A PROJECT by four students to build a race bike to take part in next year’s TT seems to be away from the start line and heading off down Glencrutchery Road.
The plan to build a Moto2 600cc racing bike is part of a Master’s degree project by Niall Shimmin, Aden Shaw-Frost, Nick Castledine and Johnny Elliot who are post-graduate engineering students at Huddersfield University.
Niall, who comes from Onchan said: ‘We are a fair way forward now so it is quite an exciting prospect. Our uni is much happier with the way things are going now and the engineering department has offered us some financial support towards the project,’ he said.
Initially Niall feared the scheme may not get off the ground at all for want of the £20,000 funding they estimate it will take. In addition to that the university had expressed fears about possible insurance issues.
Though the team would still dearly like to find an Isle of Man sponsor, they have had various generous offers of support.
‘Fortunately we have managed to get round the insurance concerns and that’s a big worry off our backs so we can now move forward and start the design process,’ he said.
After an article appeared in Motorcycle News, the team was offered support from Neil Haslam who ran the Van Fit Yamaha racing team and is now behind the MV Augusta team.
‘We will be working out of his outfit next to the MV F3 but we’ll still run under our brand, so we don’t have to worry about getting tools, transport, work shop and paddock space now which is fantastic news.
‘He wants to sort of guide us through the project and make sure we don’t make any mistakes with respect to the competition and testing side so that we can focus fully on the design tasks.’
A solution to the problem of finding a rider has also come in the shape of experienced TT and Manx Grand Prix competitor Roy Richardson who has agreed to ride the bike and will offer advice on set-up and development.
‘Roy is very handy on the 600s so he’s the perfect candidate for the job. He’s very interested in the ride. Another thing is his current colour scheme - orange and blue - is the same as our uni’s so if we end up running in those colours he won’t need new leathers!’
Support has also been pledged by engineering firm Cameron and on the practical side, Reynolds Technology has agreed supply tubing for the frames.
‘We’ll be able to run a short development programme this way. Then I think we have planned to build a fourth frame as spare for TT week.’
When it comes to building a prototype, a firm called Laser Lines in Southampton which specialises in 3-D printing and rapid prototyping and helped Ducati develop the GP9 engine has offered to help free of charge.
‘This is all great news because it means we can have a full bike prototype (albeit not working) ready in no time at all to check all the dimensions and suspension work correctly,’ Niall said.