Kingston University's racing car


TT Zero 2014 Bike Diary

The Ion Horse underwent a last minute makeover before this year's TT with new Sponsor Vayon Green Power Group now proudly emblazoned on the fairings.

The reason for this is the vast amount of updates which the team carried out on the bike before heading to the isle, with the help of Vayon and their expertise in the Electronic management systems, the team were seeking to find ever more efficiency and control from the cutting edge technology used in the Ion Horse.

With energy management a hot topic everywhere from Formula 1 to World Endurance Cars, school run mums to company reps worldwide. The Kingston team were no different examining the details of the energy used. Software and hardware changes combined with mechanical changes to the drive train were all carried out in the effort to conserve energy.

The team of 8 students: Sabine Brosch, Max Burras, Michael Hadley, Dimitar Georgiev, Ryan Duffy, Laila Guseva, Francesco Rotoli and Idan Katz. (Konstantinos Kakouris and Joanna Downing were unable to attend) travelled the journey to the Tourist Trophy in the company of Rod Bromfield and Demetrios Venestanos, Senior lecturers at Kingston's Faculty of Science Computing and Engineering and Dean Wells, Mechanical Technician.

With testing time limited for the new rider Shaun Anderson, a former Kingston Motorcycle engineering student, the battle was on to get the bike set up for Shaun during the qualifying laps at the races.

The preparations were going well with the Vayon powered Ion Horse. Unfortunately, Shaun had an accident on his bike before our first qualifying lap. The team now had to not only make sure the bike ran but find someone who was willing to ride it.

Dod Spence who took the Ion Horse to a 3rd place finish previously, was ready and willing to help the team out and we are very grateful to have this support and sense of community that is found at the TT race paddock.

With Dod out to set our qualifying lap, it was time for all the team's hard work to be tested. The results were positive with the bike being piloted home at a respectable average speed of 86mph. This speed was enough to qualify Ion Horse ahead of other university teams, such as Buckeye Current from Ohio who suffered a battery failure and Brunel who didn't complete the lap.

The team spent some more time tinkering while also seeking advice form Howard Anderson of the British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF).

On the second qualifying lap following the tweaks made to the Ion Horse, lap time dropped and average speed rose, verifying changes made by the team to improve bike's performance.

With Shaun making a rapid recovery, things were looking promising. The team continued to prepare the bike, however under medical advice Shaun was not permitted to ride.

Dod was now comfortable on the bike after undertaking a testing session at the Jurby Airfield on the isle.

On the race day TT Zero class were out on track early. The paddock full of silence from the electric motors and teams preparing for long wait as the bike and rider attempt to master the Mountain course.

Unfortunately, our trusty steed suffered exhaustion just under 8 miles into the course by Ballacraine. Unable to compete, our competition hopes were trampled.

The bike is a design made by students and build with experience from the engineering industry.

Designing a bike to withstand the gruelling 37.8 mile course of Isle of Man TT is no easy challenge and made no easier by the target to achieve a 100mph average speed over one lap.

The Kingston team were invited after the race to give a presentation at the IET lecture held about TT Zero race. Ryan Duffy and Max Burras presented the team to fellow engineers, other competitors and His Excellency LT Governor of the Isle of Man. The IET have awarded 2014 team a prize for their efforts at the IOM TT races. Be sure to check back here for updates soon.

The team is always looking to talk to people who are interested in the project and may be interested in supporting it.

Please email Rod Bromfield at for more information.