June 23, 2015, by Rob Ounsworth

Engineers race to Isle of Man TT prize

Engineers from Nottingham raced their electric motorbike at the legendary Isle of Man TT and came away as fastest university team.

The zero carbon emission bike was pitted against professional factory teams and other universities at the TT Zero, a one-lap time trial of the 37-mile course, which is regarded as the most unforgiving, mechanically demanding circuit on earth.

The bike, built by the Power Electronics Machines and Control Research Group and other members of the Faculty of Engineering, came a highly creditable sixth and was the fastest university machine behind the professional teams.

It was Nottingham’s first TT race and the achievement came after the team raced to finish a complete redesign and rebuild of the bike to harness the higher power of a new motor.

The past two weeks were spent on the Isle of Man, preparing the newly built bike for a race that would test its mechanical and electrical capabilities to the limit.

Getting the bike ready was a white-knuckle ride for team members Marco Degano, Miquel Gimeno-Fabra and Jonathan Blissett – not least because rider Daley Mathison was injured as the TT loomed. Professional road racer Michael Sweeney exemplified the team’s spirit by stepping up for his first ride on an electric bike.

As Miquel and Marco said: “Many thought we were not even going to make it to the TT, and in fact we got there with only a frame, boxes full of batteries and loads of tools. Our main success here is having worked as a team besides all the challenges that the TT threw at us. Ultimately, our achievement has been down to the right combination of knowledge, work and sacrifice, never considering giving up as an option.”

An intense couple of weeks were topped off by the team winning the University-backed team award at the TT. They are pictured here back in Nottingham with the bike.

Team director Professor Pat Wheeler, who leads the Power Electronics, Machines and Control Research Group, said: “Entering a University of Nottingham bike in TT Zero has been an exciting and rewarding experience for the team from the Faculty of Engineering, and is a great way to demonstrate the technology developed for future electric vehicles by the Power Electronics, Machines and Control Research Group and our students.”

The bike has been sponsored by Murata and also receives support from Parker Racing, Haiyin and GIA Engineering. Nottingham’s sixth place in the TT Zero heralds a summer of racing. The team is upgrading the bike and hopes to take on all competitors in MotoE, the European electric motorbike racing championships that showcases cutting-edge technology.

A top place is in its sights at the Isle of Man TT 2016, as well as becoming the first university team to join the TT-100mph club.

Read our tribute to Daley, who sadly died following a crash while racing for the MADMAX Race Team at the 2019 Isle of Man TT here.






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