Fast humans gather for annual speed challenge
The 18th annual World Human Powered Speed Challenge will be held in Battle Mountain, Sept. 11-16.
The world’s fastest bicycles will attempt to break the human powered land speed record. The challenge is against the forces of nature and the viscosity of the air itself. The record to beat is an amazing 89.59 mph set by Todd Reichert in 2016 when 10 countries from around the globe came to compete. Teams from France, Russia, Japan, Canada, Italy, Mexico, USA, the Netherlands and Britain, including many Collegiate teams, brought their high-tech pedal powered bullet-bikes to achieved amazing speeds setting many records both National and World.
Spectators are welcome to this event free of charge, with racing day from 7-10 a.m. and from 6-7 p.m. A free spectator shuttle bus leaves the Battle Mountain Civic Center at 4:45 p.m. and returns at 7:30 p.m. Bleachers are located at the timing traps for maximum speed thrills or, those curious about the riders and vehicles can watch the racers assisted from their fully enclosed speedbikes in the “catch” area. On-site parking is limited so those not using the shuttle will have a short hike to get to the bleachers. Mornings and evenings can be cold, proper clothing and footwear for the desert is recommended.
Highway SR 305 just south of Battle Mountain possesses the unique traits necessary for these highly engineered bicycles to achieve top speeds. The high altitude and arrow straight section of pavement has drawn athletes worldwide to test their speedbike designs and sprinting abilities since 2000.
The thin air at 4,619-feet altitude reduces aerodynamic drag, that coupled with the 5-mile long acceleration zone enables the bikes to reach their maximum velocity before being timed over a 200-meter distance.
The remote section of road used for this event was repaved in 2009 with an exceptionally smooth surface specially prepared for human powered cycle racing by way of an economic development grant for rural Nevada from the U.S. government and with the assistance of Lander County Department of Tourism.
The rules of the International Human Powered Vehicle Association (IHPVA) limits the maximum down-slope of the entire racecourse to no more than 2/3 of 1 percent to remain consistent with the first races held in the early 70s at the Irwindale Speedway.
The Civic Center will also host a “Show and Shine” on Tues Sept. 12 from noon– 2:00 for those who would like to see the bikes and meet the riders. Event T-shirts, hats, and posters will be on sale.
Drag races will be held in town Friday at noon near the Battle Mountain High School. All comers are welcome to test their mettle against the world’s fastest.
CURRENT WHPSC RECORDS
In 2016 Todd Reichert from Canada set the current record of 89.59 mph.
In 2016 a new Men’s Trike record of 73.95 mph was set by Australian Gareth Hanks.
In 2016 Para-Athlete Sarah Peircy from England set the Woman’s Arm Powered record at
In 2012 Men’s Tandem record of 73.08 was set by US team Tom Amick and Phil Plath.
In 2011, Greg Westlake, Canadian Para-athlete, set the Men’s Arm Powered world record of 45.68 MPH.
In 2010, Barbara Buatois, from France, broke her own record, with a Women’s human-powered speed of 75.69 MPH.
Watch the exciting trailer for the feature film “Battle Mountain” produced for Graeme Obree about his experience racing in the WHPSC 2013.