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Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race
2018 Kinetic Pilgrimage: Saturday May 26: Arcata Start

Here's a Sculpture!
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Want to See the 50th Anniversary Humboldt Race?
The Kinetic Grand Championship is held Saturday–Monday every Memorial Day weekend. The 2019 race starts noon Friday May 25 in Eureka, California and finishes Monday May 27 in Ferndale.
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Memorial Day Weekend 2018

In 1969 Jack Mays challenged Hobart Brown to a sculpture race in Ferndale, California. Fifty years later—in 2018—that race had grown into a 3-day, 50-mile extravaganza over pavement, sand, dirt, and water, with the finish line still in Ferndale (a 261-mile drive north from San Francisco). Fifty-nine teams registered for the 50th Solid Gold Kinetic Grand Championship May 26–28. Dawn Thomas created a massive Kinetic Kompendium documenting the history of the race, including hundreds of photos.

Special guests came from other kinetic races in California, Oregon, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Maryland. Johanna and Tom Jones from made the trek behind the redwood curtain to photograph the race from start to finish. The best 165 of 1,351 photos are in this report.

If you’d like to see a golden championship kinetic race, it’s not too late—next year’s 51st race is also the 50th anniversary of the first race, so you should head to Humboldt County in May 2019 for more gold pageantry. And if you want, there’s more kinetic history here.

We’d like to thank Elliot Naess for lending us two bicycles to navigate the racecourse, and Goddess Jen-O for helping coordinate our visit.

Each page covers a portion of the race, starting with the start. Click the “Next Page >” button to go to the next portion jump around at the bottom of the page.

Saturday May 26: Arcata Start

We last saw Sparkle the Horse in our 2004 Pilgrimage, and she retired soon thereafter. However, Sparkle came out of retirement for the 50th Race, looking as spry as ever.

Gilded Ghost Guild aka Kinetic Paranormal Society is a spirit cabinet on wheels, generally towed by a bicycle. The wardrobe included a puppet (not shown here) providing bizarre commentary through the race.

Mite Make It had an unusual 6-wheel design consisting of a quadcycle with 2 trailing bicycle frames with empty front forks. They provided no information to the Spectators’ Guide, so we don’t know anything else.

Cyclops was an all-terrain unicycle that took to the water for the first time this year.

Ferntucky 500 was 2 fat tire bikes in a car-style frame.

A Toast to Hobart celebrates race founder Hobart Brown. The dual-drive quad had 60 gears, thanks to the combinatorics of 2 internal hubs with 2 and 3 gears combined with a 10-sprocket traditional hub. While many Humboldt teams deflate or dismount their flotation on land, these pontoons swivel upward for rapid conversion at water transitions.

Melvin has raced for 37 years, with their distinctive 3-cone train.

The Notoriously Adventurous Vacationing Yachters has raced for 1 year, but on Monday they won the Goddess Jen-O Award.

Trilo Bike Diner had a real clock and fake meals, celebrating the historically anachronistic union of trilobites and the classic diner restaurant. Their gear was stored in the refrigerator at the back.

Silver Streak commemorated the highly distinctive red & white locomotive from its namesake 1976 movie. The body was made of foam board and corplast.

Black Tie Affair is a 20-foot long front-wheel drive tricycle with 82-inch 120-spoke wheels and Honda Civic disc brakes. One of the spokes was a golden tie for the 50th race.

Don’t miss the spectators atop the Hotel Arcata.

Fire Chicken was a Star Wars Landspeeder, complete with R2-D2.

With 12 recumbent pilots, Cloud of Unknowing—Flying Squirrel qualified as mass transit. It was this team’s second year racing.

Consisting of an actual Ford with the guts removed, U.S.S. Festiva demonstrated far more panache than speed.

Cro-Magma of the Stoned Age was a 3-wheeled flaming tricycle with pontoon frame visible underneath.

This Goes Gold had 10 pilots: 4 on each side facing out, and 2 in front. Hoosier Dirt Oval tires are popular for their broad traction surface, reasonably low rolling resistance on pavement, and buoyancy.

Immediately after leaving the Arcata plaza, the racecourse goes through a couple of blocks of orange plastic fencing.

New Mexican Roadrunner is Jon VerPloegh’s celebration of his home state and 30 years of kinetic racing in Boulder, Colorado.

They were also set to win the Golden Dinosaur Award for being the first to break down after leaving the plaza, in this case making it less than one block downhill.

All Pages At Once (huge!)

Next Page >
  1. Saturday May 26: Arcata Start
  2. Saturday May 26: Beach to Dead Man’s Drop
  1. Sunday May 27: Eureka Water Entry
  2. Sunday May 27: Eureka to Crab Park
  3. Monday May 28: Eel River Crossing
  1. Monday May 28: Finish at Ferndale
  2. Pageant Before & Awards After
7/21/2024 3:01:44 AM   7/22/2024 6:14:18 AM   1:7   2:1   3:1   4:1   5:1   6:2   7:1   AllInOne:1
The Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race is sponsored and run by the American Visionary Art Museum. is the volunteer work of Tom Jones.
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