An audience of nearly two million saw sports engineers from Sheffield Hallam University help celebrity biker Guy Martin set a world record on a sled they helped design.
Expertise provided by Sheffield Hallam’s Centre for Sports Engineering Research (CSER) helped Guy shatter Rolf Allerdissen’s Guinness World Record for fastest gravity powered sled by more than 30kph, setting a new speed of 134.368 kph (83.49 mph).
The team from Sheffield Hallam, recommended to the production crew after its work with Winter Olympics gold medallist Amy Williams, travelled to the Pyrenees in Andorra as part of filming for Speed With Guy Martin, which was shown on Channel 4 tonight, at 8pm.
Professor Steve Haake and colleagues John Hart, Terry Senior and Nick Hamilton designed a prototype for the sled at the University and carried out tests in their attempt to help Guy smash Rolf Allerdissen’s 100kph record set in 2010.
A carbon fibre body was then built by Derbyshire-based carbon fibre and composite engineering specialists EPM Technology and the sled was then constructed by the Sheffield team.
Sports engineer Nick said: “We designed and tested the mechanics of the sledge in Switzerland, including its physical braking systems and a parachute.
“During the testing the team optimised the stability of the sledge and braking and carried out a full laser body scan on Guy so that the sled design would be perfect for his requirements. We used computational fluid dynamics before EPM Technology manufactured the sled in carbon fibre.”
Professor Haake said: “The project was great to be involved in. It required an understanding of physics, prototyping, engineering and a successful team that could overcome obstacles as they came up. We’re delighted that the University has helped to smash this world record.”
University engineers had previously designed and constructed a series of equipment rigs and assessment tools for use by the British Skeleton team in the lead up to and during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games for use with the BLACKROC sled, which was used by Amy to win gold.
German athlete Allerdissen’s record was set in Austria on 10 April 2010.