Port Townsend kinetic racers set sights on world championship in California

PORT TOWNSEND — Dead Man’s Drop. The Muddy Slough. Loleta Hill. The Slippery Slope.

Not to mention wind, tides and mosquitoes.

These are just some of the obstacles facing two fearless Port Townsend teams which are heading for the big league in kinetic sculpture racing — the Arcata to Ferndale World Championship on Memorial Day weekend in northwest California.

“The toughest part of the course is Dead Man’s Drop,” said Marilyn Kurka, a veteran kinetic racer.

Kinetic sculptures (spelled skulptures in Port Townsend) are vehicles constructed of equal parts bicycle gears, Styrofoam and duct tape that have been turned into fanciful works of movable art — giant frogs, dinosaurs, space rockets and the like.

Kurka and Gwen Birk, dressed in yellow feathers, piloted “Chicks Rule” to glory in the 2003 Great Port Townsend Bay Kinetic Skulpture race. In 2004, the chick tricycle was transformed into an ambulance staffed by “Kinetic Medics.”

This year, Kurka and her crew are creating a vehicle with a hockey theme.

Also entering the big race on and around Humboldt Bay are Katy Morse, Charlie Bodony and the kilted crew of a giant-wheeled, pedal-powered vehicle, known last year as Lock Nuts Monsta that appears regularly in the Port Townsend race.

THE KINETIC APRIL FOOL’S Ball will be held Saturday from 8 p.m. to midnight at the American Legion Hall, 209 Monroe St., Port Townsend.

Tickets are $10 at the door; $18 per couple. Must be 21 and older; ID required.

Captain Fever will play rock ‘n’ roll favorites. Dress is kinetic (bright colors, feathers, sequins).

Proceeds to go to support two local teams to compete in the Arcata to Ferndale World Championship Kinetic Sculpture Race in California.

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