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Student-made minibikes race Manfeild

Student-made minibikes race Manfeild

The inaugural UCOL/Schools Minibike Grand Prix will see secondary school students from around the central North Island take to the track on their own creations.

The hot new event takes place on the 23 and 24 October at the Manfeild Park Raceway in Feilding.

The students will each race a 50cc miniature motorbike they have built during the year in their school engineering workshop classes. They will be put to the test in sprint racing, and longer events, on the 1.5km race circuit.

The mainly year 12 students are from Lytton High School in Gisborne, Wairoa College, Karamu High School in Hastings, and Waipukurau’s Central Hawke’s Bay College, as well as Feilding High School where the idea began.

Roger Emmerson, founder, organiser, and the teacher in charge of engineering at Feilding High School, started the event as a project for his students to work towards in engineering class. The idea was “to make engineering fun, to make it more interesting and personal. If you are working on something you enjoy, you excel at it,” he says.

Even though the bikes are a fraction of the size of a real motorbike, Roger says they are expected to reach speeds of 60km. “They are quite a bit of fun, and something the boys can be proud of making.

“UCOL has really helped us out by sponsoring the use of the 1.5km track for the boys to race on. It means we can all concentrate on the bikes and on the racing.”

Roger says the project has been very successful, and another six schools have already expressed interest in joining the programme next year.

As well as getting to build and race their very own mini racing bike, the students gain Level 2 Unit Standards through the Industry Training Organisation Competenz’ Tools for Work programme. These could provide a pathway into future training, for example to UCOL’s popular new Certificate in Motor Sport, the Certificate for Entry to Automotive Trades, or to one of UCOL’s mechanical engineering programmes.


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