The team, which designed and built its own electric race bike, and rider Matthew Rees, took fourth place in the SES TT Zero class race for battery-powered bikes, behind entries from professional outfits Mugen (1st and 2nd) and Team Mirai (3rd). The Bath Zero bike was the top University effort in the TT Zero class.
The placing was a significant achievement for the six-strong Bath Zero team as it marked a valiant recovery from the 2018 event when the previous Bath bike was destroyed by a battery fire. Even this year, the TT held its challenges – poor weather conditions prevented the team from completing full testing of the bike in the usual practice and qualifying laps on the demanding 37.5-mile course prior to the actual race.
The Bath Zero bike, aptly named ‘The Phoenix’, was a new design including a completely new chassis, battery modules, on-board electronics and sensors and carbon fibre fairings. Standard parts such as wheels, brakes and suspension members were donated by 30 industry sponsors.
The Phoenix completed the island’s 264-corner course in 23 minutes 52 seconds, at an average speed of just under 95mph. It can reach 100mph in just nine seconds, and hit a top speed of 162mph during the TT Zero race.
Team manager Rosie Coe said: “A big thank you to the Dean, Professor Gary Hawley, the department technicians and the University for their support. In particular, also a huge thanks to the Bath Zero 2018 team for the very professional and constructive way they dealt with the aftermath of the TT bike fire which persuaded the University to continue the Bath Zero Project.”
Rider Matthew Rees, from Rees Racing, Aberdare, added: “A big thank you to the Bath Zero team for all their hard work during their final year at Uni and building an awesome bike with such impressive performance. So proud of what the team have achieved and the improvements made year after year.”
Prof Tony Miles, the Bath Zero Team’s academic supervisor, added: ”This is a massive achievement by a team of six undergraduate final year students studying mechanical, electrical and integrated mechanical and electrical engineering courses, hugely assisted by university technical support staff. They built the bike in under 9 months while also completing their full final year academic degree programmes. We are immensely proud of their achievements in this very demanding and technically challenging activity.”
After completing their next race event in the Netherlands this summer, the team will be reformed with a new group of students whose focus will turn to raising funds for next season and continuing to race The Phoenix, as well as designing a new bike.