Powerboat racing is in Mette Brandt Bjerknæs’ DNA. Both of her parents raced powerboats, so as a family they pretty much lived and breathed the high octane sport every day. At the age of 19, Mette started racing herself and within three years she was competing in World Championships.
Mette grew up in Norway where she was exposed to the logistics of the sport and developed her resilience, determination and drive with the insight that anything is possible when you put in the hard work – and have the best supporting team around you.
While the sport is still predominantly male orientated, Mette aspires to be a great female role model and to send the message that it is within everyone’s power to ‘be the change’.
This healthy mindset and belief that anyone can change the world by example seeps into her life beyond the roar, spray and adrenaline of racing. After obtaining her teaching degree twelve years ago she became a full-time teacher.
“In 2012-2015 I competed in both the Sprint and the Endurance World Championship and in 2014 I became the first and only female World Champion in Endurance class 2.”
Throughout her career, both on the water and in the classroom, Mette insists on good communications. If ever there is a block to the giving and receiving of information, you are at a huge disadvantage.
The ability to communicate with her team members when racing is crucial for a successful outcome. Her coach is in constant dialogue relaying details of the race, the water conditions and the boat and transmitting immediate instructions. Should there be even a slight delay in this communication, it can mean the difference between winning the World Championship and not.
Racing on water is physically demanding and requires complete focus meaning that the communication technology cannot be in any form of a hand-held device. To give Mette the best chance of gaining future titles, the tech must be hardwired, reliable, responsive, unobtrusive and noise cancelling. To put this into some perspective, the tiny boat she pilots has limited visibility, takes 90 degree turns at 150 km/h, produces a G-force of up to 5G and accelerates faster than high performance race cars.
And that’s not all, she races against other powerboats which, at times, are only centimetres away from each other. That’s why precision and clear communication are key.
“Radio communication is not only mandatory to race in the F2 World Championship, but it’s absolutely crucial for me to keep my focus on my racing.”
The coronavirus pandemic may have disrupted all powerboat racing activities in 2020 but it didn’t stop Mette making plans. This year she joined forced with a UK powerboat team to form JRM Racing. Her racing will resume in 2021 in what will be her 10th season.
Servicom are proud to be a part of Mette’s next challenge and will use their expertise to provide the JRM Racing team with the technology needed to make her a World Champion once more. The custom two-way communication that Servicom is supplying consists of Motorola DP4600e radios for the land-based team and a Motorola DM4400e which connects to Mette’s boat.
Two of Mette’s main issues in the past have been faulty radios and the noise from the water and the boat making it difficult for her land-based team to interpret her speech. She told Servicom that she has used analogue radios previously which did not perform well and didn’t filter out the sound of the engine enough for her to exchange information clearly back to the team. The dedicated team at Servicom are currently working with Mette to find her the best microphone to wire into the helmet. In addition, the headset is wired but a connection is in line with the radio housed in the boat’s bulkhead.
"The over air protocol is DMR which has inbuilt noise cancelling capabilities, this will bring huge benefits to the team."
Taking into account that Mette’s inshore race circuits are close to land, the team at Servicom are providing a back to back radio configuration chosen for its reliability as it eliminates the need for any additional infrastructure which could potentially fail.
Servicom is no stranger when it comes to high-speed projects, they supplied the communication technology for the Bloodhound LSR, a British land vehicle designed to break the land speed record at supersonic speeds.
They are tackling Mette’s project exactly the same as they did for Wing Commander Andy Green and are speaking with Mette frequently to ensure that they are meeting her exact needs and working hard to ensure that she has the best kit on board.