In recent years, noise complaints have increasingly led to the closure of speedway tracks. As a result, the sports governing body, the FIM (International Motorcycling Federation), has introduced a noise limit of 115 db from 1 January 2010.
Using its experience of producing performance exhaust systems for race, rally and road cars, Prodrive engineers have designed and homologated a new silencer for speedway and grasstrack bikes in just ten weeks, which not only meets the new noise limit without any reduction in power, but can be readily applied to existing engines with the minimum of re-tuning, avoiding considerable expense.
‚ÄúNoise is a key element in creating atmosphere in any motorsport and while most race circuits are in rural locations, many speedway tracks are in more urban locations. As a result, many have been forced to close while several others are currently fighting for survival,¬Ě said Mick Metcalfe, principal design engineer at Prodrive. ‚ÄúThe Prodrive 115 silencer was borne out of mine and several others passion for the sport. I hope what we have managed to do is create something those appeals to the competitors and that will satisfy planning authorities in the UK and overseas.¬Ě
Mick Metcalfe has been a life-long speedway fan. He first started working at Prodrive in 1995 and has helped engineer race and rally cars including the Subaru Impreza WRC, Honda and Ford Touring Cars, as well as Le Mans winning Ferraris and Aston Martins.
With sports like motocross and grass track racing also under threat, Prodrive believes that the basis of its silencer design could be readily transferred to many aspects of motorcycle sport. It also believes that it could have applications for race tracks suffering from noise compliance.