2001 World Human Powered Speed Championships Race Results

Saturday October 6th Racing Report - Final day

Pushed to the very limits of his power by the incredible performance of Matt Weaver on Friday night, Sam Whittingham became the first man in history to exceed 80 miles per hour! 
Sam completed the 200M in 5.55 seconds for a new world record of 80.55 MPH under perfect conditions: 80 degrees, totally calm winds and a 9% humidity. Passing through the timing traps he also set new world records in the kilo at 79.79 mph and the one mile at 78.64 mph.
Matt Weaver surpassed Sam's record set Friday but fell short by going an astonishing 78.02 MPH in the 200M.

Matt had planned to race his latest ETA Edge streamliner in this event, but ran out of time. It's hard to believe that this now 8 year old fairing design still enabled him to beat lat year's speed record by over 5 mph!   

This photo shows the continuous curves of Matt's Kyle Edge camera bike from the front.

Matt Weaver, waiting for the go ahead in the Kyle Edge. Matt sat in the bike for 30 minutes after being taped in, and overheated before he was launched.

The camera pod for the LCD display which Matt uses to navigate this vehicle is clearly viewable above the bike in this photo.

Jason Queally managed to crank the oversized Blueyonder machine up to a rather respectable 64.34 mph, making him the 5th fastest single rider in the history of the sport. The team seems rather committed to coming back. 

For the first time, Blueyonder designer Chris Field saw Sam race by at 80 MPH while standing in the spectator area. He told me he was deeply moved. He said he can't really even describe how impressive it was.

The Blueyonder launch team sees Jason off on his last run of the event

Sound Bytes

  • Tanya Markham in the Gold Rush Le Tour burned up the road, going 51.27 in the Kilo and 50.58 in the mile.

  • Ultimately the event netted 6 new world records, but records were broken 21 times in the course of the 6 day event.

  • Certainly the most astonishing thing is the 80 MPH run by Sam. Were are all so incredibly excited about it. It hardly seems real or even possible. It even seems odd to Sam, he can hardly believe that he did it.

  • At the closing ceremonies, the first 3 inductees to the HPVA Hall of Fame were presented with plaques. They were Georgi Georgiev, Gardner Martin, and Freddy Markham.

  • The 200M winners of the the event were awarded trophies with a real gold nugget mounted on them. The winning vehicle designers also received trophies for their engineering accomplishments.

In Retrospect
The final day of the event was unlike all the others. For the racers and teams, there were no more second chances. The racer preparations were more mental than on any other day. Sam Whittingham seemed to be short on words and contemplative as he paced about the hotel. Jason Queally seemed to spend more time in his room than on other days and Matt Weaver was off the garage lent to him by the Chamber of Commerce Director Shar Peterson. I called him to see if he needed a camera to record his run, but his father John Weaver said he was sleeping and it was too late to do anything now. The Gold Rush duo of Markham and Springer had decided to take the last night off, resting on the laurels of their record runs the night before, and helping Tanya get ready. 

Bearacuda was gone by now and the hotel parking lot seemed half empty without their huge rental truck littered with bike parts, composite building materials and pop cans. It was mid afternoon and the wind was already still, as if to let us know that it understood the gravity of the event and it would cooperate fully. 

I was tense about the battle between Matt Weaver and Sam Whittingham. Typically these events are more about pushing the upper limit and less about head to head competition, but this time it felt different. Both guys really wanted it and they both knew that it would take nothing less that a herculean effort to win. 

I arrived at the timing area with 25 minutes to go before road closure. None of the traps were triggering. Even the 200M, which worked perfectly all week. The timer Paul Gracey had his ohm meter out testing wires. I raced up to the start area and yelled at some officials to get to their locations for testing. Soon after, Paul had all the tapes running again and I could start to relax.


I arrived a the start area to assist in the launch sequence. Sam was first followed by Matt, then Jason, then Tanya Markham. The start order was based on 200M time from the previous day. What I didn't notice was that Matt Weaver was ready when I had arrived, Most likely to prevent a repeat of the frantic taping session from the night before that left seams and holes unsealed. What I later learned after talking with Matt and his father, John was that he was sealed in the bike for approximately 30 minutes before his launch and presumably after his stationary bike warm-up. By launch time, Matt says he was already overheated and without any air flow in the sealed bike to cool him. 

As you now know from the results, Sam Whittingham became the first man to exceed 80 MPH under his own power and as Canadian print Journalist Ross Crockford put it, "I got my fairy tale ending." If not for the challenge from Matt Weaver, it is commonly believed by those in attendance that 80 mph would not have been reached. 

George Georgiev, designer and builder of Sam's Varna bike paid a special tribute to Matt Weaver in his acceptance speech to the HPVA Hall of Fame. If I remember correctly, he said, "Matt Weaver, you lit a fire under the bummy of my wonderful son Sammy. Without you we would not have broken 80 miles per hour." 

As for the Blueyonder team, They concluded the event with respectability intact, but certainly disappointed and eager to return with something much smaller.

Their entry and team was very welcomed by the more experienced teams and as the week progressed, the interchange of thoughts and ideas between the Blueyonder and the other teams was quite good. Eventually they caught on to the idea of a free exchange of design ideas and a number of the regular hpv guys reported having really good discussions with Blueyonder team members. 

In this photo, Jason poses with members of his team, as well as Shar & Jim Peterson.

Sam Whittingham and Jason Queally spent a fair amount of time talking about track racing. I have a feeling many of them will be back. 

And so, another great event has concluded in the little town of Battle Mountain, Nevada. Never before have HPV racers been so welcomed by a community. From the people on the street to the Public officials, Chamber of Commerce, Commission of tourism, County Sheriff, and the Department of Transportation we were assisted and entertained. We will definitely be back. 

I'd like to thank the officials, the unsung heroes who selflessly worked throughout the week without pay or glory to make sure that the races were properly timed, fair, safe and on schedule. 

They are Paul Gracey, Chris Broome, Bill Gaines, Carole Leone, George Leone, Michelle Hammersmark, Oliver Hammersmark, Will Nesling, Chris Becktel, John Cooper, Larry Lem, Jonathan Woolrich, and the appreciated but currently nameless: The two guys from U of Nevada-Reno, the Battle Mountain High school students, George & Carole Leone's friends and if I forgot someone, please let me know. 
Jonathan Woolrich and Gardner Martin

Of course none of you would be reading this without the support of the two official Web pages for the event: Bentrider Online and WISIL.Recumbents.com. These guys scooped the world media on all the stories with their daily reports. Many news agencies were getting the reports from them rather than other reporters on the scene. Bryan Ball and Warren Beauchamp were directly responsible for formatting (fixing my spelling and usage errors) and updating their sites many times each day. They did a fantastic job not only during the event, but long before the event and I expect that there will be more to come as photos and interviews continue to come in. 

Thanks for following the 2001 World Human Powered Speed Challenge. 

Sean Costin
WHPSC Organizer

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