World HPV Championships 2012
After weeks of preparation and training, or in some cases thinking about training, the weekend of the World HPV Championships was finally here. Eight guys from ICE packed up hire vans and made their way on the 7 hour journey from the ICE HQ in Falmouth to the amazing cycling facility in Fowlmead, Kent. Armed with the fastest trikes they could muster - custom built racing machines, standard ICE trikes and museum pieces in equal measure - Team ICE were ready to race!
The morning of the first day started with an ominous weather with 60mph gusts and outbreaks of rain. It wasn’t always easy keeping the team van going in a straight line as the gusts whipped across the road as we arrived to the Fowlmead circuit. The first challenge of the day was putting up the tents including lashing the event shelter to anything that might not blow away with ratchet-straps to trees and guy lines to metal and concrete anchors.
Paul, Dan, Patrick, Ben, Elliot, Wayne, Chris and ICE junior, Tim, give their personal on-the-track reports of the weekend.
Warming up for the first race (a standing start short lap) was difficult having not raced before (unless you include crashing on the first corner of the SPEZI Trike race). The wind was blowing and it soon got cold if you weren’t moving. It wasn’t long before I was waiting on the start line 5...4…3…2…1… the lap went past much slower than I expected and my lungs were out of air about half way round. I crossed the line at 2 minutes and .127 of a second and took the lead for the multi-track. However my biggest rival and equally uncompetitive fellow ICE rider, Ben Dickenson was only .4 of a second behind. This was the beginning of the rivalry that was to last the whole weekend. Unfortunately, in the end, I wasn’t going to prevail.
The final two hour race was intense. It was so much fun drafting behind the other ICE trikes as we flew round the track averaging speeds well over 20 mph. I managed to finish second in our class just losing out on the final sprint.
The whole weekend was brilliant; everyone was amazingly friendly and helpful and it was fantastic watching the range of vehicles whizzing round the track. The fully faired vehicles were super quick (including Tim our very own junior world champion on a lightweight fully faired ICE trike). Such a great weekend, but I need to start training for the next trip…
Having never been a competitive soul I approached the idea of riding the Championships with a ‘that sounds like a lot of fun’ mentality. I tend towards the more extreme (and in many ways lazier) forms of cycle based fun such as mountain bike trials and dirt jumping, so I was seriously lacking race experience and fitness.
Friday Evening and Saturday morning saw a timed short lap and a flying start full lap. Pulling up to the start line and being counted down was genuinely nerve wracking and both laps flew by in no time at all. I set good times in both and started to feel my confidence build, but during the one hour time trials on Saturday afternoon I never really found my rhythm. Struggling with a serious head wind on the lower section of the course, I found myself exhausted in short order.
Saturday evening saw the wind drop and the sky clear into a stunning sunset. Sitting and having a few beers (to help with the hydration obviously) Patrick suggested a night time cruise around the circuit so as the sky darkened we set of to scare the Kent wildlife. I think we can all safely say this was fantastic!
Sunday saw us lining up for the mass start 2 hour time trial. A little achy from the previous days racing, Ben, Paul, Pat and myself set off together each taking turns to lead. I soon realised I couldn’t keep the pace and we slowly drifted apart and I was out on my own. So much happened during that race that it would take pages to recount. Needless to say, I finished (which was the primary goal) and ended the weekend 5th overall.
Feeling sore but chuffed we headed for home having met some great friends, ridden a fantastic course and generally had a great time. All I can think now is roll on next year! (I think I might try some training before then though!)
Sunday afternoon and we were lined up on the start line for the two hour race, a bit of banter and a roll call and we were away, jostling to find an order in the peloton. Ben, Paul, Dan and I found a good pace and started working together as a team, each taking a stint on the front and letting the others recover, our trikes working brilliantly with no issues of any kind. That was the best part of the weekend for me, riding with my friends at crazy speed round a smooth track. Unfortunately my fitness didn’t let it last long and after about 40 minutes Paul and Ben were off on their own with Dan and I looking for another pace line to join.
With about 20 minutes to go my hands were tingling, my legs were screaming at me and I was feeling faint, I had to stop: I had nothing left. I left the track two meters after the line (to make that last lap count) and had something to eat and cheered my team mates across the line one last time. Ben took the victory with Paul second. My efforts weren’t wasted though; my average speed was enough to put me in third place. I didn’t know this until the prize giving an hour later. When they called my name in third place in our category I was shocked and so happy.
This weekend was great; I would love to do it again.
More! I loved the racing, in fact the whole event at the World championships at Fowlmead. The welcome from the BHPC, the friendliness of everyone involved coupled with such good sportsmanship and a total lack of snobbery, add the awesome track to make a recipe for a thoroughly enjoyable weekend.
Many of the participants may not have been aware of the level of ambition over the multi-track competition within the ICE camp that had been slowly building, though not always fully acknowledged since we heard early this year that the world championships would be in the UK. Several of us fancied a shot at the title and the time had come to prove ourselves. In the end Paul and I found ourselves fighting it out. We were remarkably evenly matched, finding we were only split by seconds (split seconds in the first race) for the whole weekend. It all came down to the sprint for the line at the end of the last race. I'm sure the rest of the ICE crew would agree it was some of the most intense and enjoyable trike riding we have taken part in, and it definitely left us with a taste for more.
Congratulations to all the winners and riders and many thanks to all the organizers, volunteers, spectators, innovators who put in the hard work making the Championships such a success.
I’ve been working at ICE for less than a year, so going to the World HPV Championships was the first chance for me to experience the recumbent industry first hand instead of from the comfort of my desk. What an experience it was too.
Dividing the pain and adrenalin of racing were many enjoyable moments, on and off the track. Granted, allowing myself to be lapped by juniors and, dare I say OAP’s, over the course of the championships wasn’t on my to-do-list but I still enjoyed the fact that there were so many different ages and HPV’s all competing together.
Having slotted myself into the middle of the multi-track overall standing and with only the 2 hour endurance race left I was confident I could improve my standings. 30 minutes in things were looking good, placing myself within a small group of riders including Chris Wilson, we tucked behind Denise Williams and her Rat Catcher and hunted down the other multi-track riders ahead. John Lucian and Jaap Stolk were the first to be caught, both of which joined the pack, we continued onwards….sadly the prospect of gaining places did not last long for me with my chain coming off first swiftly, then a young lad falling off in front of me who needed assistance. After taking time to help him out I had fallen far behind and gained an injury. I cruised for the remainder of the race alongside my co-worker Wayne and enjoying the overall experience.
After finishing 8th in the multi-track and with mine and everyone else’s blood still pumping it was clear that everyone’s thoughts instantly moved to World HPV Championships in Germany next year…
I’m very thankful to ICE for giving me the chance to participate in this event. Despite not having had any opportunity to practice and build up stamina I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in all of the races. The ICE team and other participants were all refreshingly supportive and everyone encouraged each other to keep going. The atmosphere between competitors was so friendly; it made the whole event a welcome change to my normal routine and one I can say with certainty that I would happily repeat next year. The experience has taught me a great deal about the machines/trikes and the fellow competitors and I was impressed with both.
I am in the fortunate position of being able to go racing these days without experiencing any pain during the race or in the days afterwards. I do, however, have loads of fun and get very excited. Oh yes, I do lose my voice from shouting too much and my hands get sore from clapping. This pain is very minor compared with the old days when I chose to do the racing myself.
My son Tim was keen to race so he helped build his machine at home in the lounge during the weeks before the event. The base trike was the super lightweight monster we built in 2003 which weighed 21lb. This built up into a sub 35lb fully faired trike. Some people had doubted this machines ability to deliver in the rough world of competition. Now they know what it can do.
Tim rode his socks off achieving a maximum speed in the sprint event of 38.8 mph and averaging 27.8 mph for 1 hour. Winning two out of his four events over three days and coming second in the other two, Tim was declared World Junior HPV Champion. That makes a Dad very proud. All Tim’s grandparents watched him race, boy did they have fun!
My favourite story of the event: Elliot of team ICE, riding a works ICE Monster, was forced off the track into an earth bank by a fully faired junior who crashed. Putting his own race on hold, Elliot, helped by race martial Eddie Robbins, put the kid back into his machine and onto the track before returning to finish the 2 hour race. There is a lesson for us all in there. It’s just a race, we are human beings first.
My sincere thanks to the BHPC for putting on a really great event.
I really enjoyed my weekend at Fowlmead (especially winning). Racing around the track at nearly 28 m.p.h was enormous fun, and knowing that no-one else on the track in your age group can manage that speed does give a certain measure of satisfaction. The atmosphere was friendly (even at the prize-giving), everyone was very supportive of each other and good racing was enjoyed by all.
I am looking forward to racing again in Germany next year.
Sincere thanks to the British Human Power Club for hosting this fantastic event.