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Flat Naca!

by Carl Brewer last modified 2007-03-22 11:31
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We testdrive the new HPV from greenspeed for the 2007 Wonthaggi 24 hour

Vanders and I spent an hour or two at the Greenspeed workshop and carpark tonight, getting used to the new HPV that we'll be racing on on the weekend at Wonthaggi.  It's the 24 hour endurance race that gets held there every year.  We last did it (an aboc crew, that is, myself, Neil Robinson and Stu Burnie, photos here) in '05 in the 'Beserk', which was a carbon fiber faired HPV that weighed 32kg and was not very stable.  Very fast and slippery once it got wound up, but around the Wonth course it was a pig. This year Craig van der Valk and I are doing the ride, and we're trying to find one more aboc'er to do it, interested?  Let me know, NOW!

This one, is so much better than the one from '05 it's not even worth comparing.  On the surface it looks low-tech, it's got a corflute fairing which is pretty crude and it's head-out not fully enclosed.  It's under the skin that this beauty rocks.  It's a fully integrated space-frame with the rollcage, intrusion protection etc all part of the chassis, which makes the HPV as light as the rules will allow without serious exotica and very, very stiff.  With a decent amount of track at the front, and around 20 degrees of caster, it's stable in a straight line, and corners like the old cliche', it's on rails.  Having head-out is a big plus, I think, the Wonth course is reasonably slow, so the aero losses are far outweighed by the lack of night problems, fogging, ease of entry and exit at pitstops and so on. The fully enclosed HPVs are bad at night when they fog up, we had to bash the screen out of the '05 one to see where we were going in the end.

Photos from the familiarisation session are here

Note that it has SRM cranks (not exactly cheap ...), that I wound up to 1060 watts in one drag down the carpark. It's not perfect, if you've got small calves and shoulders and quads, it's ace, but if you're a big, fat and lazy sprinter, it's a very tight fit and I found that after about 5 minutes my right calf was rubbed raw against the inner chain guard - Paul Simms (aka Simmsey) is going to fix that, but, and I think I was the only one to find this a problem, my quads rub against the steering arms.  Not an issue at first, but after some time it'll rub through my knicks and eat skin.  Hopefully we can do something, or I'll be wearing two cheap old knicks and hoping that they last for my time in the beast. I can't get at a drink bottle, so that'll limit my shifts to about an hour or 90 mins at the absolute most.  Rain and 21 degrees is forecast for Saturday, so that might not be such an issue.  The last time it was run it was low 30's and drinking was pretty important to keep going.

It's going to be a pretty tough weekend, I've got to coach road skills on Saturday morning, race the Blackburn club champs on Saturday afternoon, jump on chilliwing and get to Wonthaggi to do my 3 hours in the HPV (team of 8, 3 hours per rider), grab some sleep, turn around and come back to do the next day of Blackburn club champs on the Sunday.  Sunday night, I'm having a spa ....

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