Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mich. Human Powered Vehicle Rally - June 21-22, 2008

DENNIS GRELK, shown here during the one-hour time trial in his Barracuda streamliner (built by Warren Beauchamp) won the streamliner class. He also won the stock class on his homebuilt low racer. (Photos by Mike Eliasohn)

By Mike Eliasohn, MHPVA vice president, and Mike Mowett, MHPVA president

The 25th annual Michigan Human Powered Vehicle Rally June 21-22, 2008, attracted 34 competitors to the Waterford Hills sports car racing track in Clarkston, the site since 1986. Several competitors entered more than one vehicle (and Dennis Grelk had three), so a total of 44 vehicles competed.
Of those, 28 competitors and 36 vehicles competed both days. Human Powered Race – America has added a tricycles-only class this year, which included a trikes-only race on Sunday, which no doubt was an incentive for some to compete both days.
In addition to Michigan, entrants came from Iowa, Maryland, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Ontario.
This being the 25th annual, the hope was there would be a record turnout, but that was not to be. (The record of 50 was in 2001) Nevertheless, there were several first-timers who hopefully will return and several “regulars” who weren't there, but hopefully will be in 2009. Obviously, the price of gasoline may have been a deterrent.
Points were first awarded in each individual event on a 60, 55, 50, 45, 42, 39, 36, 34, 32, 30, 29… etc basis. Then points were totaled to give one score per day. This was a new rule put into place this year by the HPRA race directors to hopefully balance the scoring a bit.
Here's the top two overall in each class according to the HPRA Points system, where each rider can get a maximum of 60 points per day. No tandems competed.
Streamliners (four entries): 1) Dennis Grelk, Donnellson, Iowa, Barracuda;, 120 points; 2) John Simon, Portland, Michigan, Moby, 115.
Superstreet (three entries): 1) Chris Burkhardt, Daisy, Md., Go-One velomobile owned by Garrie Hill, 120s; 2) Tedd Wheeler, Reed City, Easy Racers Javelin with homemade tailbox, 110.

CHRIS BURKHARDT, riding Garrie Hill's Go-One velomobile (made in Germany) won the SuperStreet class. It's shown here during the one-hour time trial, minus the canopy. The Go-One was very popular for test rides.

Superstock (one entry): Garrie Hill, Granville. Ohio, Barcroft Oregon, 60. (He didn't compete Sunday.)
Stock (20 entries) – 1) Dennis Grelk, homebuilt low racer, 120; 2) tie: Mike Mowett, St. Clair Shores, Optima Baron lowracer and Tim Hicks, Barrie, Ont., homebuilt lowracer, 100 each .
Junior (one entry) – Nick Myers, Holly, Trek upright bicycle, 120.

JULIE PITKO on her Challenge Fujin lowracer (top) tied with Dora Cortez for first place in the women's class. Dora is shown racing her Rick Gritters-built low racer at the July 13 HPV races on the velodrome in Northbrook, Ill.

Women (three entries) – 1) tie: Dora Cortez, Chicago, Rick Gritters-built lowracer; Julie Pitko, Sault Ste. Marie, Challenge Fujin lowracer, 115 each.
Tricycle (nine entries) – 1) Chris Burkhardt, Greenspeed SLR, 115; 2) Chris Cortez, Chicago, Greenspeed, 110.
A total of $405 in prize money was distributed, typically $25 for first place in class, $20 for second and $15 for third, provided there were participants in the class racing both days. Because the stock class had the most participants by far, the winner received $40 and prize money was paid down to sixth place ($10).
Here's the first place winners in the individual events, not including the two classes with one rider. Complete results are available at:

SATURDAY: One-hour time trial: Streamliner – With John Simon dropping out due to a blown tire and Dennis Grelk due to a suspension part breaking, Warren Beauchamp of Elgin, Ill., was first with an average speed of 32.035 mph. Superstreet -- Bob Krzewinski, Ypsilanti, Lightning F40, 21.863 mph. Stock – Dennis Grelk, 27.442 mph. Women – Julie Pitko, 19.178 mph. Tricycles – Chris Burkhardt, 20.527 mph.
Hill climb – Streamliner – Dennis Grelk, 22.61 seconds. Superstreet – Bob Krzewinski, 23.85 sec. Stock – Dennis Grelk, 22.23 sec. Women – Jane Hunn, North Winchester, Ind., Specialized Sequoia upright bicycle, 29.09 sec. Tricycles – Tim Hicks, 22.05 sec.
Coast down – John Simon in his Moby once again coasted the farthest from the top of the hill, but the top four – all streamliners –– came to a stop within about 31 feet of each other. Dennis Grelk was second, Rich Myers of Xenia, Ohio, in his Moby was third and Warren Beauchamp was fourth. Superstreet – Bob Krzewinski; stock, Dennis Grelk; women, Dora Cortez; and tricycles, Chris Burkhardt.

SUNDAY: 200-foot sprints: Streamliners, Dennis Grelk, 43,71 mph, just ahead of John Simon at 43.43 mph. SuperStreet – Chris Burkhardt, Go-One velomobile, 35.05 mph. Stock – Dennis Grelk, 38.30 mph. Junior – Nick Myers, 28.89 mph. Women – Dora Cortez, 32.78 mph. Tricycles – Chris Burkhardt, Greenspeed SLR, 32.94 mph.
For the first-ever tricycle race, a special course 0.33 miles per lap was laid out for the 15-lap road race, with the emphasis on cornering. Nine trikes competed. Tim Hicks on his modified CatTrike was first at an average speed of 17.504 mph, followed by Chris Cortez on a Greenspeed, borrowed from Garrie Hill, 16.910 mph.
The final event was the 25-lap road race for the two-wheelers. This was the same course used in the past, about 1 kilometer in length, with S-turns and for the racers' benefit after a long weekend of racing, did not include the hill! Streamliners – John Simon, 29.210 mph, followed by Richard Myers. Dennis Grelk and Warren Beauchamp had to choose between racing their streamliners or stock class bikes and chose the latter. John was the only competitor to race 25 laps; after he finished, the race ended for all others the next time they crossed the finish line. Superstreet – Tedd Wheeler was the lone competitor, 18.461 mph (17 laps). Stock – Dennis Grelk, 26.149 mph (24 laps). Junior– Nick Myers, 16.845 mph (16 laps). Women – Julie Pitko, 19.619 mph (18 laps).

WARREN BEAUCHAMP on his Velokraft NoCom leads MHPVA President Mike Mowett on his Optima Baron during the one-hour time trial on Saturday.

Special mention should be made of Dennis Grelk, who came with his parents, Dwayne and Mary. Their normal 10-hour trip from and to Iowa took 12 hours because they had to detour far from their normal route to get to a bridge that was open across the flooded Mississippi River. In addition to Dennis' streamliner and stock class bike, they also brought urban transportation contest entries for him (a mountain bike fitted with an XtraCycle extension and Mary's Hase KettWiesel tricycle). Brad Bosworth also came from Iowa (the town of Nevada).
Oakland Press reporter Randal Yakey and photographer Jose Juarez were at the rally on Saturday and their article on Sunday, in time for some people who read it to come watch the morning's events. To see the article, plus a short video, go to, click on “archives” at left and then on the date of the article, June 22.
Thanks to all those who helped conduct the event – Mike Mowett, Bill Frey, Warren Beauchamp, Garrie Hill, Luke Gilbert and Terry Gerweck. Apologies to anyone omitted. (Terry Gerweck and Mike Eliasohn started the Michigan HPV Rally, with the first two events held in Monroe.)
Thanks also to Reverse Gear (, a new maker of recumbent-specific clothing, based in Toronto. It donated a jersey worth $70-80. Sunday competitors participated in a drawing and the winner was Scott Forthoffer of St. Clair Shores. (Actually, Scott got a letter telling him how to contact the company. That way, the winner could get a jersey in his or her size.)

IN THE FIRST-EVER TRICYCLE RACE, Chris Burkhardt on his Greenspeed SLR leads Tim Hicks on a modified CatTrike. Tim finished first and Chris fourth in the 5-mile race. Chris Cortez on a Greenspeed was second. The trikes were leaving skid marks on this tight turn.

No comments: