Saturday night’s all right

I’m not sure if Bob will get a chance to post tonight (he has a 6 a.m. flight out of Reno), so I’ll go ahead and tell you that Jerrod and the UMR team came up short of the record, posting a 55 mph run in really cold weather tonight. But Jerrod can now say he’s the third-fastest college student to ever push a human-powered vehicle to the max. (See the unofficial/official UMR news release text after the jump.) I want to say that Jerrod, Andrew, Craig and Matt are just about the neatest, most determined student ambassadors that UMR could hope for. They have put so much work into this project and they are very deserving of admiration. Right now, they are all at an Owl Club banquet celebrating their accomplishments. At least, I think that’s where they are. (The Owl Club, a casino and diner and motel, is just about the only place in the middle of Nevada to get a hot meal and we’ve all been there a bunch of times this week.) It’s a long way from Rolla to Nevada. See you back in the Central Time Zone.
Signing off from the Super 8 in Battle Mountain,
Lance Feyh, UMR Public Relations

UMR racer records third-fastest time ever during World Human Power Speed Challenge
Human-powered vehicle racer Jerrod Bouchard, a senior in mechanical engineering at the University of Missouri-Rolla, recorded the third-fastest time ever by a college student this week in the World Human Power Speed Challenge at Battle Mountain, Nev.
Bouchard’s best official attempt in four tries on the 5-mile straightaway in Nevada was 58.29 mph. According to Mike Mowett, a statistician for the Human Powered Vehicle Association, the 61.49 mph record was set in 1993 by Jeff Solt, a national class sprinter who rode a University of California-Berkeley bike. Between Solt and Bouchard is Ron Layman, who recorded a time of 59.89 mph for the California Polytechnic University team in 2004 at Battle Mountain.
Human-powered vehicles are recumbent bicycles with aerodynamic shells. Bouchard and his UMR teammates worked on their vehicle, StreaMiner, for about a year prior to the event. They designed, built and tested the bullet-shaped bike in anticipation of going after the collegiate record. The team consists of chief engineer Bouchard, who is from Camdenton, Mo.; aerodynamics designer Andrew Sourk, a senior in aerospace engineering from St. Joseph, Mo.; team leader Craig George, a senior in electrical engineering from St. Joseph; and composite specialist Matt Brown, a senior in mechanical engineering from Rolla.
The 5-mile stretch of highway where the annual Battle Mountain event is held is one of the straightest stretches of road in North America. Each evening during the event, which was held Oct. 1-6 this year, the road is closed for approximately one hour before sunset. The riders get one attempt per night. Chase vehicles follow each rider down the road.
Several event organizers catch the human-powered vehicles as the racers attempt to slow down at the finish line. The riders are then extracted from their vehicles. Bouchard says you can tell he’s really "pushed it" when he’s unable to walk away for several minutes after the aerodynamic shell is removed from StreaMiner.
This year’s week-long event was marred by cold weather and wind. All racing was cancelled on Friday, Oct. 5, due to wind and snow, and the riders were unable to reach top speeds in the cold weather on Saturday. Oct. 6. Bouchard recorded his best time earlier in the week.
After qualifying on Monday, Oct. 1, Bouchard and his teammates had several setbacks, including a few crashes. Fortuanately, after each crash, they were allowed to start again and Bouchard did finish those runs successfully. During one sprint, Bouchard’s small windshield fogged up and he had difficulty seeing the road. During another run, he topped 60 mph and even passed a vehicle that had started two minutes before him. But he had to slow down in order to overtake the other vehicle safely, a maneuver which cost him speed during the crucial stretch of road where the vehicles are officially timed.
In addition to the UMR team, professional riders and crews from the University of California-Davis and Western Washington University competed during the 2007 World Human Power Speed Challenge.
Bouchard, Sourk, George and Brown are all members of UMR’s Human-Powered Vehicle Team, which won East Coast and West Coast championships in collegiate human-powered racing last spring. The Battle Mountain endeavor, which emphasizes sprinting speed, is a separate challenge that was born out of the larger team’s success.


  1. Cheryl McKay says

    We have the most incredible students on the planet – and off the planet. What a remarkable adventure. Jerrod and all the HPV team – congratulations!

  2. Andy Stewart says

    Jerrod and the rest of the HPV Team:
    The effects of the weather wasn’t in your control. From the news releases and the videos, I can tell you gave it your best shot!! The MS&T t-shirts look great from here!
    Thanks for being such a superb representative for the whole campus.
    Andy Stewart, UMR Library

  3. Mike Mowett says

    Results here:
    Jerrod had his best run of 59.26 mph on Wednesday night after having to slow down to safely pass another bike on the course. Only one college team (Cal Poly with a 59.89 mph) has gone faster with a one person vehicle at Battle Mountain during a week of better conditions than this year’s 2007 event.
    The college record is 61.29 mph by UC Berkeley way back in 1993 in Colorado with a college aged rider. A pro rider rode the same bike to 61.49 mph, which is sometimes reported as the college record. Though with a two-person vehicle, UC Berkeley went 68.41 mph at Battle Mountain in 2002.
    Congratulations guys! Keep up the great work. You guys should be able to easily do 60+ mph next year.
    See all the lists of fastest ever bikes here:
    Mike Mowett
    IHPVA Records committee