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RACQ Pedal Prix 2018

A fine crisp morning welcomed ninety-three teams to Willowbank Raceway for the 2018 annual RACQ All School’s Pedal Prix event.  This was the twenty-ninth running of Pedal Prix and the fifteenth occasion Willowbank Raceway has been the host venue.  Twenty schools travelled from as far away as Bundaberg, the Darling Downs and Gold Coast to be a part of the two days of racing.  This year two new schools entered teams, Wilsonton State High School and Redlands Special School.

A unique aspect of Pedal Prix at Willowbank is the contest for grid positions.  Riders line up on the drag strip and pedal down a one eighth mile distance to record a time which is used to determine the grid position the team starts the race from.  This is the same drag strip used for the renowned Winternationals. Competition is not only between the teams but also between individual riders within teams as riders attempt to set the fastest time.

Thursday commenced with each team setting up their shelter and equipment at their allocated pit bay ready for the junior race. Teams proceeded to the staging lanes for licence checks, scrutineering and then on to the drag the drag strip.  When all teams had recorded a qualifying time Junior teams moved to their race track for the race briefing followed by a one hour practice session.  Teams then moved to the starting grid where they were flagged off for the three hour race where rider skills, endurance and teamwork were all put to the test.  This year after a number of requests the committee decided to introduce an Open Junior division which allowed schools to enter Category One vehicles. It was very well supported with thirteen teams entered.  A total of thirty five junior teams contested five divisions.

Competitors returned on Friday to contest the six hour senior race.   Fifty-eight teams in total started the race in cool conditions which quickly warmed up during the day.  The warm conditions put the rider’s stamina and fitness to the test.  Teams must manage the rider changes and order of riders without the assistance of teachers.  Minor repairs can be performed in pit lane, however if major repairs are required the vehicle must be taken behind the pit lane barriers before repairs can be carried out.  In the event of a major collision or rollover the vehicle must be checked by an official before continuing in the race.

The biggest division this year was the Senior Open Division with twenty three teams.  This was followed by our traditionally large division of Junior Boys with fourteen and Junior Open with thirteen.  It is a credit to all schools who are now stepping up to the open division vehicles while still supporting novice riders with category two vehicles.

Results for this year’s event were:

Junior SEU, Redbank Plains State High School;  Junior Mixed, Stretton College;  Junior Girls, Rochedale SHS; Junior Boys, St Mary’s College;  Junior Open, Rochedale State High School;  Senior SEU, Redbank Plains SHS;   Senior Class B Mixed, Rochedale State High School;  Senior Class B Girls, Albany Creek State High School;  Senior Class B Boys, St Mary’s College;     Senior Open Mixed, St James Lutheran College;  Senior Open Girls, Bundaberg SHS;  Senior Open Boys, Ormeau Woods SHS.

Our leading teams completed 146 laps in the junior race on the 400 metre track while the senior winners covered 197 laps to win by two laps on the one kilometre track.

Special Awards were won by:

Best Presented Vehicle and Crew, Junior, Ormeau Woods State High School Junior Open team; Senior, Bundaberg State High School Open Girls team.  Best Pit Crew, Junior, St Mary’s College: Senior, Nanango State High School.  Fastest Lap, Junior, Ormeau Woods State High School Open team; Senior, Rochedale State High School Open Boy’s team.

Members of the organising committee would like to thank RACQ for their ongoing support of this event along with Willowbank Raceway and Councillor Kylie Stoneman from the Ipswich City Council.  A special thank you must also be extended to Mr Jon Galos who operated the lap counting apparatus and kept competitors up to date with current placings in all divisions.  Finally we would like to thank all staff and students who continue to make this event such a success.

Andrew Newbury, Chris Cavanagh and Graham Axelsen (Event Committee).

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