June 23, 2017, by Shirlene Campbell Ritchie
Gearing up for the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
The University of Nottingham is aiming to be crowned Champion of the Peaks on Sunday when its Murata Electric Motorcycle Team take on an international hill climb.
The team is making its first appearance in the annual Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) on Sunday 25th June 2017.
American rider, Jeremiah Johnson, a 25-year road racing veteran and keen proponent of electric motorcycles, will take the University’s new race bike through the 12.42 mile course with 156 turns that will end at the 14,115 foot summit of Pikes Peak in Colorado, USA.
The Power Electronics, Machines and Control Research Group (PEMC) has built a new bike for the race with significant technical differences. The new bike’s motor is based on a custom version of the immensely powerful Parker GVM-210, which is smaller than the one used by Jeremiah in the 2016 European Electric Motorcycle Championship.
The team has worked hard to determine the best battery layout, as well as new geometry and handling properties to give this bike the appropriate handling characteristics to take on the tough and demanding route up America’s Mountain.
When asked about his outlook for the team at PPIHC, Team General Manager and Assistant Professor in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Dr Miquel Gimeno-Fabra said: “This is fantastic news, as we were one of 36 teams that qualified for the race. Pikes Peak is the most famous hill climb there is and being able to put one of our bikes on the grid is an honour. We would like to thank our sponsors for their support and the organisers for giving us the opportunity to put on a good show.”
The University’s new testing facility is being put through the paces to get the bike pushing the limits.
The team has to contend with a number of challenges including both technical issues and logistical arrangements. Pikes Peak will begin just a few days after the Isle of Man TT Zero race. However, strict freight regulations mean that the bike cannot fly while it is loaded with batteries, so the packs will have to be assembled in double-quick time once they arrive in Colorado. In addition, the team will need as much support as possible from their followers in the US, as only four of their engineers will travel to Colorado so they will have to do without their normal race pit setup.
Jeremiah said: “After having raced with The University of Nottingham team in 2014 and 2016 I’m really excited to be able tackle The Mountain with this new race bike they are building for me. I’ve been involved with them through the design process and have watched their building progress closely. I know this bike is going to be a real contender. I’ve raced Pikes Peak International Hill Climb two times in the past, but I’m really looking forward to eclipsing my previous best time and take another class win. Having an electric motorcycle that doesn’t get affected by altitude is really great when racing to the top of the 14,100 foot summit.”
Race Report – TT Isle of MAN
Two of our electric superbikes just completed racing in the TT Isle of Man event. The fastest bike achieved an average lap speed of 109mph – considerably faster than the 99mph accomplished in 2016! It eventually came in third behind two Honda bikes. Our second bike was fifth.
The University’s team, which included undergraduate students from the Departments of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering, worked very long hours to get the two bikes to the starting line.
The team also won the Best Team and the Best University awards, plus our rider, Daley Mathison, bagged the Best Privateer Award.
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.