Future grand prix motorcycle riders and electric vehicle designers and makers all over the country saw their dreams come to life at the start of the final term for 2017.
Hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts spent the first few days of term going full noise around the Manfield racetrack in the Manawatu, competing for their school in the 2017 Mini Moto Grand Prix. At the same time, hundreds of student-designed and built electric bikes and carts were being put through their paces in the 4th running of the nationwide EVelocity competition.
These students learned new skills, some potentially set up a career for themselves and many were even gaining NCEA credits at the same time as having a whole bunch of fun.
Mini Moto brings practical and creative together
The Mini Moto GP involves groups of tech and engineering students combining to design and make a range of mini motorbikes or sidecars. More than 2-dozen schools around the country had teams making 50cc 2-stroke and 70cc 4-stroke motorbikes plus 110cc, 4-stroke powered sidecars. These students had designed and built these to set specifications, meaning that when the competition began it would be even but still hotly contested.
Feilding High School was a dominant player at Manfield with almost 30 bikes entered. Freyberg HS, Gisborne BHS and Tararua College also had solid teams and took out a number of categories at the popular event.
This was the 11th year the New Zealand National Secondary Schools MiniBike Racing Club has held the event. Contestants had built their mini bike frames, forks and rear suspension in their school engineering workshops during the year, or after school in tech clubs in some cases. Bike engineering and construction counts towards secondary achievement standards.
EVolocity – the electric vehicle comp for schools
High schools from Canterbury, Nelson, Wellington, Waikato and Auckland took part in the 2017 EVolocity competition. The students were challenged to design and construct a bike or cart using a standard electric motor and controls (supplied), with the balance of the design and build coming from the students’ imagination.
Extra points for schools are gained by maximising the amount of recycled materials used, and for creating a new technology to improve the driving and control of their vehicle, such as a speedometer. Some teams sourced materials from the local dump as well as scrounging around school tech classrooms and garages at home.
Each region holds a series of Build Days through the year where teams get together at a supporting polytechnic and are guided through the various stages of their bike or cart build. Regional finals are held with a national final scheduled in Christchurch in December.
The teams were also scored on the creativity of their 30-second sales pitch for social media.
Here’s the winner from Henderson High School.
Comps need the skills you are going to need
Like the Mini Moto Grand Prix competition, the fast growing EVolocity programme aims to grow enrolments in the STEM studies of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Both initiatives use bits of all these subjects, plus need lots of hands-on skills, teamwork and unlimited imagination.
These are the skills that are needed in the workforce of the future.