Can Data Science Unlock the Secrets of the Morecambe Missile?

 

Yesterday John McGuinness, aka the ‘Morecambe Missile’, set a new lap record for electric bikes at the Isle of Man TT to grab a record-breaking 22nd win on this track.

This amazing feat seals the Missile’s reputation even further as a truly legendary motorcycle racer. But what is it that makes him so successful?

Earlier this year, EMC ran two competitions to answer this question by outfitting John’s bike and suit with an array of sensors as John rode round the Circuit Monteblanco in Spain. EMC captured over 700,000 rows of performance, biometric and mechanical data, including engine RPM, lean angle, g-force, pulse and respiration.

Connecting sensors to the bike

The data was then hosted on a CrowdANALYTIX platform in an open competition where over 750 data-enthusiasts analysed the data in an attempt to uncover the most compelling insights into why John is so fast.

The first winner, Stefan Jol, from a leading UK radio group, was able to show which stages of the race had the most impact on overall performance, and Charlotte Wickham, assistant Professor of Statistics at Oregon State University, demonstrated the impact of differences in cornering. Take a look at the full story here to learn more about the winning insights.

The bike

The same data capture has now been repeated at the Isle of Man TT races with a more elaborate array of sensors to capture even more data. Jonathan Martin, CMO, EMC says: “We were really excited to see how big data can provide revealing new insights about someone like John McGuinness, and have been thrilled with the interest shown in this project from the data science and motorcycling communities around the world. A project like this has never been undertaken before, and is already proving some interesting and significant observations. We are gaining a better understanding of what makes extreme athletes like John perform at such a superior level, but also through big data analytics we are gaining deep insights into how we can make the sport of motorcycle racing safer.”

The project has been documented in a film, the trailer of which can be found at the first link on this microsite here – and it’s well worth a watch: http://www.emc.com/microsites/morecambe-missile/index.htm. It will be released in full later this year.

John McGuinness riding

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