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Looking for records

For the first year, Team Policumbent and Politecnico di Torino have decided to organize an “at home” event on October 23-24, 2021 in which their prototypes will run on the Stellantis Proving Ground in Balocco to reach memory speeds. The vehicles, all human-powered, will challenge the ones from other European teams to reach the hour record on bicycles and the speed one on a closed circuit a few meters above sea level.


The Balocco Proving Ground is a car racing circuit complex build in 1962 by Alfa Romeo, and today property of Stellantis. This circuit, located in the middle of Po Valley, will allow the prototypes to reach impressive speed, thanks to its smooth asphalt and to its wide curves of its fast ring, the Anello Veloce.


Racing on Balocco’s asphalt are three European teams:


The hour record is the record for the longest distance traveled in an hour by a bicycle. Each cyclist tries to break the record alone on the track, with no other competitors around. From what was established, from ameteur cyclists to more experienced ones have ventured the record, bringing prestige and making it more and more attractive. There are various records, including that for aerodynamic human-powered vehicles, also known has recumbent bicycles.
Current male record: Francesco Russo, Dekra Lausitziring, 5,8 km oval, Germany, 92,43 km/h.
Current female record: Barbara Buatois, Ford Proving Ground, 8 km oval, Michigan, 84,02 km/h.


The speed record consists of a run that allows the vehicle to accelerate and measure its speed in a 200 m trap. The speed reached depends on the route and even ovals can lend themselves to propel vehicles at speeds well above 100 km/h, improving the world record not in altitude.


The vehicles used are real recumbent bicycles with particular design features. To counteract the aerodynamic resistance, they are equipped with an external fairing in carbon and kevlar, a light and resistant material that also protects the rider in the event of fall. The transmissions of such vehicles have a great influence on the results, as does the study of the rolling resistance of tires.
The rider must therefore run in extreme conditions, lying down and in a camped environment, and has two cameras connected to screens that he holds in his hands as the only external vision system, like in a video game.


After the forced stop of the International competitions due to the ongoing pandemic, the European Speed Battle is for the three European teams an opportunity to see in action their vehicles, and to find each other all together, united for passion of design and research. Hoping for favorable weather on the days of record, all the teams are working hard in these last weeks to present their bicycles to the best, and being ready to dart like bullets on the Piedmontese circuit. What to say, to stay in balance, you have to move.