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Fine tuning

Motorcycle engineering specialist Motrac Racing carries out projects for motorbike racers, race teams and road riders, as well as manufacturers and academic institutions. It operates out of a large, fully equipped complex, including a designated clean room for component level engine work. Motrac undertakes all levels of engine work, including racing "class specific" engine preparation, blueprinting to component level, track and sports orientated tuning, full rebuilds, engine troubleshooting, gas-flowing and porting for both four-stroke and two-stroke engines.

Owner Steve Hammond established the business as a centre of excellence for Dyno testing and carburetion, after the purchase of a Dynojet Dyno in 1991, which was, at the time, only one of five in the whole of the UK. He has worked on projects at the highest levels including World Superbikes and British Superbikes, plus numerous projects within industry.

Some of the projects undertaken by Motrac Racing over the years have produced technological advances that have had wider implications in the motorcycle industry as a whole. Numerous racers all over the world have benefited from Motrac Racing's tuning work and cylinder heads, including Scott Guthrie, who achieved more than 30 World Land speed records in the USA.

The Challenge

Motrac was seeking a way to upgrade the instrumentation of its workshop rolling road to provide remote control of gears and steering to test bikes at speeds of up to 170 mph. The company also wanted to create its own software with the intention of saving costs in the long term and also to make it truly bespoke for the specific needs of its wide range of customers.

Stepping up a gear

Being a Thornton tenant, Motrac had already engaged actively with the University student placement schemes and was quick to get signed up when I2C opened its doors. Motrac was keen to get its engineers on Masterclasses, including 3D Printing, 3D Scanning, Process Control and Automation.

Racing to the line

It was during the Process Control and Automation Masterclass that Steve realised the huge capabilities of the National Instruments interfaces and LabView software. Coupled with experienced applications engineers and programmers, Motrac could actually design and build its own bespoke Dyno Control System. Motrac is currently seeking finance to fund this exciting new development to get it over the line.

Steve Hammond said, “After talking to I2C’s engineers, it became clear that, as well as hugely upgrading the capabilities of the instrumentation of my rolling road, what I really wanted was to be able to take control of developing it further. It’s very important that we stay at the cutting edge of development and I don’t want to go on being dependent on a third party’s capabilities, which may hold my business back.

“What really impressed me about the I2C team was its multi-disciplined approach. I’ve worked with a number of universities before and it is really unusual for a university to have all these different capabilities in one place.”

The I2C initiative was part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. SMEs registered or trading in Cheshire and Warrington, who met the eligibility criteria, were eligible to apply for support from the I2C project. Applicants had to have a turnover of less than €50 million and employ fewer than 250 employees. In addition to I2C’s in-house team of engineers and specialist equipment, SMEs that enrol in the project had access to the world-class facilities at the University of Chester, via its state-of-the-art skills, equipment and resources based at Thornton Science Park and the NoWFOOD Centre in Chester.

The I2C project has now finished but if you are a business looking for access to facilities and expert growth support, please contact the University of Chester’s Business Growth team either by visiting www1.chester.ac.uk/business-growth, emailing businessgrowth@chester.ac.uk or you can call 01244 512 477.