AkzoNobel’s need for speed

AkzoNobel has renewed its sponsorship of the Human Power Team (HPT) Delft and Amsterdam.

The HPT team competes in the World Human Powered Speed Challenge in the Nevada desert every September, an event which pits teams against each other to produce the fastest performances using super-aerodynamic recumbent bicycles.

HPT won the men’s category four years running until a series of setbacks stopped them in their tracks in 2015. This year though the team hopes to return to the top with the support of AkzoNobel and its Sikkens performance coatings.

Team manager Hugo Lambriex said, ‘In addition to financial support, Sikkens gives us products, advice and practical assistance which are essential in turning the ‘crude’ carbon structure of the shell into one with a perfectly smooth, aerodynamic surface. Even the slightest imperfection can greatly affect the bike’s top speed. A fly on the nose of the bike, for example, could cost us 10 kmh.’

Apart from a remodelled bike, the team has also introduced two recently retired professional sportsmen as riders; cyclist Rick Flens and ice-skater Jan Bos. They are currently training and getting used to the initially frightening sensation of viewing the road only via digital displays. These are fed by a camera system, avoiding the need for a window which would disrupt the air flow.

Remco Maassen van den Brink, marketing director for AkzoNobel’s Vehicle Refinishes business, said, ‘We are delighted to see 20 students of varying age, experience and knowledge collaborating in a team effort that mirrors our ‘winning together’ approach. Their shared spirit of innovation, and the way they rapidly learn to solve problems, make improvements and achieve everything within strict budgets and deadlines, is also very impressive.

‘We hope our latest advances in lightweight, smooth and robust coatings will give them an extra competitive edge and we wish them great success.’