On Saturday 19th August, 14 SSW team members accompanied by teachers Glen Strange and Andrew Kynoch, and parents - Mr Coventry, Mrs Ferry and Mr and Mrs Featherston headed off at 6:00 am for the fourth Bendigo Grand Prix.
After a pit stop at Macca’s in Kangaroo Flat, the team arrived at the Thistle St Scrutineering bay. Here our trikes were unloaded and safety checked for a range of features such as brakes, mirrors, safety switches, fuses and seat belts.
Each vehicle is fitted with a transponder that counts our laps and send the info not only to a display screen but also to our mobile phones!
We set up two marquees / pit tents and all of our equipment, plus a cooking area as riders tend to get pretty hungry!
A drive of the track helped riders to understand cornering lines and any areas to be avoided such as pot holes.
When the green flag dropped at 1:00 pm for the rolling start, there were 90 vehicles on the track- all representing teams form schools and community groups all across Victoria.
One of our race tactics is to start last on the grid and gradually work our way up, once the first 20 or so laps have been completed. This way, a number or minor vehicle bumps and scrapes have occurred with the front-runners – and we are not impacted at all. Our ongoing rule is to preserve the trikes as pit time for collisions or mechanical repairs wastes a lot of race time.
As the afternoon progressed, our teams began climbing through the field. Adults were required for marshalling duty and the BBQ was always supplying amazing food such as sausages, nachos, hamburgers and pancakes – right throughout the race.
Riders had to warm up before riding, fill their drink bottle, wear gloves; a helmet and safety glasses and the Hybrid team also had to wear cleat shoes so there was always a lot of activity in the pits.
Electric vehicle batteries were constantly on the charge and being monitored for charge rate. The generator hummed away in the background.
Our Human Powered Vehicle team consisting of Year 6 to Year 8 students did an awesome job of pedalling around the 1.1 km circuit which also has an energy-zapping hill in each lap!
As night fell, the Hybrid and Energy Efficient Vehicle (EEV) teams had both risen to the top 20 pack and were coming third and second in their respective fields. Riding under lights and with vehicle lights on added to the excitement of the race.
While team members where packing up, we paused briefly to cheer all teams as they crossed the finish line at 10:00 pm.
Our results were as follows:
Hybrid Team – 3rd in class. 24th overall. 209 laps
EEV team – 2nd in class. 30th overall. 180 laps
HPV team – 78 laps
Another Macca’s stop after the presentations then on our way back to Ballarat.
By the time Mr Kynoch and Mr Strange dropped students home and dropped the trailer at the College, it was 1:30 am so it had been a very long day, however a very rewarding and enjoyable day for all.
We now have some repairs to make and some changes to implement - to try and make our race vehicles lighter, more comfortable to ride and more competitive.
Riders of course, must continue their fitness and training regime.
We also have a new pushcart to build for year 5/6 Pushcart team which will be launched soon.
We are indebted to our parent volunteers for their interest and dedication to the SSW program and now begin our preparations for the RACV Energy Breakthrough on 23rd – 26th November 2017 in Maryborough.
We continue to meet on Wednesdays on odd weeks of term, and Thursdays on even weeks of term from 3:40-5:30 pm in the TTC and welcome any visitors.
SSW would value any sponsorship be it in-kind, or donations for which we
will gladly advertise on all of our vehicles.
Congratulations to all our SSW students on their wonderful achievements at the 2017 Bendigo Grand Prix.