TICONDEROGA-Olin College recently won the Human Powered Vehicle Competition at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the help of Ticonderoga resident Ben Chapman.
Due in large part to a new, more aerodynamic shell, the team placed first in all events - first overall, first in design report, first in male sprint (38 mph), first in female sprint (30 mph) and first in the sprint endurance event.
The team's success can also be attributed to its reliable bicycle, which made it through the entire competition without a single mechanical difficulty - a first for this young group. Olin's HPV team did have visibility issues on the last day due to rain and humidity. This prompted the competitors to ride without the top half of their aerodynamic shell.
"Building a recumbent bike and competing at HPV competitions provide me with a chance to get my hands dirty doing something I love, and I can apply what I learn to most of my classes," said Ben Smith, a co-leader of the HPV team. "Next year, we plan on building an entirely new style of bike, and I can't wait to conquer the mystery of what lies ahead."
The group made the trip to Indiana using Chapman's veggie-fueled car, towing a U-haul trailer with the bicycle inside. Chapman is a freshman at Olin.
The Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering is a private undergraduate engineering college located in Needham, Mass. The college opened in 2002 and has since graduated more than 300 students. Olin College's mission is to prepare students to become engineering innovators who recognize needs, design solutions and engage in creative enterprises.