The Oregon Human Powered Vehicle group, who organizes and runs the
Human Power Challenge event in Portland, Oregon, is proud to announce
we have secured insurance and the tracks permission to add an
electric assist racing category to our venue!
The Human Power Challenge is an event that was developed to showcase
the proficiency of the recumbent style of bicycle, not that we don't
embrace all types of cycling (uprights are all very welcome to join
in the fun), it was simply that an oversight was committed many years
ago to exclude recumbents in any "official" bike race. The HPC event
is unlike any other venue in the country, primarily due to the fact
we have several racing formats available to the racing enthusiast
(drag racing to time trialing), and that we have the honor of holding
our event on a world class Indy car race track, Portland
International Raceway (PIR). PIR, which by the way, just received a
brand new resurface this last fall in time for this years racing
season. And as a bonus to our all around "clean weekend of racing",
we hold our event in conjunction with an Electrathon America event
that occurs at the same time. Very cool!
So you can see, we are very much into the mindset that revolves
around alternative transportation. Being an ardent advocate of e-
assist cycling, it has been a goal of mine to help bring this new
mode of personal transportation into the general public's "awareness
radar," giving this cool means of getting around a platform on which
to be seen.
I have followed the forums regarding the topic of e-assist racing and
have observed the variety of suggestions put forth by the community,
and have settled on a "starting point" on which to build from. The
ePower Challenge (tentative name), will be a venue built upon the
premise that these types of vehicles are "power assist" bicycles, not
electric motorcycles. I understand and appreciate the folks that want
to develop the ultimate power bikes (that's cool, it's all good), but
at this venue we are going to be advocates of showing off to the
public the viability and forward thinking aspects of how personally
and socially empowering these types of vehicles are, and thus will be
setting limits on how much "assist" you can derive from your
electrical beastie. Of course, the surest way of keeping everyone on
an even playing field would be to hook up a watt/hour meter on every
bike and limit the usage to a certain amount for a certain distance
of race. You would then get to figure out your own "consumption"
formula (volts, amps drawn, etc), but until the race gets lots'o
extra $'s to outfit each racer with such a device, we'll need to have
some rough justice applied.
There will be two race distances; you may compete in either or both.
The first (eCAT 1) will be 12 laps around the track, a distance of
slightly less than 24 miles. The second (eCAT 2) will be 20 laps, a
little under 40 miles. These will be races of governed attrition;
with next to pretty much full throttle and a reasonable amount of
human input, they should prove to be interesting contests.
Because homebuilts and kits can be tailored to just about any
configuration and the commercial e-bikes come in fairly standard
flavors and we want to promote both, we will make divisions of racers
based upon voltage supplied and amphours of batteries. Bikes can
have as a voltage supply, 24, 36, or 48 volt source, each voltage
being in their own category. Naturally, when you charge up a pack,
you'll have a pack voltage greater than, for example, exactly 24. So
pack limits are 30, 45, and 60 when freshly charged up.
The amphours (here comes real rough justice), will vary slightly with
different battery chemistries and their performance abilities.
Everyone who has purchased a particular energy system should not be
forced to financially reinvest into a system just to compete. I think
we can accommodate everyone's rig, to a fair degree, and keep things
competitive (remember, there is supposed to be some human element
involved!) Because of peukert effect, weight, power and energy
densities, typical pack availabilities, etc, a decently comparable
battery sizing/rating format for the eCAT 1 race would be; 12 amphrs
max for any Lithium chemistry, 14 amphrs nicad or nimh, and 18 amphrs
for lead. The eCAT 2 race would increase to 20 amphr rating for Li,
and 24 amphrs for nickel based, and 30 for lead (even though I kinda
doubt anyone would want to haul around a 48 V , 30 amphr pack!).
All vehicles will be checked for voltage levels at the start of the
race and a visual confirmation of the battery manufacturer amp hr
rating must be available for inspection. Racers must also wear a
nationally approved cycling helmet, have at least one side mirror
mounted on helmet or bike, and have two independent brakes. One last
thing, in accordance to the agreement stipulated on the insurance, we
will also be limiting the motors used to conform to a 750 watt
continuous power rating that should be visibly marked on the motor
casing, no switchero of stickers folks. Too many of us know what to
look out for. The 750 watt limit is to "honor" the Fed output limit
and will showcase to the public what amazing things can be done with
that amount of assist. Of course you can certainly use a less
powerful motor, it could be an advantage!
The schedule: because we have for years utilized the track primarily
on Saturday and Sunday for the HPV races, Monday has always been open
for rain out days. Therefore, Monday morning will be the race day for
both eCAT 1 and the eCAT 2 races. Please be there by 8:30, the races
will take place soon thereafter. We do have open track practice times
on both Saturday and Sunday that the assists may test and show off
their rigs, as well as lots of time to play around/hobnob on the
infield area for those days too.
We know this is short notice (because we just received the final
approvals last week) but we want to get this out there this year
anyway. The Human Power Challenge and now the ePower Challenge will
be held on Memorial Weekend, May 24th through the 26th, in Portland,
Oregon. The cost this year will be $20 for the weekend of fun.
Registration will be taken at the race site on any day of the
weekend. More than likely, the OHPV will take a bath financially for
trying this new venue this year, but we are hoping that we are
opening a door to an exciting and creatively viable approach to
personal transportation, and racing of course!
For more details on the HPC '08 and for further information regarding
any of the races, visit www.ohpv.org/HPC/index.html
and for email
correspondence write to: PIRhumanpower@comcast.net
. Hope to hear
some input and hope you can join us here for the weekend.
Director of the HPC `08