Engineering students get hands-on for cycling land speed record attempt

Four Shropshire university engineering students are attempting to design and build equipment to be used in a bid to set a new cycling land speed record in 2021.

Operation Pacemake students with Neil Campbell (back, maroon jumper). L-R Emily Jones, Martin Campbell, Will Mosley, Neil Campbell, Andrew Jones from Moss Bikes, and James Seymour
Operation Pacemake students with Neil Campbell (back, maroon jumper). L-R Emily Jones, Martin Campbell, Will Mosley, Neil Campbell, Andrew Jones from Moss Bikes, and James Seymour

British cyclist Neil Campbell reached a top speed of 174.3mph at Elvington Airfield in Yorkshire in August 2019, setting a new men’s cycling land speed world record – but he now has his sights firmly set on the outright world record, attempting a top speed of 200mph.

And Harper Adams University lecturer and aerodynamics engineer James Croxford, who supported the 2019 record, has enlisted the help of four MEng automotive engineering students, Emily Jones, 23, James Seymour, Martin Campbell, and Will Mosley, all 22, to design an aerodynamic ‘slipstreaming’ shelter to protect Neil, for their group research project.

Neil’s custom-built bike will be tethered via bungee to a car which, due to the high gearing on the bike, will pull him off the line before he is disconnected and begins to pedal.

The design of the slipstream shelter will be integral to the project, offering a stable air pocket to Neil while he attempts the world record, which it is hoped will take place in the summer of 2021.

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