1982 British HPV Championships

Thirty-one machines competed along Brighton's Madeira Drive at this year's British Human Powered Vehicle (HPV) Sprint Championships. They ran for glory alone - there was not a drop of the £8,000 prize money offered at last year's championships - but the entrants nevertheless ran the gamut from Longbottoms 1 and 2 basic, unfaired recumbents with respectively opposite supine and prone riding positions, to the world record holding Vector from America.

The run-up at Brighton is not long and record speeds are out of the question. Here the competition is relative, machine to machine, and as expected the contention for first place was between the Vector and Poppy Flier III, the current U.K. record holder. On the first run Poppy Flier III took the lead, with a speed of 47.31 mph as against 46.09 mph for the Vector. Hopes for a British win were intense but in the second trial the Vector posted 48.08 mph, a speed not bettered throughout the event trials.

Upstart of the day was Bluebell, an entry of the Nosey Ferret Racing Team. Bluebell is editor Richard Ballantine's semi-recumbent Avatar 2000 with a few mechanical tweaks, and a full fairing by Derek Henden. On the first trial pilot Tim Gartside ran Bluebell through the traps at 45.58 mph and dark rumours immediately filtered through the spectators and competitors - Ballantine's imported an ex-pro rider… There's a compressor turbine under that fairing… - but it was Ken Rogers who hit the truth when he remarked: 'I guess riding a London bicycle rickshaw gets you fit!'

On the second trial Bluebell ran at 46.05 mph, only 0.26 seconds behind Poppy Flier III's best time, and called it a day; rising wind conditions signalled mortal danger of a crash if a third trial was attempted, and a crash would obviate hopes of a win in the road race the next day.

Final results were:
 

Solo riders mph
Vector Versatron
48.08
Poppy Flier
47.31
Avatar Bluebell
46.05
Burrows Windcheetah
45.26
Multi-rider machines
mph
Dark Horse
45.63
Poppy Multi
45.58
Flying Greenhouse
41.5
Highview Hurricane
41.3

The road race was at Brands Hatch, 20 laps for seniors and 10 laps for juniors, around a 1.2 mile circuit that at first sight reduced many of the competitors to slack-jawed awe. Early morning practice revealed that many of the entrants were indeed way over-geared - some could not even climb the steep hill following Paddock Bend without a helping push - and the rest of the morning saw a frenzied melee of gear changes and other mechanical alterations.

At midday came the start and pilot Kevin Lutz immediately took the lead in the Vector, hotly pursued by Poppy Flier III. In short order a series of mechanical difficulties overtook Poppy Flier III, relegating it to a meagre eventual 13th place overall. Meanwhile, on the initial laps Bluebell was sorting out the fitting of the fairing while simultaneously contending with severe cross-winds. These matters attended to, pilot Tim Gartside put in the spurs and streamed past the Vector on the grandstand straight, to the utter amazement and screaming excitement of spectators and pit crews. Glory and elation are transient; seconds later, Bluebell punctured on Paddock Bend and crashed, shredding her beautiful fairing into matchsticks.

After that, the eventual outcome was foreordained. The Vector wound around the course at an average speed of 29.15 mph, completing 20 laps to 18 laps for the second place Webster at 25.78 mph. Third went to Highview Hurricane, with 17 laps at 24.60.

At the award ceremonies editor Ballantine gracefully handed the Bicycle Magazine Cup to Kevin Lutz of Vector for his highly competent senior division win, and to the Britax Apprentices for their win in the junior division, and then quietly slipped away with plans to return another day.
 
 

The Senior Race - 20 laps of the 1.2 mile club circuit
Position
Vehicle
Speed (mph)
1.
Vector
29.15
2.
Webster
25.78
3.
Highview Hurricane
24.60
4.
Flying Greenhouse
24.51
5.
Andy Pegg
24.08
6.
Hudspith
23.85
7.
Miles Kingsbury
23.21
8.
Derek Henden
22.88
9.
Burrows Windcheetah
22.65
10.
Sturmey Flying 5
21.93
11.
Glen Sprocket
21.41
12.
Velerique
21.03
13.
Poppy Solo
20.25
14.
Rogers Rapide I
18.60
The Junior Race - 10 laps of the 1.2 mile circuit
1. 
Britax Apprentices
16.67
2.
Boston Scouts
16.00
3.
Longbottom 1
15.91
4.
Longbottom 2
15.85
5.
Dennis Adcock
15.79
6.
Godfrey Knight
12.11


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