Battle Mountain, NV, Sept. 14 â€“ The 11th edition of the Hydrive Energy Drink-sponsored World Human Powered Speed Challenge began yesterday with ideal weather conditions and an international roster of competitors hoping to set new world records with the fastest human powered vehicles on the planet. The first day of competition saw qualifying runs in the morning, and official speed runs taking place in the late afternoon. The fastest men on the day were Canadian Sam Whittingham (Varna) at 78.64 mph/126.56 kmh) and Slovenian rider Damjan Zaboznik (Eivie III) with a top speed of 77.15 mph/124.16 kmh. French cyclist Barbara Buatois (Varna) recorded a run of 71.37 mph/114.85 kmh to claim top spot in the womenâ€™s division, with Amanda Chu (ACE/Univ. of Toronto) second at 52.67 mph/84.77 kmh.
â€œWe set a world record last year and hope to do it again (this year),â€said WHSPC Race Director Al Krause.
In 2009, Whittingham once again broke his own world record and retained his claim to the title of worldâ€™s fastest self-propelled human, with a top speed of 82.819 mph (133.284 kmh) inside the Varna Diablo III, a â€˜streamlinerâ€™ (fully-faired recumbent bicycle) designed and built by Bulgarian-born artist and bike-maker Georgi Georgiev. Whittingham and Georgiev have been the team to beat at Battle Mountain for a number of years. If the weather cooperates, another record could be in the offing.
â€œThe weather looks good and I think itâ€™s going to be good all week,â€ said Whittingham on Monday morning. â€œToday (qualifying) is just basically make sure the bike works well, and tonight weâ€™ll see how fast the bike can go.â€
Also back for 2010 and piloting a Varna (Tempest) bike is Barbara Buatois of France, the current womenâ€™s world record holder (75.458 mph/121.437 kmh), while Whittinghamâ€™s biggest threat will probably come from Zabovnik, rider and builder of the radically-designed Eivie III, which Zabovnik pedals while lying headfirst on his back and steering with the aid of a small periscope. During Monday evenings speed runs Zabovnik crashed his bike after passing through the speed trap. Both rider and machine are reportedly none the worse for wear and will continue to compete.
For event pictures, complete results, and listings of all the competitors please visit: http://recumbents.com/wisil/whpsc2010/speedchallenge.htm