Burning the midnight oil studying your bachelors of law? Well, it’s time to stop going down a path of misery and disappointment and instead study something fun and worthwhile – the bachelor of engineering degree specialising in motorcycle engineering at the University of Wales. Quite possibly the only degree of its kind on the planet, the course has been running since 2003 and was started and is still run by a Dr Owen Williams who of course loves bikes.
This isn’t just some quirky course that won’t lead anywhere though – the BEng Motorcycle Engineering Degree has an impressive alumni that has seen students get jobs with MotoGP teams (including Tech3 Yamaha), Triumph Motorcycles, Norton Motorcycles and even the Mercedes F1 team.
The ball started rolling back in 1998 when the university began the worlds first motorsport engineering degree and just five years later, the two wheeled variant began with support from Peter Clifford (a veteran of the industry who a team principal at Red Bull Yamaha WCM MotoGP team) and Tony Foale who is a legend in motorcycle race engineering. Fast forward to the present and the course continues to attract students from around the world including Japan, the USA, Germany and Australia as well as UK locals.
The course covers a wide range of both practical and theoretical areas of motorcycle racing and engineering, including subjects on powertrain and control, stress analysis, advanced engine design, thermoflud mechanics and more. The facilities that are on campus would make any amateur racer weep with jealousy and include fully equipped workshops, a dyno cell, cnc lab, a five-axis lathe, a composites lab and more.
It’s gets worse (better) though. Throughout the year students do track days to learn (and apply) data acquisition and rider feedback in a track environment with students being able to take their own bike the track as part of it. The university even has their own race team, Team V4, which has both a development arm and a racing arm to put as much theory into practice as possible using a fleet of Honda VFR400 NC30s.
When I asked Dr Williams what a typical student is he said, “Almost exclusively motorcycle fanatics! We do have a number every year who come to us with the right level of maths and physics but a large proportion, as you alluded to, don’t have the correct academic background. For these guys (and girls) we have our ‘foundation entry’ route, which is designed to get them up to speed with the necessary academic demands. What we tend to find is that many of them were ‘turned off’ maths and science in school due to either bad teaching or a lack of ever being shown what maths and science was actually for.”
“We find that when shown what you can actually use hard maths for (suspension being a good example) people forget about the fact that they “hate maths” or “are rubbish at it” and get stuck in. For me, it’s all about how its taught. As an example, one of our foundation guys, from a mechanics background, just graduated and joined Team Suzuki ECSTAR (MotoGP) as a Performance Analysis Engineer.”
And if you need any more convincing that this would be the coolest degree you could ever get, below is a picture of Dr Williams’ from his bio page:
Head on over to the their ‘unofficial‘ page for more info.