Four pupils from Banchory Academy and their mentors from Banchory Rotary Club joined 11 other teams from around Scotland taking part in the Alford heat of the IET 24 Greenpower car challenge at Alford Transport Museum last Friday.
This is part of a national event organised by Greenpower Education Trust, a charity which gets young people enthusiastic about science and engineering by challenging them to design, build and race an electric car.
Banchory Academy invited the Rotarians to engage in this project to help support and inspire pupils in improving employability skills which can lead to positive destinations when leaving school.
Some of the technical resources could not be provided by normal school facilities and the Rotarians were able to use their network of local businesses who were generous in giving materials and time to help with complex build work such as aluminium welding. For example a local vehicle bodywork shop not only welded up the chassis on a Saturday morning but took time to show the pupils around their workshop.
This was not the first year Banchory had entered, but it was the first time for this team of dedicated and inspiring retired professionals.
Mackenzie Fettes, an S2 pupil at Banchory Academy, was the first of the team to take the car onto the track. He quickly realised that the throttle was not allowing the motor to run at the optimum speed so brought the car back in.
After the experienced Rotarians spent the remainder of the practice time and part of the first race fixing the problem, Kuba Chmist (S2) took the car back out onto the track. Twenty laps later he pitted and it was the turn of Banchory’s third driver, Bailey McKay (S2), to hit the track. With confidence bolstered, the team was ready for race two.
This time Banchory started from the grid with Kuba taking the first 20 laps, Bailey clocking up the next 20 and Emily Franks (S1) putting in the remainder.
Although Banchory’s Greenpower car, named ‘50 Shades of Green’, did not feature at the top of the leaders’ table, the team did win the Spirit of Greenpower award, perhaps partly due to the determination to get the car back on the track after experiencing the throttle issues in practice.
Alford won the heat to progress to the national final at Rockingham Motor Speedway on October 5-6.