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Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race
2009 Race Report: 2009 Champion: Goin’ Griswold

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Saturday 2 May 2009

What a great day to be in Baltimore! The eleventh annual East Coast Championship Kinetic Sculpture Race was a resounding success, with no shortage of spectacular sights, high-speed chases, and catastrophic breakdowns. The Dumpster Divers provided drama at the water entry with a crowd-pleasing rolling capsize. The Mud Doctor volunteers outdid themselves by creating the most challenging adhesive pit in Baltimore race history that sucked shoes off pit crew and stopped racers in their tracks. Spectators lined the streets of the 13-mile racecourse to see the amphibious human-powered works of art fly by.

Here are the highlights. Click the “Next Page >” button to go to the next team, or select any of the list of teams at the bottom of the page.

To see others’ coverage of the race, be sure to check out the Links page.

The Champion: Goin’ Griswold

The winner of the eleventh annual Grand Mediocre East Coast Championship was Goin’ Griswold, based on National Lampoon’s Vacation. The Gottwald family of Great Falls, Virginia played the role of the Griswold family of suburban Chicago in their Wagon Queen Family Truckster heading for Wally World. In last year’s race, the Gottwalds were the culprits behind Otter Chaos.

The first photo shows the Griswolds passing the kinetic checkpoint at Fells Point.

They carried the theme with luggage and Aunt Edna on the roof, affixing movie quotes as signs and bumper stickers, playing audio clips from the film, and wearing 1980s fashionable polo shirts and Madras shorts. They received only one ticket from the Kinetic Kops, for carrying a corpse on the roof.

In contrast to the vehicle in the 1983 film, the kinetic vehicle was generally robust and sturdy. On the water, they used duffel bag pontoons for stability.

They applied to complete the race for the ACE award, following much more stringent engineering rules. The steep and slippery water exit is the site of more sculptures losing their ACE status than any other. Mechanical stress there resulted in a drive train breakdown that was soon repaired but failed again in the sand, where they abandoned the quest for ACE.

Small propellers near wheels are becoming more popular among Kinetic engineers in 2009. This is a fiendishly clever and simple method of water propulsion.

All Pages At Once (huge!)

Next Page >
  1. 2009 Champion: Goin’ Griswold
  2. Happily Never After
  3. Cheese Racer
  4. Rocky Horror Picture Shoe
  5. NCC-1701
  6. Hot Beef Injection
  8. Oregon Trail
  9. Air Cosmonauts
  1. Ella and the Elements
  2. Going to Hell
  3. Fifi
  4. Voodoo Air
  5. Green Racer Flips
  6. Snakehead
  7. Got Ice?
  8. Safety Bears
  9. Jemicy’s Five
  1. Cycloctopus
  2. Hillbilly Racer
  3. Kinetic Airways
  4. Rat Rod
  5. AVAM’s Bumpo, Frog, and Rat
  6. Twitter Jay & the Recyclists
  7. Festivity Among the Crowd
  8. The Team

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The Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race is sponsored and run by the American Visionary Art Museum. is the volunteer work of Tom Jones.
If you have suggestions about making this site better, or questions, e-mail Tom at