Racing the Mongol Derby
The ponies that carried Genghis Khan’s warriors are small, tough, and skittish as hell, making the prospect of riding them for 1,000 kilometers seem downright insane. American cowboy Will Grant couldn’t resist, so he entered the Mongol Derby—the longest, hardest horse race in the world—determined not just to finish but to win.[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]
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]
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.
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!
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]
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]
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]
Jure Robič raced on bicycles in his hometown in Slovenia, skilled enough to race with small Slovene teams but nothing professionally, supporting himself with a sales job for a bike-parts dealer. It was with the death of his mother in 1997 and his subsequent depression that Robič discovered his calling: ultra-endurance cycle races, in which he competes with a methodical madness. (1 page print version, via). [more inside]
Climb Dance A short (and fast) film about a Pikes Peak International Hill Climb run from 1989. (Warning: Contains a small amount of jazzy piano sandwiched around about five minutes of very loud high RPM engine revving.)
Are you ready for some... NASCAR? "Consider, 4 out of 5 NBA players are African American, 67 percent of NFL players are minorities, and last season, 23 percent of major league baseball players were born in Spanish-speaking countries (an increase of 40 percent from 1989). All of those sports, except football, are experiencing a dip in popularity. Meanwhile, the conspicuously white NASCAR is on an unprecedented run up the profit chart."
The Volvo Ocean Race, formerly known as Whitbread Round the World, starts today. After years of preparation for the crews, boat builders and designers, 1500 BST this afternoon will see the eight participating boats cross the Cowes start line on the first leg to Cape Town. The website is more advanced than ever, with virtual racing available, as well as WAP/SMS services and brand new virtual spectator software. Will you be following the teams as they sail round the world, or is sailing simply no spectator sport?