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Orcas velomobile takes first at Human Power Challenge

John Mottl in his Quest velomobile, lined up with the competition at the starting line on the Portland International Raceway.  - Contributed photo.
John Mottl in his Quest velomobile, lined up with the competition at the starting line on the Portland International Raceway.
— image credit: Contributed photo.

Orcas islander John Mottl in his Quest velomobile left fellow racers in the dust during the 11th annual Human Power Challenge on Portland International Raceway this May. Sponsored by the Oregon Human Power Vehicle Association, the three-day event saw over 150 riders in various categories including electric-assist bicycles, tricycles and other outlandish contraptions.

In the ePower assist 20-mile race, Mottl finished with a time of 35:26; behind him came Bill Bushnell with a time of 37:02.

Mottl said the race was a test of both cycling skills and vehicle efficiency.

“But mostly the vehicle,” he laughed. “I just was along for the ride. If you put Bill and I on bikes, Bill would murder me. That vehicle won it for me.”

Mottl had entered his velomobile in the most competitive category, for streamliners.

“A streamliner vehicle is the fastest human powered vehicle on earth and are generally only used in racing since they are so impractical for anything but pure speed,” said Mottl. “Riders need to be bolted inside the twin clamshell and cannot get out or stop without assistance. They hold all the human powered speed records worldwide.”

While Mottl didn't get the competition he was looking for, because no streamliners attended the race, he placed first against other electric assist velomobiles.

For more information on the race, see www.ohpv.org.

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