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Human Powered Vehicle Team Comes Up Big Winners—Again—at ASME Challenge

April 30, 2013

         HPV-East on the Track
  Leaders Of The Pack: Rose-Hulman’s human powered vehicle led all competitors in the male and female drag racing competition at this year’s American Society of Mechanical Engineers east and west regionals. (Photo by Michael Moorhead)

Rose-Hulman’s Human Powered Vehicle Team has had to clear more room in its trophy case after winning another national championship this spring in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ Human Powered Vehicle Challenge (ASME HPVC) racing season.

Team members pedaled to victory in the eastern and western regionals on separate weekends in San Jose, California (April 12-14) and Big Rapids, Michigan (April 26-28). Rose-Hulman has now won 10 of the past 12 ASME HPVC competitions.

“Every year is filled with challenges, both on and off the track, but this was one of our most satisfying racing seasons,” says team faculty advisor Michael Moorhead, assistant professor of mechanical engineering. “Our veteran team was able to maintain our high standards with a new vehicle.”

The single-person, aerodynamic recumbent cycling vehicle earned first-place honors in the male and female speed races at both regionals, with a top speed of 38.5 mph registered in San Jose by junior mechanical engineering student Drew Robertson. Crystal Hurtle, a junior mechanical engineering major, was the fastest top female rider at both competitions.

Rose-Hulman also earned the top innovation award at both events with an anti-lock braking mechanism for the vehicle’s rear wheel, designed by junior electrical engineering major Matt Skorina. The team demonstrated the wheel-locking issue on an old prototype vehicle before showcasing this year’s innovative anti-locking feature on the track in front of the impressed judging panel.

HPV team           
National Champions: Members of the Human Powered Vehicle Team once again proudly represented Rose-Hulman at the American Society of Mechanical Engineering’s HPV Challenge competitions. The team has won 10 of the past 12 regional events. (Photo by Michael Moorhead

Finally, the team won the design report competition at the eastern regional after placing third at the western event. The extensive report documented all of the design features and testing procedures that went into this year’s championship vehicle. There was also an improved performance in the endurance race at Michigan with a third-place finish after being 12th just two weeks earlier.

“We were more focused and battle-tested for the eastern regional because we knew the competition would be out to get us, providing a second opportunity for several teams. There are top-notch competitors at both events, and it takes an entire team effort to win an event,” states Moorhead.

Other riders for this year’s team were juniors Garrett Meyer, Skorina, Claire Stark, and Pat Woolfenden. The team’s technical and support crews included juniors Simon Burns, Harrison Coons, and Travis Tatlock; sophomores Luke Brokl, Ben Griffith, Melissa Murray, and Louis Vaught; graduate student Jeff Dovalovsky; senior Homa Hariri; and freshman Elena Chong.

This year's vehicle was dedicated to long-time student project supporter and Rose-Hulman technician Gary Burgess, who died during this academic year.

The Human Powered Vehicle Team is part of Rose-Human’s advanced transportation systems initiative in the campus’ Branam Innovation Center.