The University of Nottingham’s Wurth Elektronik Motorcycle Team is poised to ride into the record books when it attempts to break the British electric motorcycle land speed record on Sunday 17th September at Elvington Airfield. The team will be aiming to improve on their last attempt where they achieved a top speed of 165.8mph in test runs which were carried out to hone the bike.
Talan Skeels-Piggins, the UK’s first paralysed motorbike racer and World Champion (600cc category), will put the University’s race bike through its paces.
The Team, comprising of members from the Faculty of Engineering, has spent time developing the bike in a controlled environment and completing fine design work. Significant modifications have been made to the aerodynamics of the bike, lowering the drag coefficient. The most important change however, has been made to the bike’s converter. The team has significantly increased the power that the bike can deliver and ensured that the converter does not trip at high speeds. In order to achieve this, they carried out several dyno runs in collaboration with Sevcon, a manufacturer and supplier of electric drives.
When asked about the team’s chances, Team General Manager and Assistant Professor in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Dr Miquel Gimeno-Fabra said confidently, ‘We will break the old record – no doubt about that. Talan is a very experienced rider and he will push the bike to its limits. I wish him the very best of luck. I am sure we will see speeds in excess of 190mph. This will position us as the fastest electric vehicle in the UK, securing an official record that will be hard to break for electric bikes to come. From an engineering perspective, it will clearly demonstrate that the electric bike is able to exceed expectations and this will place it on a par with petrol superbikes.’
Team rider for this event, Talan Skeels-Piggins, is a seasoned road racing veteran and keen proponent of electric motorcycles. He said, ‘Having worked as a test rider for The University of Nottingham team in 2015, I am very excited and really looking forward to taking on the challenge of the land speed record. Electric motorcycles are fantastic bikes for people with disabilities. Power is instantaneous and I like the fact that the bike sounds like a jet and the way it responds to the throttle. I believe electric bikes should be the way ahead. I have been involved in testing the bike and watched the building process closely. I know this bike is going to be a real contender and where the record is concerned, I want to get close to 200mph.’
Once the record is broken, the team will head to Portugal to participate in an endurance race against petrol superbikes, something which has not been done before.
The team will continue to develop their bike further in a bid to win at next year’s TT Isle of Man races. In addition, they will build the UK’s first four-wheel drive electric formula student car and participate in next year’s MotoStudent competition with a smaller bike that will be designed and built by undergraduate students.
The present UK electric bike land speed record is held by Kingston University when their racer, George Spence achieved 160mph at Elvington Airfield in York in August 2013.