Thursday, August 13, 2009

Michigan Human Powered Speed Challenge

DOUG PERTNER of St. Claire Shores rode his Predator – an Optima Baron with homemade fairing – 100 miles in 4 hours, 3 minutes and 52 seconds, during the 6-hour event on Sunday. His average speed was 24.6 mph.


The Michigan Human Powered Speed Challenge July 17-19 at the Ford Motor Co. Michigan Proving Grounds near Romeo was a big success. Several world records were set and more than 50 competitors came from the United States and Canada, of course, plus the Netherlands, France and Slovenia.
(The count, according to MHPVA treasurer Bill Frey was 54 riders and 50 HPVs, plus four Electrathon electric vehicles. Some riders rode more than one vehicle and some vehicles had more than one rider.)
Complete results, plus lots of photos and videos, are at, then under "Recumbent racing," click on "2009 Ford 1 hour challenge."
All competition was on the 5-mile oval at the proving grounds. World records set were:
Women: Barbara Buatois, France - women: 51.1 miles on Friday in the Varna Tempest, then on Sunday, she broke her two-day-old record with 52.2 miles. She continued on for 100 km (62 miles) and set a record for the distance of 50.3 mph.
Men: Sam Whittingham on Sunday, 56.3 miles. He continued on for 100 km (62 miles) and set a record for the distance of 54.2 mph. Sam and Barbara rode the same Varna Tempest, designed and built by Georgi Georgiev. He and Sam are from British Columbia, Canada.
DISTANCE IN SIX HOURS (Sunday)- Women: Ellen Van Vugt, Netherlands, 187.1 miles. During the six hours, she also set a record of 35.6 mph for 100 miles. Men: Hans Wessels, Netherlands, 233.3 miles for six hours and 100 miles at 39.1 mph.
ARM POWER – During the mass start 1-hour race on Saturday, Greg Weslake from Canada set a record of 20.6 miles in his hand-cranked steamlined tricycle.
ELECTRATHON – Vehicles are powered by electric motors and limited to two car batteries totaling 67 pounds. C. Michael Lewis of Portland, Maine, set a record Sunday of 62.1 miles in an hour on Sunday, breaking the record he set last year of 58 miles. (Michael also did the artwork for the Speed Challenge T-shirts and other things.)

Some non-record performances of note:
Damjan Zabovnik of Slovenia in his head-first, feet-last Eivie streamliner (he sees through a mirror) lost his one-hour record to Sam Whittingham, but did have the top speed in the 200-meter sprints on Saturday, 66.2 mph. Unfortunately, the wind was blowing too fast for that to be a record. He was the only one of the world-class competitors to run in the sprints. Second fastest was Sean Costin of Arlington Heights, Ill., on his NoCom, 44 mph. Sean also had fast time for the standing start quarter-mile, 28.24 seconds, but the wind speed was high for that to be a record.
Rick Gritters of Pella, Iowa, in his homebuilt streamliner, won the one-hour mass start road race on Saturday at a speed of 39.5 mph.
Despite rain on Friday evening and on Saturday, we got all the scheduled events in except for the tricycle race planned for Sunday, though finding space to conduct it would have been a problem. Some of the 1-hour record runs had to be postponed until Saturday or Sunday. A planned coast-down event was cancelled prior to the start of the Challenge because of lack of time. To much to do, too little time.

ROBERT TEREGAN and stoker Merlin Elsner, both of Warren, rode the entire six hours Sunday on Bob's Rans Screamer. They rode 19 laps for a total of 95 miles.

JOHN MORCIGLIO of Waterford raced his latest carbon fiber creation at the Speed Challenge. In the one-hour mass start race, he rode 25.2 miles. He also makes carbon fiber bikes for customers. ( or call 248-499-9915)

TEDD WHEELER of Reed City in his Aleweder velomobile pedaled 23.3 miles in Saturday's mass start event and in Sunday's 6-hour, rode 65 miles in 3 hours and 4 minutes, for an average speed of 21.1 mph.

Here's some comments from MHPVA President Mike Mowett (with editing by Mike E.), who had the idea for and organized the Speed Challenge. Working as an engineer for Ford gave him access to the officials who had to approve the event:

I want to thank everyone who worked to make this event a success. Without an incredible amount of dedication and efforts on the part of many people, this event couldn't have been the success it was.
I cannot believe that an idea I pitched to my management at Ford 10 months ago, just before many of us left to attend the World Human Powered Speed Challenge at Battle Mountain, Nev., would turn into a major international event where 13 records for human powered and Electrathon vehicles were bettered (some twice!). Eleven records in all were set for human power by the end of the weekend and numerous people did their personal bests. Final records are subject to review by the International HPV Association Records Committee.

WALLY KIEHLER (in front) of Grosse Pointe Woods and Bob Krezewinski of Ypsilanti rode their Lightning R-40s during the 6-hour event on Sunday, but started late and no times were recorded. During the mass start 1-hour on Saturday, Wally averaged 22.3 mph.

This event was a success because we had a core group of people who stepped up when needed. All the past races and big events gave many people experience in running things at the Michigan HP Speed Challenge. An incredible amount of work went into this event before, during and afterwards. There was countless e-mails, phone calls and meetings held to make this event a reality.
There are dozens of individuals I'd like to thank, who were invaluable in making this event a reality, including:
PLANNING COMMITTEE – Bill Frey, Mike Eliasohn, Mike Mowett, Sean Costin, Al and Alice Krause, C. Michael Lewis, Garrie Hill, Don Smith.
TIMING and RECORDS MEASUREMENT – Paul Pancella, Garrie Hill, Jun Nogami, Jim Karnes, Luke Gilbert, Warren Beauchamp,
Scott Wilson, Mike Mowett.
SUPER VOLUNTEERS – Tedd, Donna and Trent Wheeler; Brian Martin; Charlie Doran Jr.; Chris and Dora Cortez; and many others, including the names above.
T-SHIRTS – C. Michael Lewis (design) and Mike Eliasohn (sales).
WEB PAGE – Warren Beauchamp.
FORD STAFF – Mark Mikolaiczik, Michigan Proving Grounds manager; Kevin Halsted, MPG external customer manager; Rick Willemsen, section supervisor; Vickie Jaje, MPG supervisor; Bill Gipperich, MPG test coordinator; Mark Hockenberry, Ford manager; Jim Downs, Ford supervisor; Sharon Vostal, Christina Mullins, and Oscar Monroy, Ford employees; and the staff and security people at the proving grounds.
Without Sean Costin and Garrie Hill stepping up to the plate to run the events, we would not have had a successful event.
There are no immediate plans to have this event again year. I do not think it would be feasible financially to hold it year after year. Like the Olympics, a record setting event is good every few years or so.
Next year, the Michigan Human Powered Vehicle Association likely will again conduct the Michigan Human Powered Vehicle Rally – the 26th annual – at the 1.4-mile Waterford Hills race track.
The Michigan Human Powered Speed Challenge was the second major event conducted by the MHPVA, the first being the the International Human Powered Speed Championships in 1989 at the 2-mile Michigan International Speedway. I am proud to have been a participant at the first in 1989, which got me very inspired to be a part of the HPV movement, and now
as a race organizer 20 years later.

BILL FREY of Grosse Pointe Farms took time out from his extensive volunteer activities at the Challenge to ride his Easy Racer Fold Rush with homemade tailbox during part of the 6-hour. He rode five laps (25 miles) at an average speed of 16.1 mph.