Thursday, November 1

MINIBIKES TAKE OVER MANFEILD

Secondary Schools from across the country
compete in the Minibike Grand Prix 2012 at Manfeild.
The largest-ever National Secondary Schools Minibike Grand Prix has just wrapped up at Manfeild Autocourse. More than 240 students from 25 schools raced over 250 bikes and sidecars they had built themselves.

Entrants for the event came from as far afield as Auckland’s Rosmini College and Murchison Area School in the South Island.

Feilding High School, with the largest team of 75 riders, was awarded the Championship Shield for top large school, followed by Hawkes Bay & Tairawhiti EIT Trades Academy, and Gisborne’s Lytton High School. Wanganui Collegiate picked up the Championship Shield for top small school, then Wanganui City College and Taupo Nui A Tia College respectively.

“The bikes might be pint-sized,” says Roger Emmerson, Head of Engineering at Feilding High School and a key event organiser. “But the Grand Prix has all the action and excitement of real motor sport. There’s a huge vibe at the event, with all the schools challenging one another.”

“It takes most of the school year for students to build their own motorbike,” he adds. “And blood, sweat and determination to keep them running.”

The Grand Prix is the culmination of a senior secondary students’ technology and engineering project work, where students actually build the bikes they will race – a project that aligns with the new Manufacturing and Technology vocational pathway.

“By building the minibikes students gain practical hands-on skills like welding. This can help them progress into a trade when they leave school,” says Competenz Trades General Manager, Fiona Kingsford.

“They actually gain unit standards towards the National Certificate in Mechanical Engineering Technology Level 2. The Competenz Tools4Work programme in schools means these credits are transferrable to a Competenz-managed apprenticeship.” To help with building the bike students can download a 3D minibike model from tools4work.co.nz for free.

“The students are so passionate about building the bikes they will work on them in their own time,” says Mr Emmerson. “They all love the Grand Prix. Next year we’ll have a new and bigger class of minibike: the 70cc four-stroke engine.”