Port Townsend: Kinetic racers gear up for season

PORT TOWNSEND — Colorful costumes and funky vehicles highlighted the April Fool’s Regatta as kinetic skulpture fans kicked off the racing season at Fort Worden State Park on Sunday.

“This is our coming-out party,” said John Liczwinko, also known as Top Kop John Lizwacko.

“It’s a chance to get the machinery out and to let people know it’s coming.”

What’s coming are kinetic skulptures, whimsical, human-powered vehicles made from bicycle parts, Styrofoam and duct tape that race in sand, mud and water.

The season starts with the Boulder, Colo., Challenge the first weekend in May, and ends with the Great Port Townsend Bay Kinetic Skulpture Race on the first weekend in October.

To promote interest in the sport, local organizers get together in April to get the kinetic juices flowing.

This year, they are sponsoring a workshop where participants will build a skulpture from scratch.

“We’ll start with a bicycle and a pile of wood,” said Lou Hightower, “and when we’re done we’ll have a machine that will work — hopefully.”

Veteran racers like Marilyn Kurka, pilot of “Chicks Rule,” plan to take their team’s basic chassis and tack on a new theme.

To get it finished, they have been meeting once a week since January to work on the conversion of their three-wheeled vehicle into “Kinetic Medic,” an ambulance with a stretcher on top.

Kurka and her pit crew, dressed as nurses and doctors, will hit three of the four kinetic races, including The Great Arcata-to-Ferndale race aorund Humboldt Bay, Calif., on Memorial Day weekend, and the Corvallis race in July.

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