Press Release –
Fenwick, ON – The gauntlet was laid down by Henry Bieda eighteen years ago now but doubt has been cast about the validity of Henry’s records according to 29 year old Greg Nielsen of Grand Prairie, AB.
Nielsen disputes Bieda’s 18 year old record, saying his numbers haven’t been recognized by Guinness World Records; he believes they are not correct. Nielsen made his statement in the August 25th issue of the Edmonton Journal.
“To calculate his distance, he used the odometer on his snowmobile,” Nielsen said. “My odometer showed that I went almost 200 kilometres when I was done, but on my (global positioning system) the actual distance was only 94.86 kilometres.”
Laughingly, Bieda and his tech crew reply to Nielsen’s skepticism as poor analysis and assumption based on an incomplete set of facts.
Bieda explains that his 1985 Ski-doo Formula SS chassis snowmobile was a custom built combination of spe f ically fitted and machined parts. “Wally” as the machine is affectionately named, is one of a kind unlike any production machine ever built with an engine, a driveshaft, suspension components and a track from various different models of snowmobiles.
Because Nielsen’s GPS read a certain number of kilometres but his odometer read substantially more on his Polaris on a given day under certain water conditions, is no indication that Bieda’s odometer would perform at the same ratio.
After two years of testing and sinking Wally numerous times, the odometer accuracy was the least of our worries and because it happened to be accurate within 1-2% was a function of our modified calibrations, setup and a little luck because Henry did not have voice communications with the tech crew at the Lincoln street docks due to the extreme noise level of his machine.
Henry was able to use the odometer as a guide only to determine what lap he was on, but the real determining factor was the amount of fuel that the fuel pumps were able to suck out of the three fuel tanks.
“Our dyno testing was spot on giving us just enough fuel to achieve our goal.” Reported crew chief Gary “The Doctor” Potyok. “Gary our crew chief being a meticulous detail guy did his job and did it well in figuring fuel economy and distance travelled on the top maps.” Reported Bieda.
In 1989, nobody had handheld GPSs so we had to use topographical maps to calculate the number of laps we needed to travel to attain the 100 mile goal reported Stephen Bieda Henry’s son. The distance from the South end of the Welland Recreational Waterway to the North end is 11.1 miles plus the turning radius at the end of each lap which gave us the 100+ miles explained Potyok.
The stunt was part of the Welland Rose City Festival and upwards of 2000 spectators oversaw the stunt from the banks of the canal from each end. Marshalls on Sea-doo watercraft were also present in the event that the snowmobile sunk since this was Henry’s first time ever attempting at turning Wally on water.
“Nielsen’ s got his work cut out for him,” says Henry Bieda, “because he still hasn’t even eclipsed Mark Maki’s 108 km (67 mile) snowmobile waterskipping record from the early 80s which old school waterskippers like me always understood as the record to beat.” Due to all recent hype Bieda is now planning a 20th Anniversary Lake Ontario Crossing celebration event and DVD release of stunts for June 2007. Details on the DVD video release will be available at www.biedaspowersports.com. “Eventually we will make sure Guinness gets the story straight no matter what”, reported Stephen Bieda.
Bieda advises that snowmobile waterskipping should never be attempted by amateurs due to the inherit risks and skill required.