Sunday, August 9, 2015

A new motorsport adventure Pt 2, Of Bourbon + Bumps & Bile ….

I left the US Coast Guard fifteen years ago with nearly 3000 hours of helicopter flight time. In that period I had occasion to fly in some of the most beautifully perfect and horrifically miserable weather conditions imaginable. Not once in that period did I puke.

This was an oft-voiced statement in the months leading up to my first real race with “Patent-It! Racing”…..and at this point I’m betting you can see where this story is going but we’ll get to the self-deprecation in a bit. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Farce And Failure Of The DeltaWing

I’ve had a couple of guest posts on this blog and here is another. The background here begins with a years long discussion of the Deltawing Racing Program on a motorsports related message board that I frequent. The members of this board are a pretty tech-savvy lot and have highly tuned BS detection faculties. Over the years we’ve watched this program and marveled, not at it’s achievements but that it continues to exist despite an utter lack of them. Matt Miller explains further herein……

The Farce and Failure of the DeltaWing

A Guest Post By Matt Miller

The 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans included some amazing technology and competition among very different LMP1 prototypes.  It also included the first racing of the Nissan GTR-LM, a car designed by Ben Bowlby that is waaaay outside the box.  Against this backdrop, it’s a good time to re-examine another Bowlby design that also diverged severely from general practice: the DeltaWing.  To eliminate all suspense, I will say at the outset that this car is both a miserable failure and a farce.  Now, let’s see why.

IndyCar Roots

To understand the DeltaWing (DW), you have to understand the original intention of the car in 2010: it was supposed to be the next IndyCar.  It was intended to attract attention to that form of racing, which had been losing its fan base and which become a spec-racing series with an old-tech, open-wheel Dallara that was pretty boring.  Bowlby proposed a dramatic new car with only 300hp and which weighed far less than the Dallaras.  It was dramatic because of the shape: with a front track of only 24 inches, the car resembled a slimmed-down Space Shuttle in planform.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

A New Motorsport Adventure…”You Want Me To Race What?”

I’ve been involved in amateur Endurance Racing for over ten years. In that time, as a crew-chief I have been a part of a class win and two podiums at the 25hrs of Thunderhill, two NASA Endurance Championships and a bunch of Endurance Series race wins. It’s something that I deeply enjoy. It satisfies my need to measure my performance against my past and against my competitors, identify areas for personal and team improvement and see measurable results of those improvements. 

I’ve long held the desire to participate in a top tier racing class and I thought that opportunity might come in the form of a chance to help out with a team headed to the 24hrs of Daytona or 12hrs of Sebring. Heck, I’ve even told a few acquaintances that hold professional racing licenses that if they ever get the chance to race at Daytona, Sebring or….be still my heart…LeMans, that I’d pay my own way to the event just for the chance to help in any small way. Though that opportunity has yet to materialize, I thought until recently that it would be my best opportunity to participate at the highest levels of motorsports.

Until recently…..

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Canoeing Culbertson Lake, CA a well earned silence...

Canoeists in California don’t generally have access to the sort of trips that those in the upper Midwest do. We have no “Land of 10,000 Lakes”, no Algonquin or Boundary Waters or Quetico, and save for the Lower Colorado no long lazy rivers through deep wilderness. I’ve long held a desire for a multi-day trip that would take me through a number of lakes but that’s pretty tough to find. Most lakes in California are either man-made water storage reservoirs in the foothills around urban areas or in the low Sierras or man-made reservoirs for power generation in the high Sierras. The latter has provided a for a few of my trips in the past ( Hell Hole & Iron Canyon ) but given the terrain that they reside in most do not allow one to paddle a lake, hoist your canoe onto your shoulders and hike a reasonable distance to the next lake and repeat. 

But there are a few exceptions if you look really high into the Sierras. In areas where glacial forces long ago carved divots out of the landscape that now hold runoff from winter snows. I’ve found a few chains of these glacial lakes that I wanted to check out and when some unexpected time off presented itself last year I jumped at the chance for a few days away from the Valley, email, cellphones and noise.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Future Of Mountain View: Art, Science, Technology & Big Thinking vs NIMBY's & City Government

Yesterday Google & LinkedIn and a host of other Mountain View companies launched a shared initiative for the growth and development of the North Bayshore area and it's surrounds.

I grew up in this valley and have lived all over the country before moving back in 2000. One of the great failings of this area is our utter lack of creative, innovative or even generally good looking architecture. SF has the Transamerica Pyramid, Coit Tower and little else. The South Bay's most architecturally interesting structures are Hangar 1 (built in 1933) and a pedestrian footbridge over 280 near Wolf Rd.