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Fastest Man On Earth?: The Big Launch
08 Sep 2001 13:00 GMT
NOW Sport sees Jason Queally's human powered vehicle officially unveiled in London, England.
Profile: The Blueyonder Challenger
Topless: Queally inside the new vehicle
Topless: Queally inside the new vehicle

The Blueyonder Challenger is the brainchild of automotive engineer and race bike designer Chris Field, who created the hi-speed time trial bike on which Jason Queally took gold at the Sydney Olympics.

At the unveiling in central London, Field said: "Itís pretty emotional. Seeing the thing painted and shiny it looks like a nice brand new toy. But we havenít got the job done yet. Getting the thing built is just one stage. The difficult stage now is to get some more testing and then actually go for the record attempt which I donít underestimate is going to be very hard."

Constructed of ultra light carbon fiber by motorsport manufacturers Reynard, the Blueyonder Challenger has a completely revolutionary design, looking more like a supersonic car than a bicycle.

"The main advantage with Reynard is they have a long tradition of constructing hi-tech race cars and have fantastic carbon technology," said Field. "But itís not fair to say that just because weíve used a facility like this that weíre going to blow everybody away, because thatís ridiculous."


Futuristic: One of the early designs
Futuristic: One of the early designs
©Chris Field

"These projects tend to be dictated by cost and, had we had a bigger budget earlier, we would have had more testing time. But I think weíve achieved a hell of a lot in the time weíve had."

The Blueyonder Challenger is 3.3m/10.83ft in length, 1.02m/3.3ft high and is completely shrouded by aerodynamic bodywork.

The width of the vehicle is dictated by the exact measurement of the riderís shoulders, which is 58cm/22.83in. Without its pilot, the machine weighs less than 12kl/26.46lbs - no more than a standard street bicycle.

There are two main structures of the vehicle, a chassis and an aerodynamic shell, both made of carbon fiber composite. The design of the bike has undergone a thorough program of aerodynamic research, which aimed to optimize the performance of the vehicle within the parameters set Ė the width of the riderís shoulders being the primary constraint.

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) was used to research the airflow over and around the structure in order to minimize the vehicleís drag. The resulting design was then transferred to a Computer Aided Design system to produce moulds for carbon fiber composite manufacture.


Streamlined: CFD modeling
Streamlined: CFD modeling

In order to power the Blueyonder Challenger to the Human Powered Vehicle Land Speed Record, Queally must adopt an unconventional riding position by leaning back into the enclosed cockpit and safety frame of the vehicle.

This frame leaves sufficient space for his legs to build up the required thrust to power the vehicle to speeds approaching 128.7kmh/80mph, aided by a Shimano nine-speed gearing system.

The machine has a rear wheel drive system; the rear wheel is considerably larger than the front wheel, measuring 91cm/35.83in in diameter, compared to 61cm/24.02in at the front.