By Sarah Brookes
HELENA College students hit the grid this month taking part in their first human-powered vehicle race in Busselton.
Deputy principal for curriculum Bob Simpson said the Year 9 team finished third out of 18 junior secondary teams, only beaten by an experienced team from Victoria and by a Year 10 team from Hale school.
“The race took place on a 950 metre circuit of closed roads on the Busselton foreshore with the aim to complete as many laps as possible over a six-hour period,” he said.
“As a novice team, we did not enter the race with high expectations.
“We were there to enjoy the event and learn from the experience.
“To finish third in the middle school class out of 18 teams was a fantastic achievement, beating much more experienced teams who came to the event with plenty of sponsorship and financial support.
“This success has inspired the team to continue participating in the future, their goal for 2017 to take part in the 24-hour Pedal Prix in South Australia which attracts 250 teams and 30,000 spectators.’’
Mr Simpson said the Pedal Prix had been likened to V8 Supercars without the noise or smell. P
edal Prix WA event manager Stuart Peterson said the event was a huge success with 43 teams starting.
“In only its second year, many of the schools have already embedded Pedal Prix into their annual calendar.
Overall, all the kids had smiles on their faces, the weather held out and it was an enjoyable day all round.
“The event in Busselton started in 2014, but it has a rich history in South Australia having started way back in 1986, so 2015 marks the 30th year of Pedal Prix in Australia.
“Through that time tens of thousands of students have grown individually and collectively as a result of participating in Pedal Prix.
“It’s a hugely rewarding experience for students, and a fantastic community engagement program given that there are participants working in teams from ages 11 up to as far as 70.
“Students are challenged throughout the lead-up in constructing their vehicles and keeping them going on the day, in the process learn valuable life lessons in team work, problem solving, project management, engineering and safe driving.
“It’s also a great way for kids to get active.” Mr Simpson said Pedal Prix was part of the curriculum program at the school.
“Pedal Prix is in its infancy at the moment,” he said.
“But as more schools become involved and see the benefits for their students the sport is poised to grow rapidly.
“There has been discussion of holding a race in Perth in 2016 which will showcase the sport in the city.”