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Wisconsin high schoolers build motorcycle for upcoming race

Posted at 12:19 PM, Jan 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-29 07:23:09-05

MILWAUKEE — High school students across southeastern Wisconsin are getting hands on experience building motorcycles.

It's all part of a initiative called Build Moto, a partnership with Royal Enfield, a motorcycle manufacturing company.

Shorewood High School was given a motorcycle for their BUILD team to deconstruct and put back together. However, it's not just the same bike they are putting together. The group of seven students is making a bike to compete in a motorcycle race.

"So, from the process of teaching how to dismantle a motorcycle, teaching the fundamentals of the mechanics of the hard hardware, nuts and bolts, all the way through to how to machine, how to weld, how to grind, we have a milling machine, how to mill parts out," Andrew Mauk, the supervisor of the Shorewood team and owner of MotoScoot in Milwaukee ,where the bike is being built, said.

It gives auto enthusiasts like Madeline O'Connell the chance to work on something she loves.

"I love just taking things apart and just seeing how they work and stuff. I'm not your typical girl. I get bruised knuckles from working on things, and it doesn’t really bother me," the Shorewood sophomore said.

The team meets every Monday for three hours at MotoScoot to build the bike. The students have to take everything off and then manufacture proper motorcycle racing parts and attach them to it. It's not an easy process, but there are five mentors to the seven students to help guide them through the process.

Junior Charlie Gravelle is part of the team for the second year in a row.

"I just really like working with tools, like it's satisfying," he said.

He wants to pursue engineering, so this is the perfect introduction to the field.

The race the BUILD teams are getting ready for is in mid-April. However, the students don't race the bikes. It's the mentors who are motorcycle racing enthusiasts who race the bike.

Not getting on the bike doesn't bother sophomore O'Connell. It's a way for her to learn more about bikes and that helps her bond with her dad who loves riding.

"My dad actually owns the exact same motorcycle we are working on."

O'Connell said she would like her involvement to mean more than just another team member. She wants to be an example for other woman who are interested in motorcycles, cars and all things auto maintenance.

"Don’t be afraid to be the only woman there," she said. "If someone says your too, like too delicate for that kind of job, don’t listen to them. Just do what you want to do."

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