Sunday, January 18, 2015

2014 Velomobile Records, Sport Achievements and a few missing items

2014  Velomobile Records, Sport Achievements and a few missing items

Last year, it appears that the weather was not cooperating with riders trying to set records wind and rain made it difficult to beat these records.  Nevertheless competitors were able to acheive excellent performances and a few records fell along the way.  I tried to extract all the records involving velomobiles.  It is clear that velomobiles have an advantages over other types of land human powered vehicles.

Record attempts
Guy Martin & Jason Miles rode ‘Daisy’, the fully-faired sociable recumbent tadpole trike (they don’t use velomobile because the record is recognized by the UCMA).  The record was later recognized by the WHPVA. Mike Burrows and Miles Kingsbury designed this unique velomobile.  The record attempt took place at the Goodwood circuit, West Sussex, UK on August 9/10, 2014.  Rain and strong winds from a hurricane forced the riders to stop for a period of time during the attempt. The previous UCMA record dated back from 1990. The riders achieved new records for the 12- and 24-hour multi-rider records:
12h: 509.80 km/316.79 miles
24h: 909.79 km/565.34 miles

This attempt is still short of the overall 24-hour distance record of 1219.02 km (757.5 miles) set by the late Christian van Ascheberg, in a Milan SL at the Dekra Test Oval in July 2010.

Barbara Buatois wanted to break the 24hr distance record last summer. Her goal was to travel 1000mi  (1603km) in 24hrs.  This represents an average speed of 41.7mph or 67km/h., faster than the current 1 hr. record.  Due to heavy rain, the 24hr record was not attempt was ended after a few hours but in the process she broke the UCMA record for 100miles in 3h 10:27.110 using the Varna-24 delta velomobile designed and built by Built Georgi Georgiev (Canada).  

In a second attempt, in Germany, Barbara riding the Varna 24 broke the 1 hr. record for women multi track with a distance of 66.04 km.

Barbara was not alone trying to set long distance records, three other world records were set in Germany also using velomobiles.

It appears that most velomobile world records were set in Germany this year and all of those were made using the Milan SL velomobile.
Petra von Fintel rode 819.40 km in 24hours at an average 34,14 in a Milan SL at Klettwitz, Germany on 26-Jul-14
Kirsten Niederlein rode 515 km in 12 hours, an average of 43 km / h in a Milan SL at ATC/ Aldenhoven on June 21st, 2014
Wulf Kraneis rode 676 km in 12 hours, an average of 56 km / h. in a Milan SL  
at ATC/ Aldenhoven on June 21st, 2014
Matthias König rode 371 km in 6 hours, an average of 62 km / h. in a Milan SL at ATC/ Aldenhoven on June 21st, 2014

WHPVA championships
These championships are not only for velomobiles and streamliners, they also include everything including regular road bikes and recumbent bikes and trikes. Overall in the men category, velomobiles finished first and second.  Richard Dähne from Germany riding an EVO-K became world Champion and Daniel Fenn also from Germany riding his "M" velomobile became vice-champion.  In the women’s category The best velomobile came in second. Swannette Tempelman from the Netherlands riding a DF velomobile became vice-champion of the women category.

The events were not particularly well suited for streamliners and velomobiles in particular one of the events was a time trial on a course featuring a very hard ascent.

Battle Mountain
Friday September 2014, Gareth Hanks broke the World Record at Battle Mountain, riding the velomobile All Overzealous reaching the speed of 72.936mph or 117.379kph.  He had set the previous record a year earlier at the same event.
Wind was also an issue for this event as many runs were judged not legal because of the wind speed exceeding the allowable limits.  Orin Peters with his Coroplast velomobile also participated fueling discussion on the participation of ordinary velomobiles at the event or an event with similar objectives.

Racing circuits
There are several national and regional human powered vehicle (HPV) racing circuits.  Outside of the HPV circuit, there are several races and events that allow the participation of velomobiles.

Pedal Prix - The Australians have created a very interesting velomobile racing circuit involving schools that build and race their HPV in a series of 4 to 6 races with most are 6hr in duration and one 24hr race.   It is probably the biggest HPV racing circuit and one of the most competitive.  There are over 100 participants in several categories in each race and several riders in a team race a common velomobile. 

Last year Platt Racing Trump Trikes edged the TriSled Racing Team Team 1 by winning 3 of the 4 races while Trisled won one and came second in the others (best 3 out of 4 results count).  In addition to the pedal prix, there are races specifically for schools like the RACV Energy Breakthrough.  It is somewhat unfortunate that this success on the circuit. Does not translate into a stronger market penetration and acceptance of velomobiles on the road.

On the horizon
Transportation of the velomobiles is always an issue for riders who are not within driving distance of a competition.  Airline restrictions, cost, long delays for ship transportation or possible damage during the journey have made the situation very difficult and also precludes touring for velonauts.  This lack of transportation means that only the most dedicated riders with enough resources are able to compete internationally.  Some are attempting to address the issue by renting a velomobile for the Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP) brevet; hopefully riding  a velomobile which is not their own will not greatly affect their performance.

As I indicated at the beginning, velomobiles are doing well for long duration events, they also do well in brevets however they still have to prove themselves in events like RAAM.  So far no one has made a serious attempt with a velomobile for this title in part due to the crossing of the Rockies that has put velomobiles at a disadvantage in the past.  This may soon be a thing of the past as Richard Dähne has convincingly shown at the world championships, a good velomobile and a strong rider can be competitive in the mountains.  This is due to lighter stiffer and more aerodynamic shells that provide a better performance over previous designs.

There is still room for improvement for long duration records where velomobiles have more opportunity to shine.  The 24hr goal of 1,000 miles is on the mind of several people and this would be an incredible feat. 

On the speed side the low hanging fruit may be the Women’s trike record at Battle Mountain.  Battle Mountain attracts teams with expensive purpose-built Streamliners and velomobiles but it would be interesting to see if production velomobiles could approach the speed of these fastest machines.  Milan SL velomobiles already impose themselves on the long distance because they have a very efficient design, could they challenge the Overzealous with a few modifications?  Should there be a similar event for production machines?

The PBP takes place this year and velomobiles should finish at the top of the scoreboard.   Results near the minimum allowable time (40hrs) are probably possible with a velomobile and it would be interesting to see several velomobile riders arriving at destination under 50hrs.

In 2015 the WHPVA World Championship will take place in Maasmechelen, Belgium on August 21-23 with 4 events on the program 200 m sprint, 1000m sprint, 1 hour Race, 100km race.  Due to the transportation issues, the World Championship is in reality a continental event; in fact the last 3 WHPVA championships were held in Western Europe.  Let’s hope non-Europeans will  participate or it is time to consider continental championships all using the same format but maybe there is not enough interest outside of Europe.  Unfortunately, without strong participants from other parts of the world, it is not really a World Championship, one way to address this would be for the organizers to attract and fund top racers from other continents to travel to the WHPVA.

The Australian Pedal Prix has 5 races scheduled for this 2015, four are 6hr races and one is a 24hr race.  The Pedal Prix concept is also being exported to Belgium with one race being scheduled for 2015

Missing Items

A few forgotten items were missing from my previous post “2014 year roundup”.

Last year introduced two major changes to the Quest.  First, the coat hanger has been replaced with fiber reinforcement to the shell.  The coat hanger has been an issue for several riders where the aluminum part suddenly breaks.  Velomobiel had reinforced the part but even reinforced coat hangers failed.  The new setup should also add to the rigidity of the velomobile.  The second improvement comes as an option where the rear swingarm is replaced with a carbon fiber unit.  The new swingarm should add rigidity to rear end of the velomobile, significantly increasing the efficiency of the drivetrain.

VelomobileUSA is still producing the FAW+ velomobile in Midland, TX. VMUSA has been around for a number of years, although the production has been quite low overall, at least one kit was sold in 2014.

I am certain that some items are still missing; some velomobiles or manufacturers may also have been overlooked and I will try to add them as I’m made aware of the omissions.

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