A team of TRACTION mentors helped students from RDSS build a recumbent bike, adapting it from a base bike generously donated by Paul. The build has been the focus for students throughout their time at the TRACTION workshop leading up to the event this year. The Tech Challenge provides opportunities for students, teachers, parents and local industry to work together to design and construct a variety of human powered vehicles, solar powered machines and innovative robots. There certainly were plenty of high-tech vehicles at the event, but the TRACTION-RDSS entry was ‘low-tech’ and ‘old school’ with students providing the leg power!
The bike featured a lightweight but strong design, cambered front wheels for safe and swift cornering, a roll cage and other safety features to ensure it passed official scrutineering inspections. As with any project time was tight and there were ideas, tweaks and modifications to squeeze extra performance from the bike that remained on the wish list, so naming the beast “Unfinished Business” seemed appropriate. In the end, the bike’s robust and sensible design proved to be an advantage on the track. Aside from rider rotations, only 2 pit stops were required to made adjustments to repair and fine-tune the bike and get it back on track!
7 students from RDSS were supported by Principal Andrew, Lyndell and Glen from school who kept the team fuelled up and rested throughout the race. Travis, Jessy, Owen, Cayden, Kingsley, Jett and Joshua worked wonderfully as a team all weekend. At every rider rotation, the students helped each other get in and out of the bike, perform safety checks and swiftly get the bike back onto the race circuit. A highlight was seeing Travis, who always does a stellar job, hit the track for a solid 1 hour straight, doing 11 laps and 15kms before grabbing a rest at 2am. This amazing group of 6 young men were an inspiration.
The town cryer’s cannon blasted at 12 noon on Saturday signalling the countdown of the 24 hour event. Riders took turns to clock up laps throughout the heat of the day, through a frosty night and until the finish at 12noon on Sunday. Concentration spans were tested, and across the field there were some exciting crashes that kept pit crews on their toes! Some ingenious problem-solving skills helped the teams keep rolling.
The race featured an array of vehicles, many of which featured aerodynamic foils and hybrid electric-human powered engines propelling some down the straight at speeds clocked at 70 km/hr. It was hectic through the chicanes and keeping out of harm’s way of these rockets was a challenge for the RDSS team at times, however the students had a ball, did a fantastic job in the race and all of them displayed excellent behaviour all weekend.
It truly was a fantastic weekend for all involved. For some of the team it was their first time away from home. The pride and delight on their faces when they released what they could achieve left no doubt that RDSS will be back next year!
Message from Principal Andrew