As the WHPSC approaches, it is an opportune time to review the list of entries for this year. I will refer you to Mike Mowett’s comprehensive but unofficial list on the recumbents.com site. I’ll countdown the vehicles that are listed in the order of fastest (but not necessarily wind legal) speeds.
Only an eye blink separates the first three racers, all of whom have been coming to Battle Mountain for years, and all have the clear potential of exceeding 80 mph this year. It should also be noted that last year’s winner, Rik Houwers of the Delft/Amsterdam Human Power Team, had to withdraw due to an injury during training; he went 82.18 mph riding Velox4, about 1 mph shy of the world record. I’ll also be referring to some of the things that I wrote in the wrap up to last year’s event, as well as recycling some that post’s pictures.
Team Eivie, Damjan Zabovnik
Damjan went 79.98 mph in Eivie 4 last year. From his facebook posts, he seems to be fine tuning last year’s bike, hence the move from Eivie 4 to 4.2. He will not be content with “just” going 80 mph. He is gunning to set a new record. His bike is featured on the WHPSC2015 T shirt.
Team Cygnus, Jan-Marcel van Dijken
Jan-Marcel has been knocking on the door of 80 mph for several years now. The team is focused on him being the sole rider, and for him to get that next hat.
Aerovelo, Todd Reichert
Last year, Todd’s performance in Eta was hampered by limited clearance in the bike, as well as repeated failures of their spoked wheels. They’ve spent the entire year working on the bike, as well as testing all the changes. Foremost among the changes is the use of solid disc wheels, but there have also been a lot of other detailed modifications as well. Todd says that he was only putting out a peak of 450 watts when he went 78 mph. The team has also released a video that more or less promises that the record will fall.
Human Power Team Delft/Amsterdam: Velox V
This would normally be the team to beat as they have won the competition for the past several years. However, with the withdrawal of Rik Houwers, the team is bringing two new riders to Battle Mountain. Once again, they will be chasing their own world record set back in 2013 by Sebastiaan Bouwier in Velox 3.
University of Toronto Human Powered Vehicle Design Team
The HPVDT has been building a bike based on Eta’s design, but they were not able to complete it in time for this year’s meet. As a backup plan, they will be running Bluenose and Vortex with multiple riders. In particular, Sherry Shi will be trying to better the team women’s record of about 55 mph that was set by Amanda Chu in Ace, back in 2009(?). Thomas and Alan will be riding for the first time, using good old Vortex. HPVDT and Aerovelo continue to collaborate, but they are running as separate teams this year.
There has been no indication that Team Varna will attend this year. Barbara actually went faster than her own world record last year, but the wind was not legal.
Velox S2, Ellen Van Vugt
Ellen and Hans are back with the Velox S2. Last year Ellen set a new personal best of over 70 mph in this bike. In addition, she will also be riding in a replica of the world’s second fastest trike, the Trisled “CO2” that is owned by Garrie Hill. She should be able to reset the women’s multitrack record which now stands at about 52 mph.
The Russians have posted some pictures on Facebook of a nicely shaped new fairing, and the latest word is that they are frantically trying to finish the bike so that make an appearance. I guess on Aeroflot they don’t have to book their flights in advance.
Beagle, Larry Lem and Tom Amick
Larry and Tom are back with a new single bike after two years setting tandem records with Glowworm. Three years ago, they had a single bike, the Flying Cucumber, but they were disappointed with its performance. Here’s hoping that the Beagle is faster. I’ve also been advised that the top and bottom of the fairing will be securely fastened together.
Norus, Mike Mowett
Mike is a very fast racer on his lowracer in the the HPRA series. He is bringing back his Norus Streamliner. Two years ago, he pushed this fairly old bike to just shy of 60 mph. Both the internals and the shell have been worked on quite a bit (by Thom and Charlie Ollinger) so the bike should be better shape to go faster. It even has working landing gear!
Team GeeBee, Velox S2, CO2
Garrie Hill, the Kowalik family, Mike Mowett and Jim Iwaskow have banded together to campaign several bikes with multiple riders this year. Garrie acquired Velox S2 from Hans, and the plan was to have both Mike Mowett and Florian Kowalik ride it. Unfortunately, that bike is not ready, and so at press time, it is not clear if either of them will ride the Norus, or another bike. At the same time, Garrie has the CO2 trike, and there are multiple people that will ride it, in particular to go for the women’s trike record (with Ellen) and the junior trike record (with Florian). Mike will also be riding it, and if there is room for a fourth rider, then I might try it as well. Alas, Garrie says there is not enough room in the Sprinter Van to bring his monster trike.
Team Kowalik, Micro Moby
Fran Kowalik has acquired the Micro Moby streamliner that was built by Ray Brick and raced by his wife Sherry. It has been modified so that Fran’s two daughters, Cecilia and Genevieve can race it down 305. I’m glad to hear that the seat has been raised far enough so that Genevieve can see out of it in the forward direction, although she didn’t have much problem racing it at Waterford earlier this year. Late update: Genna (age 10) went 35 mph during testing in Chicago this past weekend!
Team Ascension, Teagan Patterson
Teagan is a Battle Mountain native. Last year, in the course of one week, she learned how to ride a recumbent, how to ride a streamliner, and earned a 50 mph hat. She is a very powerful rider, and she just needs a faster bike. This year, Mark Anderson and Eric Ware have been building her a new bike. From the pictures posted on Facebook, the build looks significantly ahead of when these two showed up with Wedge and spent the week finishing the bike in the Super 8 parking lot back in 2008 (?). Hopefully everything will come together for them next week.
There are several new international teams that will be competing this year as well:
University of Liverpool Velocipede Team, Arion1
This is a new, well organized entry. They were smart enough to send two team members to last year’s event who spent the week learning about the current state of the art, as well as helping Alan Grace with his handcycle from the UK. From the pictures, the bike looks nice, and they have also done a fair amount of testing. They will have riders trying for both the men’s and women’s records.
Team Polibent PulsaR
This is another new university entry, this one from the Politecnico di Torino. As you can see from the picture, this bike has a front windshield. They have been doing a decent amount of testing, and we’ll see how fast they can go next week.
Plymouth University Handcycle Project
This is a handcycle built expressly around paracyclist Liz McTernan. The women’s handcycle record stands at just over 21 mph. The bike has the unusual feature that it is steered by the rider’s head, with a helmet attached to a bracket that actuates the steering. It will be interesting to see how well this works.
In addition to these competitors, there is always the chance that an unknown, unheralded entry will show up. One is never sure who will be there until you actually pull into that Civic Center parking lot.
The weather report for Battle Mountain looks OK, although it is unfortunate that the temperatures are not as high as the forecast from about a week ago. The wind speeds look better in the mornings.
I’m headed that way soon. I’ll be posting once or twice a day during the week as per usual. Look for #WHPSC on twitter as #BM2015 has already been claimed by that other September event in the Nevada desert. For those attending, I’m looking forward to being with “my tribe” again, and I’ll see you at the racer’s meeting on Sunday night.