Fermanagh girl leads electrical bike racing crew in Bathtub
A FERMANAGH girl is main an electrical bike highway racing crew at her college as they push for extra alternatives to race electrical bikes in occasions internationally.
Harley Beattie is the challenge supervisor for Bathtub Zero Emissions Bike Crew – a crew of eight undergraduates who share a ardour for constructing and racing electrical bikes.
Initially from Enniskillen, Harley grew up round bikes.
“I’ve been driving bikes since I used to be six or seven so I’ve at all times been into it. Dad is clearly into it, and I’ve been named after a motorcycle,” she laughed, including that driving bikes is a “life ardour” of hers.
She is presently finding out a Masters in Mechanical with Automotive Engineering on the College of Bathtub, and though the challenge she manages is a part of the college, it’s exterior to her diploma.
“It’s supported by the uni in that they provide us slightly space to work in, and a few services, however it’s completely exterior to my educational research; it’s a aspect challenge,” stated Harley.
“It’s run fully by undergraduate college students. We’ve got an instructional supervisor who oversees that we’re not spending cash inappropriately, however it’s fully student-run,” she stated, including that they’re the one crew to attend skilled races that’s comprised fully of undergraduates.
Harley defined that racing electrical bikes is comparatively new.
“You’re beginning to see extra electrical bikes approaching to the market simply this yr, however there aren’t any race bikes [for such vehicles].
“Mugen are the one folks that really make them contemporary, and even then it’s solely the 2 bikes that they create to the [Isle of Man] TT yearly, so all of the bikes on this space are prototypes,” she stated.
Racing their bike on the Isle of Man TT Zero race in 2019, Bathtub Zero Emissions Bike Crew have been the quickest non-factory crew, clocking 164mph on their fully student-made electrical bike.
“We got here fourth total,” stated Harley, including: “Mugen spent one thing like half 1,000,000 quid on their bike, and we spent 80 grand, so while you put the outcomes subsequent to the cash and the actual fact we’re seven or eight undergraduate college students versus HRC, Honda’s most interesting, is admittedly cool.
“It means quite a bit to the crew that we will maintain our personal in one thing that was inbuilt a college basement, mainly,” she stated, with pleasure.
Having proven their price towards skilled bike producers, the crew are hoping to race at quite a lot of occasions this yr.
“We’ve managed to get into the Bermuda Cost, which is in Bermuda, and that is the primary yr it is operating.
“It’s going to be an electrical race and we’ve bought a race lined up in Finland referred to as The Three Flashes, and the native one is the brand new The Diamond Races, on the Isle of Wight.
“Clearly, worldwide races are topic to Covid guidelines on the time, however The Diamond Races are presently going forward in October, so we’re working in direction of that primarily,” she stated.
Resulting from Covid rules, the Isle of Man TT was cancelled for 2020 and 2021.
“It appeared actually dangerous when the Isle of Man cancelled as a result of that’s all we’d been going to, however we try to arrange a wee organisation referred to as the Electrical Street Racing Affiliation (ERRA) with the opposite groups, and thru that we’re attempting to get into extra races, [into] what would have historically been petrol races to run an electrical class.
“Our hope for the longer term is that we will make ‘electrical’ a category of its personal in these races,” Harley informed this newspaper.
Wanting in direction of their upcoming races, Harley and the crew are planning to arrange a crowdfunding web page to lift cash for brand spanking new components for his or her bike.
“We’re aiming to lift £4,000 or £5,000 for brand spanking new components this yr, as a result of we’re not going to have time to rebuild.
“We often construct a brand new bike from scratch yearly, however due to Covid and lockdown and entry restrictions to labs, we now have determined to maintain the chasis and redo the interiors, redo the battery and the battery administration system this yr.
“We wish to increase a bit of cash for that in order that we will get that completed and go to races,” she stated.
Harley is presently the one feminine member of the crew, and is sort of captivated with showcasing ladies in STEM (science, know-how, engineering and arithmetic) as she feels it’s one thing she by no means had a lot publicity to rising up in Fermanagh.
“Rising up the place I did, you don’t see plenty of ladies in engineering roles like that, particularly in the case of motorsport. The final couple of years have been a turning level.
“The explanation I’m fairly captivated with ladies having the ability to see themselves in these roles is as a result of till you see somebody such as you in that position, it generally doesn’t really feel like an possibility.
“I believe that the extra publicity younger women get to see that it’s fairly regular for a girl to be the chief of a bike race crew, the extra that normalises it, and the extra ladies will wish to go into it, hopefully, or really feel like they’ll,” stated Harley.