Early Saturday morning saw half the Greenpower team head North East through the Dartford Crossing to the Ford Technical Centre, Dunton, Essex for the Eastern Regional Heat of this year's IET Formula 24 challenge. This year, Dunton was an even more appropriate setting for our sustainable engineering challenge as the centre is celebrating the success of the award winning EcoBoost engine which has been designed there.
Ford has been a long term supporter of Greenpower and they have been going the extra mile this year hosting a junior school Goblin event for the first time as well as providing us space to run some trial CPD sessions with local schools. David and Nicola once again did a fantastic job providing a team of exceptional volunteers - many experienced hands who have been doing this event for years and helped the scrutineering and marshalling to run exceptionally smoothly. We also had some very knowledgable and enthusiastic apprentices who added their expertise judging the engineering prizes.
Ford's test track is always a challenge for our teams, designed as it is to provide a wide array of conditions for testing their own designs. The banking section and hairpin bend add lots of interest and just a little spice to the day! As an extra precaution, all teams had to send all drivers out on at least one test lap and by time the race started most drivers were ready for the task ahead. We were quite surprised to be radioed in from the banking section to black flag a car for illegal overtaking on the first lap!!
This year's race was quite exceptional with, for much of the four hours, very little to call between 3rd and 8th position. Eventually, two cars in this pack fell back, Little Ilford opting to hitch several rides on the recovery truck and Westcliffe High School for Girls "Flying Cow" as they put it, "running out of milk"!
The early race leaders Yeldham Young Engineers Society were joined by Leigh Stormers 2 finally showing daylight between them and third position, although the battle for that last podium place was still hotly contested right to the end by the other five remaining cars. In the end, the Basildon Bullet made good on their home track taking this highly contested spot.
Yeldham's win also saw them break both the lap time and distance records for this circuit, so a brilliant performance all round.
Prizegiving time saw yet more support from Ford UK, with the Managing Director, Graham Hoare presenting the awards including Best Engineered Car to Philip Morant School, Siemens Innovation Award to The Plume, Best Presented Team to Little Ilford School and Spirit of Greenpower to the incredibly supportive "Flying Cow" team from Westcliffe High School For Girls.
Once again, a huge thanks to everyone at Ford UK for their support and congratulations to all teams involved - looking froward to seeing you all at future events!