The University of Liverpool Velocipede Team (ULV Team) raced their handbike, the ARION4, in Battle Mountain, Nevada at the World Human Powered Speed Challenge 2018 (WHPSC) breaking four world records in the process!
The week started well with Karen Darke MBE achieving a speed of 41.86 mph in 2.5 miles, 17 mph faster than the previous world record, securing the title of fastest arm powered woman!
Not content with one world record that day, Ken Talbot, the male ride, and the Team went out to the 5 mile course with the aim of adding to their achievements.
After a run fraught with windy conditions, and a whole heat of aborted launches, the ARION4 was up. Ken pushed himself hard, and was rewarded with a speed of 51.86 mph, breaking the male world record and becoming the first hand cyclist to go over 50 mph in history.
“This record is the culmination of two years hard work by our engineering students. Their combined passion for engineering and pushing the limits of human potential have resulted in the success of the ARION4 riders, Karen Darke and Ken Talbot”, said Steven Bode, Senior Lecturer at the School or Engineering and the project’s Lead Academic, “I’d also personally like to thank all of our sponsors, as without their support the ARION project would not exist”.
Karen then raced again the next morning, breaking her own record and raising it to a staggering 46.05 mph, 21 mph faster than at the start of the week! Karen has not only broken the women’s world record, but also the previous men’s record, making her the second fastest hand cyclist ever, only behind the Team’s other rider, Ken Talbot, who achieved a speed of 51.86 mph!
With a couple of days to go at the competition, the Team wanted the ARION4 to take on the 800m acceleration world records. With only one run each, Ken and Karen decided to take on the challenge. Ken went first, reaching a speed of 33.81 mph through the timing gates, Karen then took the ARION4 through at 30.30 mph, meaning that two more world records were broken!
On the final day, Karen once again broke her own world record, pushing the ARION4 to 46.54mph, meaning she broke the world record for the third time that week!
The Team are understandably proud of both the ARION4 and its riders, and are ecstatic to have put four arm powered world records firmly in British hands. The effort and dedication of the ARION4 riders has reached beyond the Team’s high expectations, and their determination has inspired them to new heights.
While the Team and their riders are delighted with breaking the records, they are now focused on what lies ahead, both for the rest of the race week, and for the ARION5.