Rick Robson is following Graeme Obree as he attempts to break the human powered vehicle world speed record in the USA
With The Beastie handling better and Graeme getting to know how to get the best out of the machine, hopes were high as we left the hotel for another dawn run. With Beastie out on the tarmac and ready to go, Graeme climbed into it with the parting words, “Smoke me a kipper, I’ll be done in 10 minutes”
With another super-balanced start, due largely to the pushing prowess of Daily Record journalist, Gary Ralston, Graeme was away, smoothly accelerating down the road. I jumped in the chase car for a rear view of the run. Gone were the wobbles and twitches of early runs, The Beastie and Graeme are following the centre line like you would expect a former World Champion Pusuiter would. The car speedo was up between 55 – 60 mph after three miles, then the speedo dropped to 50mph before the timed 200 speed trap. Graeme slowed gradually and was caught by the catch team.
Climbing out, Graeme was breathing heavily and looked like he had pushed hard. “I went too early building the speed, then I just tried to hang on but the speed dropped. But hey-ho, no one’s died, the fish and chip papers will still be blowing around Saltcoats, the clouds rolling in over Arran”
After having a few minutes to recover, and after getting his speed confirmed as 52.9 mph, I asked Graeme how he felt regarding the record attempt. “Well, Homer Simpson said the key to happiness was to lower your expectations, and with the World Record a long way off, on a well-timed effort I could get to the British record, but the Prone record is achievable.”
Graeme got the okay to go again, so thirty minutes after the first run, we headed down to the start again. The wind seemed to be picking up. Graeme was first out on the second session after another flawless start. Jumping in the chase car, Graeme was trying a new tactic again; slow start build speed with a mile to go.
Once again, Graeme was looking smooth and balanced. As we got to the mile to go board Graeme was pulling away strongly, seemingly increasing speed through the speed trap. Another great catch by the catch team and Graeme got out looking pleased with his ride. “I didn’t quite get it right but its about timing when to push hard, it felt good.” Soon after the speed was confirmed, 53.3mph, but with an illegal headwind – yes, headwinds are illegal in HPV racing.
“The gear is right, the handling is much better, it’s all about pacing and timing the big push.”
Back at the Battle Mountain Civic Centre and Graeme got some unexpected good news, he had broken the World Record for Two-Wheel Prone Recumbent.
“Great news, but let’s give it another big punt tonight!”