Monday, 21 January 2013

100 mph

Clarey - 100mph run
Mrs FB does not generally feel the need for speed. She will frequently mutter 'It's too fast' as Fantasy Bob pushes the Volvo round the City Bypass at speeds nearing 50 mph.

However she thrilled with FB in watching French skier Johan Clarey set a World Cup speed record of 100.6 mph during the weekend's race at Wengen in Switzerland. Although he hit that speed on a section of the course Clarey did not win the race outright, he was fifth as the title went to Italian Christian Innerhoffer who reached a modest maximum of just under 99 mph.

Quite what it feels like going at such a speed on skis FB finds hard to imagine. He rather concurs with Mrs FB's refrain 'It's too fast.'

Rigolly - has to hurry to get to cricket practice
Yet 100 mph is one of those totemic measures. Once upon a time only the most souped up motors could manage to approach it. The first driver to do it was in 1904 when Frenchman Louis Rigolly reached 103.55mph in a Gobron-Brillie car at Ostend. There is no explanation of why he wanted to get to Ostend so quickly. Nowadays there is a cricket club in Ostend so had he been travelling nowadays he might be late for net practice, but that was not the case in 1904.

Nowadays most motors could have a good stab at hitting 100 mph.   Indeed so smooth at modern cars that FB has occasionally looked at the speedometer to be surprised how fast he was actually going.  But he would be well short of the highest top speed by a street legal production car which belongs to the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport.  This boy's toy's top speed is listed as 220mph but which hit 268 mph in test conditions. Mrs FB would definitely be of the view that this is too fast.

100mph is also a totemic measure in cricket. While there have been many claims that bowlers have hit 100mph - 1950s England bowler Typhoon Tyson was said to have bowled at 110mph - measurement techniques mean that this cannot be verified. Nor are batsmen to be relied on as witnesses. FB has on many occasions when shambling to the crease been told by the outgoing batsman, 'Watch it FB he's bowling at 1200mph'. FB is usually sceptical of this information particularly when the bowler is question is either a geriatric off spinner who can barely manage his 3 yard run up, or a tearaway 11 year old. Perhaps long ago the former touched a decent speed; perhaps one day the latter will hit the magic mark. But not that day. not against FB.

Akhtar in 2003
The fastest ball in cricket is accepted to have been bowled by Shoaib Akhtar, the Rawalpindi Express himself, in the 2003 World Cup. There are also claims that Brett Lee, Shane Bond, and Shaun Tait have hit the mark. There is no documented instance of FB having got anywhere near this speed. He is with Mrs FB - it's all too fast and nowadays FB's slower slower ball is probably his most dangerous weapon.

But one Australian bowler did get up to 100mph last year. Shane Warne was fined for speeding on the A74 between Glasgow and Carlisle. There is no explanation for this - he was actually heading towards Glasgow. Warne generally bowled at about half that speed. But at least he was on a motorway - Chelsea footballer Ashley Cole was done for hitting 100mph on a road with a 50mph limit.

FB thinks 50mph is a decent speed and would like to see it imposed as a limit for any bowler bowling to him.

Speed skiing - Origone in action
But to return to skiing - Clarey set his record in a downhill race where a complicated course has to be negotiated featuring turns, traverses and jumps.  But in speed skiing in which the skier simply goes straight down.  In this discipline the world record speed is 156.2 mph set in 2006 by Simone Origone.  This is as fast as a sky diver and subjects to body to forces of 5G.

As Mrs FB might observe 'It's too fast.'

1 comment:

  1. wow that looks so exciting, I have always wanted to skii like a pro, but where I am living right now there is no snow :S