Jerrod And The Guys Gave It Everything They Had; The Weather Took All That And More

As feared, weather played havoc with tonight’s final sprints so the collegiate record still stands, but Jerrod did manage to post the 4th highest collegiate speed in history, a blistering 59.36 mph earlier in the week.
The wind was fickle, negating nearly every rider’s attempt at a legal run. The UMR team knew that temperatures would be a real problem, but no one anticipated 40 degrees at the start line. Regardless, it was all or nothing.
Jerrod had a false start because StreaMiner had been made so slick that Craig and Andrew couldn’t get a grip on it to keep it upright, but the only result was a few more scratches.
On the re-start the bike got away cleanly and Jerrod headed down the road, but ran into problems early. As his exertion and breathing heated up the enclosed bike the windshield began to fog and the defroster system they devised today simply couldn’t keep up. The farther he rode the worse it got and eventually all Jerrod could see was the white line on the edge of the pavement, but he kept pushing.

Nerves in the chase vehicles were near the breaking point because as Jerrod struggled with visibility he weaved in and out of the racing lane. As the chase vehicles crept past 50mph StreaMiner picked up more and more speed, and began to pull farther away. It looked as if Jerrod would pull it out at the last minute, but it was not to be. Stress from poor visibility and a week’s worth of frustration and effort had drained so much from Jerrod that he managed a 53+ mph final run. So wiped out was Jerrod that officials had to physically lift him from the bike and set him on the roadway like a wounded soldier, and was some time before he could walk under his own power.

Andrew’s post-race calculations showed that the air density during Jerrod’s final run was worse than sea level, wrecking the team’s design calculations based on Battle Mountain’s typical high desert conditions which make it the home of human powered speed records. The heavy air added drag to StreaMiner that Jerrod simply couldn’t overcome. As Andrew said later, "you can’t beat physics". The same factor crippled tonight’s other riders: all the veteran teams (including the world and european record holders) had runs of 5-7 mph slower than their early week sprints so no one really had a successful run. The irony is that tonight’s run was the first "legal" run as timing trap winds finally abated for Jerrod’s run.
UMR/Missouri S&T did take 4th overall (out of 15 particpants) in the ’07 event, besting several Speed Challenge veterans, and swept the collegiate category with ease and took home prize money awarded to the top college team exceeding 50mph.
Race organizers look to Missouri S&T’s participation as an indication that a new speed challenge class should be organized for university teams. And our guys are already figuring out what it will take to break the record. Next year.


  1. The info I have is that one of his runs earlier in the week qualified as the third-highest ever and that it was actually 58.something instead of 59. (Not sure if that particular run was actually wind legal, in retrospect.) There is a lot of conflicting info, but I want to change the news release if necessary to get the most accurate info possible…Especially since we are flat-out saying it’s the third-highest time ever. What say you, Bob? Email me.

  2. Matt Wolk went on this trip to help the team. Not Matt Brown. Matt Wolk is even an UMR Alumni that will want to help the team break the 70 mph next year if weather is great, and at least break the 13 year, will be 14 year college record by going over 62 next year. Nice Job Guys – Matt Wolk, the other 4th guy who went, alumni who has already used vacation on other Human Powered Vehicle stuff this year with ASME but still couldn’t miss Jerrod GOIN FAST!