It was a beautiful Arcata day for the start of the annual Kinetic Grand Championship. Racers seemed to be focused on their machines this year. There wasn’t the usual fire-breathing spectacle, but there a lot of mid-sized machines, heavy on gears and muscle. Everyone made an effort to bring something at least a little new this time. Listening to the interviews with the judges, I definitely got the impression that they were looking for something novel as well as functional.
If I had to pick a favorite this year, I’d go with this shark. The lower jaw doesn’t have a center, so kids could stand in it to get their picture taken in the jaws.This is the first time I think an entry has been too seaworthy. It would have had a better look if it had rode a little lower in the water. It floated at about wheel level.
Hell on axles was certainly vibrant.
I don’t know anything about these guys, but I really like something about the design. It looked comfortable, something like pedalling around on a reclining couch. Normally, I would be concerned about being able to stop without just rolling around like a hamster in an out of control hamster wheel, but the low center of gravity and two person seating really makes this one seem stable and easy to control.
Race Like an Egyptian had, ahem, quite a prow on it. Didn’t do so hot when it hit water. Not the most streamlined float ever, but an entertaining entry.
Blue Oyster Cult. I’m a bit puzzled, but googly eyes make everything better. Nice barnacles too.
Lost Coast Mutnineers. We’ve seen better pirate ships, but this one had the engineering to make it work well.
This thing needed some dry ice or something, but it looked good for how little there was to it. I’d be interested to see one of the big players run with this idea in metal and propane.
I don’t know the story behind this one. I like it, but I wish they had used the screw for water propulsion, or at least had it spinning.
They were calling this one Cloud of Unknowing. I’m going with Crowd of Unknowing. Supposedly the most drivers ever in one entry at a dozen. One of these years, someone is going to refit an old school bus with bicycle propulsion in all the seats and enter it in the race. It does seem like the ones with more people function pretty well, but I’ve been seeing an increase in the number of entries that have a bunch of people pedaling like mad to propel something at a fast walk.
Here’s Duane Flatmo in his Doomed Buggy. Not his usual spectacular entry, but it’s always good to see him in the race. This one was a bit front heavy (I’ve seen the back wheel come off the ground a few times) and flipped over going down Dead Man’s Drop. Duane suffered only minor injuries and was right back in the pilot’s seat.
Thank you to all of the people who worked so hard for our entertainment. I look forward to next year.