Mad River Union
HUMBOLDT – It’s time to gear up for four days of fun as the Kinetic Grand Championship kicks off this weekend, beginning in Arcata and ending in Ferndale.
Kinetic Thrills Pageantry Party
New this year is the Kinetic Thrills Pageantry Party, which is on Friday, May 25 from 6 p.m. to midnight at the Arcata Community Center, 321 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.
Racers will debut their team’s pageantry and pick up their official registration materials. Teams competing in the Kinetic Grand Championship are graded for speed, engineering, art and pageantry, with each team kicking off the race with a song, dance, or skit of varying complexity. The evening will also include veteran kinetic racers and dignitaries sharing their stories of races past. Though previously announced at $10, admission to this event is free for all.
Glorious KGC sponsor Petaluma Poultry will have a fantastic food truck at the party!
Race Day 1
The race begins on Saturday, May 26, with racers gathering on the Arcata Plaza at 9 a.m. as they await the noon siren, at which time they get rolling.
Teams enter the Arcata Plaza at H Street and Ninth Street then circle the square, subjecting themselves to judgement by experts in important Kinetic Categories like Art, Engineering, Safety, Kinetic Thrills and Safety. Watch the pageantry and “Brake Test.” Then eventually, the Queen will decide it is “noon,” and set off the siren.
Once they scramble to their seats, pilots will speed their sculptures around and around the town square until Rampmeister opens the starting gate, and releases the Kinetic Madness on the road to glory!
Racers make their way down State Route 255 on their way to the Manila Community Center at 1611 Peninsula Dr. That’s where the Kinetic Festival will be held from noon to 3 p.m.
Kinetic racing teams will pit stop and take a quick break at the festival, then prepare their sculptures to run on sand before setting off into the dunes toward the roaring Pacific Ocean. The glorious ocean spray and hard packed sand are a brief treat, for soon they will turn inland through June’s Dunes, and onto the inevitable Dead Man’s Drop.
Dead Man’s Drop is not so much a sand dune, as a soft sided skyscraper. Teams slog up, sliding backwards the whole time, then gather their wits about them for the white-knuckle ride down the far side. The “Golden Flipper Award” is given to the team which inverts itsself most spectacularly under the influence of gravity.
Racers then make their way over the Samoa Bridge and stop at Halvorson Park in Eureka, where the Finish Line Party is held from 1 p.m. until dark.
Race Day 2
On Sunday, May 27, teams will enter the Humboldt Bay at the Public Marina (Wharfinger Building) beginning at 9:34 a.m.
Awards are given for Biggest Splash and Water Flipper.
Racers will then stop at Eureka Natural Foods, 1450 Broadway, for a pit stop. Come by, check out the sculptures and have some lunch.
The last chance to see Kinetic Sculptures on the course for the day is on Loleta Hill from about 1:30 to 7:07 p.m.. It’s a brutal climb, followed by a fast ride on a winding road down. Park on the opposite side of the road from the teams, and give them some glory!
Race Day 3
Teams will leave Crab Park at 10:01 a.m. on Monday, May 28 and proceed through Loleta, past Fernbridge, where they will descend onto private property at the Worswick Bar.
Spectators should park on the Ferndale side of Fernbridge and walk down to the public side of the Eel River bank where they can watch the teams cross the river under Fernbridge. Please be careful where you park, and don’t try to cross the freeway on foot.
Racers then make their way to the finish line in Ferndale, where there’s a party from 1 to 4:37 p.m.
For just over three hours on one day a year, the corner of Main Street and Brown Street in Ferndale is the best party in the (Kinetic) Universe! Enjoy food, drinks, Kinetic merchandise, and the handcrafted Victorian hamlet of Ferndale.
The racers are exhausted. at this point. They are bedraggled and sore, but elated. Some of them are racing to the last moment, trying to make the fastest time. Others are dragged across the finish Line by their muddy, bloody crews.