! Before he left the awards dinner Saturday evening, Freddy quoted Arnold Schwarzenegger by saying, “I’ll be back!” 

Not to be outdone, Damjan Zabovnik had his best run in the Eivie backwards/headfirst streamliner, going 8.21 mph. The wind was legal, and I think that means Damjan beat the old European record of 108 kph--congratulations, Damjan! 

Joe Kochanowski was next in Silver, his Varna clone, which he and Steve Nash constructed in the last 10 days or so before Battle Mountain. Joe also finished with a bang, doing a personal best 64.98 
mph!

Thom Ollinger was next, and had a good run, observing his onboard speedometer at about 63 mph entering the traps. Unfortunately he just missed the start tape, so his run was not recorded. Remember Thom--ride on the right side of the road...<g>

Rob Wood had the last run of Battle Mountain 2003 in his Norus streamliner, and he also recorded a personal best, going 57.997 mph. He hopes to come back next year and join the 60-mph club.

Following the runs we all convened back in Battle Mountain at a restaurant for a very good buffet dinner and the presenting of awards. Many people from around the country sent in donations to be added to 
the prize money pot, and it was awarded to the racers with the week’s top times in this manner:
1st place, Sam Whittingham, 78.24 mph, $1,000.00
2nd place, Fred Markham, 71.835 mph, $500.00
3rd place, Damjan Zabovnik, 68.21 mph, $350.00
4th place, Joe Kochanowski, 64.98 mph, $275.00
5th place Mackey Martin, 64.45 mph, $200.00
6th place, Thom Ollinger, 62.06 mph, $100.00

Thanks to all who donated money for Battle Mountain 2003! Shar Peterson, Director of the Battle Mountain Chamber of Commerce, presented a special award to George Georgiev for his work over the 
years in designing the Varna series of bicycles. George shared with us the utter fear he felt when he first heard on the radio that Sam had crashed, and then the relief and happiness he experienced when, less than 5 minutes later, he learned that Sam was OK. I think we all shared those emotions as that was happening.

George and Carole also presented other plaques and awards:
Fastest Drag Race Time: Matjaz Leskovar
15-Lap Race Winner: Matt Weaver
Sportsmanship Awards: Gardner Martin, for helping every team here
Determination/Spirit Award: Jeff Bales
Junior Achievement Award: Charlie Ollinger
Junior Speed Champion Award: Mackey Martin
Transportation Research Alternatives Innovation Award: Team Eivie
In addition to the above awards, the Eivie team contributed a stash 
of pins, hats, and other Slovenian souvenirs to be used as prizes in a 
variety of categories, to be suggested by the directors, racers, and 
volunteers. Here are the categories and the winners:
Most Improved Times: Joe Kochanowski
Fastest Build Job: Steve Nash
Fastest Old Guy in a Drag Race: Justin Mace
Fastest Crash: Sam Whittingham
Farthest Drive: Rob Wood (Ohio)
Farthest Airplance Trip (besides the Slovenians): Jonathan Woolrich & Dave Larrington (England)
Great Organizers: Carole & George Leone
Person Attending the Most Speed Championships: Gardner Martin (self-nominated!)
Most Creative Use of Duct Tape: Orin Macquarrie (wheel covers)
Most Beat-up Form of Transportation to BM: Chris Bechtel
Most Outrageous Bike Name: Bill Patterson’s Pimp Ride
Innovative Thinking: Matt Weaver
4-Year Volunteers: Chris Broome, Paul Gracey, Larry Lem
Phantom Starter: Walt Tibbitts
Most Spectacular Catch: George Georgiev
Everywhere Volunteers: Al & Alice Krause
Biggest Grin: Charlie Ollinger (when he beat Jeff Bales)
Most Distance Off-Road in a Streamliner: Steve Delaire, at the airport races Friday morning
The night ended with stories, sharing of email addresses, and bittersweet goodbyes as we headed back to our homes with memories from this year’s Battle Mountain competition and dreams of next year’s.

Jeff Hunn

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