Battle Mountain – the full story
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We arrive at the State Road 305 in the dessert where all races will be held this week.
A piece of the SR305 is closed down for some 20 minutes to allow 5 persons to race and after this the road is opened again to allow some cars to pass.
It’s about 7.30 when Jan Bos starts and straight after the start he makes a sharp left turn and falls over. After picking up, he is restarted, but Jan mentions that there is a problem with the chain and the bike is hard to handle. There is no time to check and restart, the next rider is waiting to be started, so Jan has to step out and try again tomorrow morning.
Next rider to start is Ellen and after a fine start David and Hans jump in the car to follow. It takes about half a mile to pick up Ellen again, it seems she is doing fine with a speed of 40 MPH. But she does not go any faster and after 1.5 mile she moves to the left lane to indicate she wants to stop. Hans now makes a jump forward in order to catch Ellen, but while Hans and David are waiting for Ellen she suddenly decides to continue. Problem solved? Other riders are meanwhile started so Hans has to wait for the other bikes to pass before following Ellen again. When he finally arrives at the finish Ellen explains what happened: at higher speed the bike became hard to control so she wanted to stop but then, at lower speeds, the problems seemed to have disappeared.
Back at the hotel the bike is checked: the pressure in the tires dropped from 7 Bar to 4. Both tires were checked yesterday evening, but it seems they loose air to quickly. This means we have to check the tire pressure early in the morning before the start.
The damage to Jan’s bike is repaired and the derailleur is adjusted. We also decided to change the tires back to Kojaks.
At 4 o’clock Hans and Ellen go back to the start. Ellen is quite nervous because she is in the 2nd heat. The launch goes OK, but then Ellen moves to the left and people are shouting “flat tire”. Ellen is still rolling, this is impossible with a flat tire, after catching Ellen she explains there is a problem with the chain. The chain seems OK. Back at the hotel a big hole in the tire is found.
During the debriefing at 8 we hear that all runs are legal: start and wind are OK.
After this it’s time to get something to eat.
This morning Jan get’s a second chance to qualify. 64.3 MPH gives him a chance to do a real run in the afternoon.
Ellen already qualified yesterday so she get a shot at the real thing. 51.6 MPH is not good, Ellen still complains about the tires and a bumpy ride.
Back at the hotel the tires on Ellen’s bike are checked and before we know it is time to go back for the evening runs. Ellen is started first but the run does not look too good. She is not getting up to speed until suddenly the bikes seemed to be pushed forward, resulting in 68.28 MPH at the finish.
The catch is fine and Ellen gets out without any problems.
She looks exhausted and she explains that the bikes does not feel good between 40 and 60 MPH.
Jan’s run goes fine and he is clocked at 74.1 MPH.
Morning runs are normally slower than evening runs, so since both Ellen and Jan had a nice run yesterday evening we decided not to participate in this morning’s runs and let them sleep a while.
Unfortunately it started raining in the afternoon so there were no evening runs.
Today looked to be similar to yesterday so we have to run in the morning.
It was still cold when Jan started. He picked up speed quickly and went out of sight in a few seconds. Later we heard he had a flat tire, resulting in a crash at 115 kmh.
Jan had just a few scratches but the window was gone and the body had quite some damage. Nothing which could not be repaired.
Ellen had a nice run,63.27 MPH is good for a morning run.
Back at the hotel work on Jan’s bike is being repaired. A new windscreen is glued in place and some spots have to be repaired with a few layers of carbon. Some spraypaint and polishing and then it’s 11 o’clock, time to go to bed.
Meanwhile Hans and Ellen went back to check for an evening run but as expected the weather does not cooperate: again no evening runs today.
On friday morning Jan starts first, followed by Aurelien and then Ellen. Ellen is started when Aurelien is around the 1 mile marker. After 3 miles, Ellen is in the high 60s but she is closing in on the car that follows Aurelien. She is too afraid to run into the car when overtaking. At the finish she is furious about the car driving in the way. We heard Aurelien’s windscreen fogged up but this does not make up for a ruined almost perfect run.
Jan aborted his run, the bike did not feel right.
Again, no evening runs. The weather is not cooperating this year…
Jan had no luck during his morning run, he crashed again. Ellen’s run was a bit slow, just 66 MPH.
Jan decided he wanted to do another run in the evening. So there we are again doing carbon repairs. The cause for Jan’s flat was discovered and fixed and in the afternoon Jan goes for a test ride: the bike seems fine.
In the evening everyone was a bit nervous: this is the last chance for a new record and there is a lot of wind.
The first two runs were completely canceled. None of the riders wanted to rider with these conditions.
At sundown the wind dies. Sebastiaan Bowier starts first but there is still a lot of wind. Jan follows but Ellen is too tired to start.
Jan finished at 74.13 MPH and we heard some rumours about a new world record for Sebastiaan and this was confirmed during the debriefing: … MPH is the new world record set by Sebastiaan.
A nice ending of a very busy week.