The rise and fall of Lance Armstrong is not simply a story of one man’s moral failures. To understand Armstrong you have to understand the people who use their money and power to shape the culture of competitive sports. And if you follow the trail of money and power in this particular case, it will lead you to Thomas Weisel, which is where the real story begins.
Way back in 1970, there were some air racing organizers who felt that the answer to the too-short Unlimited air races at Reno might be to have a longer race, so long that it would require pit stops. In Unlimited-class piston airplanes. Thus was born the California 1000. [more inside]
Rock bouncers can climb incredibly steep terrain, but on this day, none of the 30 entrants made it to the top (with 20 of them rolling over). Here's a documentary style video showing some runs and interviews at Cable hill.
It's only one race into the 2014 Formula One season, and if you're interested in knowing more about this world of specialized racing cars, there was a roundup of documentaries on Reddit last year. While the links are all dead, it's a handy guide to films you can find online. For your viewing pleasure... [more inside]
Fans of the Formula 1 racing series spend the offseason poring through the next year's regulation changes before the unveiling of the new cars at the first testing session in January. The biggest change from last year is the switch from V8 to V6 engines, but since November fans and teams have fixated on something else: the new nosecone specifications result in an "ugly" car and quite phallic noses. [more inside]
"...so that he can see all of the nice things people are saying about him." Like this. Michael Schumacher, arguably one of the greatest auto racers ever, is fighting for his life after a freak ski accident on Sunday in Grenoble. [more inside]
Yesterday, Tatyana McFadden, a ten-time Paralympic track medalist, became the first athlete in history to win the "Grand Slam" of marathon racing, having won the 2013 women's wheelchair athlete divisions in Boston, London, Chicago and now New York. [more inside]
September 7th marked the beginning of the battle for the 2013 America's Cup between defending Oracle Team USA and challenging Emirates Team New Zealand. As the winners of the last cup, the Golden Gate Yacht Club decided that this year's Cup match would take place in a new class of boat, the AC72 wing sail catamaran. Almost as much airplane as sailboat, these extraordinary craft are designed to lift out of the water, allowing them to sail faster than the wind and reach astonishing speeds of up to 50 knots. It was hailed as the pinnacle of the sport until a May 2013 capsize and death of Swedish crew member Andrew Simpson had some calling it the world's most dangerous sailboat. [more inside]
There are just 2,795 miles of interstate and 31,000 highway cops between them and the all-time speed record for crossing the American continent on four wheels. Welcome to the Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, later known as the US Express race: The Cannonball Run. [more inside]
The Mini Drome is one of the smallest cycling tracks in the world. Fixed gear cyclists ride the 51 foot velodrome(Velodromes are typically 1 kilometer in length) without any brakes. The Mini Drome is pretty much a fixed gear version of Nascar.
The Klements Racing Sausages have been a popular feature at Milwaukee Brewers games since the 1990s. On February 16, the “Guido the Italian Sausage” costume was stolen from a bar in Cedarburg, WI. Happily, the missing link was returned to the bar Wednesday. Rewards for the safe return of the sausage, including a year’s supply of mustard and sauerkraut, seem not yet to have been claimed. [more inside]
Sure the television broadcasts catch every angle of NASCAR wrecks. However, I think views from the grandstands offer a unique view of the thrill and danger of these events.
After a 5 year absence, construction delays, and rumors of cancellation, Formula 1 is back to a permanent home in Austin, Texas this weekend. [more inside]
The bicycle racing photographs of Timm Kolln. Tour de France 2009. The Peloton (previously). Racing polaroids. Roubaix. Jens Voight. Luis Ocana. Juan Antonio Flecha on a Winter Ride. Stage 9 2010. At the races. Bicicletas Zeus. Lo Stelvio. Federico Bahamontes. [Side scrolling photography site, your forbearance is appreciated.]
Inspired by previous Road Rally races such as The CannonBall Run, a modern incarnation of the cross-country rally has emerged. Since 2007, the Fireball Run has taken place, with its 2000+ mile course varying from year to year. More than just a road race, the Fireball Run bills itself as an "Adventur-rally", relying more on cleverness than sheer speed. Organizer's compare it more to a "scavenger hunt", suggesting that a knowledge of history and local trivia are more valuable than driving skill. (in fact, racers are monitored so as not to be allowed to drive "unsafely.") [more inside]
American Gladiators: "The masochistic sport of obstacle racing has exploded in popularity. Nick Heil tries to understand why so many are signing up for the misery." [more inside]
On September 15, 2001, at the American Memorial 500, Champ Car driver Alex Zanardi lost both legs, and 70 percent of his blood, in a horrific crash (around 1:40, not for the squeamish). Yesterday, he won gold in the 2012 Paralympics. [more inside]
Speedqueens — Women in motorsport from 1898 to the present day. Fasten your seatbelts, gentlemen.
Hey! Do you like auto racing? Perhaps you’ve wished to see a race featuring a Ford 150 pickup body mounted backwards on a Crown Vic chassis. Or maybe a two-stroke/three-cylinder powerhouse 1967 Saab, complete with Antarctic emergency airdrop sled mounted to the roof. Or even a totally ludicrous self-powered pop-out camper. [more inside]
The youtube channel Racing in Slow Motion hosts short films featuring scenes from motor racing in (you guessed it) slow motion. [more inside]
Lance Armstrong: Victim? The embattled cyclist says USADA is out to get him—using powers that it really shouldn’t have. Brian Alexander says he’s right.
The 2012 Tour Divide kicked off on the 8th of June. This grand tour takes self-supported cyclists from Banff, AB CA to Antelope Wells, NM, USA along the North American Continental Divide. Riders must endure 4418 km (2745 miles) of dirt and gravel, with over 60,000 meters (200,000 ft) of climbing. If you want to win - plan on riding 16+ hours a day. Participants are now spread across the route, with the leader approaching the Colorado border.
Nissan's Batmobilelike DeltaWing in collaboration with Dan Gurney's All American Racers and others is car initially made to be the new IndyCar but ultimately made to contest the 24 Hours of Le Mans and possibly American Le Mans using half the amount of tyres and fuel as any car. It managed to run for 6 of the 24 hours before being taken out in the race.
David Letterman, Indianapolis native, racing fan and Indy Car team co-owner, sat down for an interview about the history of the Indianapolis 500, and its effect on him since childhood. No jokes, no snark, just a knowledgeable and passionate discussion about something he cares for tremendously. Parts one, two, three, and four.
Carroll Shelby - racing driver, winner of the 1959 Le Mans 24 Hour, legendary engineer and/or designer of the V8 AC/Shelby Cobra, the original Dodge Viper, the Oldsmobile Shelby Z, and the Shelby Series 1 - passed away on Thursday night, aged 89. [more inside]
In most racing games you control the car. In this one you are the road (Gameplay Video). [more inside]
Trigger Rally is "a fast-paced single-player racing game for Linux" and now, thanks to WebGL, Three.JS, and Jasmine Kent, everyone can play in a browser.
"It's not a race where you need good luck. It's a race where you've got to make sure you don't have any bad luck."
With Saturday's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (results), the Belgian professional bicycle racing season has begun. Races are contested in the capricious spring weather, on devastatingly steep hills called hellingen, winding roads, and the cobbles known as pavé. Only cycling's true hardmen win these Spring Classics. [more inside]
Motorsport - Love For Life The latest video created by Finn Antti Kalhol, Motorsport - Love For Life is a roughly four and a half minute meditation on auto racing, suffering and love. [more inside]
Folkrace is a class of rally racing originated by the Finns. Run with old, cheap cars, it's intended to be the racing class for everyone. Watch F1 champ Mikka Hakkinen train up Top Gear's James May for a Folkrace.
Thursday Flash Fun: Cyclomaniacs 2! Several characters from the first game have created a cycling megapark. The First Cyclomaniacs post.
MeFi has seen a GoPro camera attached to a sword, but after running across a video of one attached to a Hula Hoop (it'll make you dizzy) I decided to look for more and found a trove of sports, most of which are created by GoPro and as such may come across as advertising, but some are independently shot, so put that aside if you can. I'll probably never take up any of these activities, but I get an idea of what they're like via helmet or pole-cam. There's the Base Jump; the GoPro at 80,000 feet (near space); Boogie Boarding Surf; Surfing; Racing up Pike's Peak; Mountain Biking; a Kayak Competition; Kiteboarding; Longboarding; the 2010 Highlight Reel and many more. Damn, now I want one!
Grand Prix - the Killer Years A BBC documentary on how rapidly evolving technology and an indifference to driver safety on the part of car designers and track owners caused ever-escalating casualties among the top-tier drivers of the '60s and '70s, and the efforts of the drivers to introduce modern safety standards and rules. The footage is in places exhilarating, capturing the beauty and the excitement of the sport at its best, and in others horrifying and tragic, the sport at its worst.
L'Eroica in Italy offers something truly unique: a race on ancient roads using obsolete bikes, surrounded by gorgeous scenery and fuelled by a mouth-watering selection of food and wine. [Official site]
The Evolution of the Drift angle: A 90 minute film on the history of the rallying motorsport for your enjoyment. (SYLT)
Jet Sprint: Jetsprint racing is a small V8-powered jet boat with a crew of two (a driver and a navigator) who must negotiate a set course through slough channels 12-15 feet wide and 3 feet deep at speeds up to 80 mph. The winners are those with the fastest times; the losers often don't even finish. [more inside]
In the 1920's, there was a series of race cars developed by Count Louis Zborowski, Chitty Bang Bang I through IV. Though in the film version of Ian Fleming's book the name came from the sound the cars made, there is some conjecture that the name is based on a bawdy WWI song. Zborowski died before finishing Chitty Bang Bang 4, (also known as the Higham Special). The car killed its next owner in a particularly grisly fashion and was buried on the spot by his horrified friends. [more inside]
Andrew O'Hehir, writing for Salon.com, called Secretariat: "A gorgeous, creepy American myth". Roger Ebert described O'Hehir's review as "insane". O'Hehir responds.
Le blog de VelosVintage is a gorgeous French blog chock full of detailed photographs and history of beautiful vintage racing bicycles from older to newer.
Colin Berry's Spinout is a a touching, tragic story about his older brother, Kevin. Kevin competed in--and very nearly won--the All-American Soap Box Derby, but lost to Bobby Lange, the son of ski-boot magnate and engineer Robert Lange Sr.. [more inside]
RACER is a recreation of a Wipeout-style racing game using "a modified vintage arcade machine, a RC model car with a wireless camera, an a self-constructed racetrack/game level made entirely from cardboard." [via]
Skid MK is a fiendishly addictive and entertaining Mario Kart clone which has already taken up far too much of my week. Developers Conix Games also made a top-down zombie shooter in the Robotron tradition called Daytraders of the Dead, which is just about as addictive.
A Sunday in Hell. The 1977 documentary film covering the famously treacherous Paris-Roubaix bicycle road race.
Healthy competition can advance technology, and motorsports is a good example of this. The Isle of Man TT has been a motorcycle proving ground since 1907, with a bike earning its mettle by doing ton-up on the 38 mile course. Enter Michael Czysz and his MotoCzysz E1pc. After disastrous failure at the Isle of Man TT the previous year, his company redesigned their electric sport bike from the ground up. The results could have wider implications for electric vehicles as a whole. Previously. [more inside]
After years of meticulous research of historic documents, mapping, modeling, texturing, and trying to convince a video game released in 1998 to do something it was never intended to be capable of, the 72 kilometer, 567-turn Piccolo circuito delle Madonie was released as a community add-on track for Grand Prix Legends last September. The track was home of the Targa Florio from 1932 to 1936 and 1951 to 1977, and is made up of curving, winding mountain roads in the Sicilian countryside, and is beautifully recreated in the game. Best of all, it's absolutely free.