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17.4.05

Start Your Pedals!

Mark Barry, Legg Power

I'm scoping out the competition for this year's Kinetic Sculpture Race, sponsored by the American Visionary Art Museum. This race is a proud, sanctioned stepchild of the original kinetic race, which Hobart Brown started 37 years ago in Ferndale, California.
From the American Visionary Art Museum - A race of wacky, imaginative, TOTALLY HUMAN POWERED WORKS OF ART DESIGNED TO TRAVEL ON LAND, THROUGH MUD, AND OVER DEEP HARBOR WATERS constructed out of used bicycles, gears, and parts, created by a lunatic genius who tinkers around in the garage or backyard (Do you know this person?) The machines can be simple, small crafts, piloted by only one brave soul, or they can be over 50 feet long, extremely well-engineered, sophisticated vehicles powered by a team of pilots.
This is a tough race to call. I could more easily pick the next Pope. Some of the most promising entries have sunk like bad boys in cement shoes, to the bottom of the Baltimore harbor. I'm going out on a limb here and placing my play money on Captain David "Ahab" Hess and crew/family. They're paying me to say this, in food and beer, but I see a winner in this seasoned captain.

I've watched this crazy craft called "Platypus" (personal, long range, all terrain, yacht, proven unsafe) take shape and witnessed the preperation for test launch and pond trials. From now until race day on April 30th, I'll try to uncover the schroud of secrecy and get pictures and profiles of other contestants. Mark your calendars! Come on down to Baltimore; be inspired, but most importantly, have a lot of fun.

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