A student design team at the University of Missouri-Rolla won the West Coast championship in human-powered vehicle racing April 13-15 at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California.
Human-powered vehicles are recumbent bikes with aerodynamic shells. The bikes can go about 45 mph. During competitions, university teams are judged in sprints, endurance tests, design reports and oral presentations.
In California, Jerrod Bouchard, a senior in mechanical engineering from Camdenton, Mo., won first place in the male sprint. Whitney Joseph, a junior in engineering management from O’Fallon, Ill., placed third in the female sprint. The UMR team placed second in the design category and beat the team from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo in the endurance race.
UMR beat approximately 25 other teams to win the overall championship. Last year, UMR finished second in the West Coast challenge.
The team redesigns its vehicle every year. According to Joseph, the 2007 bike is lighter but more stable, with a higher center of gravity and a more aerodynamic shell. “There’s a lot of engineering behind it,” Joseph says, “but the competitions require a lot of human power too.”
UMR will now compete in the East Coast competition May 11-13 at the University of Central Florida in an attempt to become National Champions in human-powered vehicle racing. UMR has won five straight East Coast championships.
In addition to Joseph and Bouchard, members of UMR’s 2007 Human-Powered Vehicle Team include:
— Silvey Britton, a freshman in chemical engineering from O’Fallon, Ill.
— Matt Brown, a senior in mechanical engineering from Rolla
— Craig George, a junior in electrical engineering from St. Joseph, Mo.
— Alex Hollenbeck, a sophomore in mechanical engineering from O’Fallon, Ill.
— Mike Janaske, a sophomore in nuclear engineering from St. Peters, Mo.
— Ben Kettler, a sophomore in electrical engineering from Wentzville, Mo.
— Whittney Metcalf, a sophomore in peroleum engineering from Ulysses, Kan.
— Cameron Mings, a freshman in mechanical engineering from Glendora, Calif.
— Chris Perry, a sophomore in business and management systems from High Ridge, Mo.
— Kyle Rackers, a junior in mechanical engineering from Jefferson City, MO.
— Daniel Rosner, a sophomore in civil engineering from St. Peters, Mo.
— Daniel Segert, a freshman in metallurgical engineering from Fairview Heights, Ill.
— Eric Sommer, a junior in aerospace engineering from O’Fallon, Mo.
— Andrew Sourk, a junior in aerospace engineering from St. Joseph, Mo.
— Mark Wagner, a senior in mechanical engineering from St. James, NY.
— Greg Wilke, a senior in engineering management from Arnold, Mo.