Project Pedal Car
January 2016 onwards
As a project for the first half of 2016, we embarked on a project as a troop to build a pedal car, to hopefully enter into a couple of races in the summer! We didn't manage to build a pedal car in time, but we hired one and entered the Shenington 24 hour pedal car race, and came first in our class! Now we're keen to enter more races, and eventually build our own pedal car as we originally planned.
Below you will find the project blog, so you can follow our progress.
Lots of photos can be found here,
18th April 2017 -
Project Pedal Car - Year 2!
After the success of last year's race, we are planning on entering 2 races this year: The Shenington 24 Hour Pedal Car Race, and the Bruntingthorpe 6 Hour Pedal Car Race. The latter of these, is taking place this weekend.
We have recently invested in 2 second hand pedal cars from Team 105, and plan to eventally modify these to form the start of our fleet of pedal cars. These two cars, named Eagle 1 and Eagle 2, a very different to the one we raced and won with last year, but they are a good starting point for us to modify and build our own pedal car.
We have spent 2 troop nights testing, tinkering and trialling the pedal cars, and plan to have one of these race-ready for the race at the weekend.
We'll post a race report next week to let you know how we got on...
25th-26th June 2016 -
Shenington 24 Hour Pedal Car Race - Race Report
We arrived on site at 19:00, unloaded our kit and Pedal Car, and set up our pits and our campsite in the field behind the pits. We also stuck the racing numbers & 7th Eagles logo to the kart at this point, and checked it was race-ready (tyres up to pressure etc.).
At 19:45 there was a brief drivers briefing before Free Practice 1 began at 20:00. This practice session was 1 hour long, so the 5 team members (Donald, the sixth, turned up Saturday) got 10-12 minutes each in the Pedal Car. This practice session was vital for the scouts getting used to the lay of the Shenington race track.
There was a break before Free Practice 2 at 22:15, in which we had our supper, provided by Bear Grills Cafe. We bought meal deals for all of our drivers & support leaders, which gave us 6 meals over the course of the weekend, without the hassle of preparing and cooking our own food, and all for £11pp!
Free Practice 2 took place in the dark, and was the first real taste of night-racing for our drivers. They once again had 10-12 minutes each on the track. Once this was over, we packed up and got an early night ready for the race.
We got up at 8:30, had breakfast, and our drivers got ready for the race, making sure they had all the right clothing on (including our lovely 7th Eagles t-shirts!).
Scrutineering started at 9:00, which had to be one of the more nervous times for the leaders. Once we had wheeled our car over to the scrutineers, they tugged, wobbled, poked, and shook various parts of the car to ensure it was safe to race. The physical dimensions of the car were measured by a grid on the floor which we placed the car over. The lights were tested, and we passed! We handed in our team sheet, and returned to the pits with our car.
Free Practice 3 took place at 10:30 for 50 minutes. Donald had arrived, and so our priority was getting him as much time on the circuit as possible before the race as he had missed Friday’s practices. He had a 10-12 minute stint to start off with, then the other 5 drivers had a 5 minute warm-up stint, and then he had a final 10-12 minutes in the car before practice ended.
Drivers briefing started at 11:30, where the drivers and team managers were reminded of the most important rules, and anything else they needed to know for the race. The grid was then assembled, with us the very last car, and the race began at 12:00 with a rolling start.
Our drivers for the race were:
1 - Donald
2 - Kyle
3 - Scott
4 - Xavier
5 - George
6 - James
This was also the driving order for the majority of the race. Donald started the race off for 7th Eagles, and we then went through the order from 1-6, and then back to 1 again. Each driver had a 10-12 minute stint assigned to them, which then gave them ~1 hour between stints to rest/relax. However this was not fixed in concrete. We told the drivers that we would indicate to them as they passed us by the pit lane if it was their last lap, however if they were in a position where they wanted to continue for a couple more laps, they could indicate this to us, and we would just ask them again the next time they came past, until eventually they told us they were pitting next lap. Conversely, if they felt they were struggling, or we could see their lap time was dropping of drastically, they could come into the pits early. Because of this flexibility the longest stint of the weekend was 20 minutes by Donald first thing Sunday morning.
Tom (Team Manager) had carried out a detailed analysis of the 6 previous years that the Shenington 24 Hour Race had used the short circuit (as we were using this year), and had produced a table detailing the Max, Min and Average numbers of Laps, Laps per hour, Miles, MPH, and best lap times, for the teams that had come 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th in our class, PC3. This meant that we could note our current pace, and compare it to this table, and work out whether we were on course for a 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th place.
Tom also created a table which equated the stint length of the drivers, to the number of laps achieved in the stint. It then gave us values for Laps per hour and Laps total, at that stint length & lap number. This was useful as it was a quick reference guide for what our current pace would equate to, and could be used with the other table to work out our predicted position.
For example, for 1st place, previous teams had on average completed 643 laps. At a pace of 7 laps every 12 minute stint, we would complete 630 by the end of the race, so we knew we needed slightly more than 7 laps per stint (on average).
Anyway enough maths...
The race continued through the afternoon, with lunch and tea consumed by the drivers in their breaks. We also had plenty of visitors, 35 over the course of the weekend! We can't thank these parents/leaders enough for popping by to visit us, as it really did help the time fly.
At 21:00, we switched race tactic. As in our PC3 (under 14s) class we had to stop between midnight and 6:00 Sunday, we wanted to ensure the drivers got more than 5 hours sleep. So at 21:00, drivers 1, 2 & 3 were sent to bed, and we carried on with just 4, 5 & 6. This brought the breaks down to only 24 minutes for the drivers, but the benefit was that drivers 1, 2 & 3 would then be up at 5:30 ready to start at 6:00 again, and drivers 4, 5 & 6 could sleep until 8:30. This gave all 6 drivers ~8 hours sleep. Unfortunately, the leaders only got 5 hours! But that was to be expected.
The two sets of drivers (1-3 and 4-6) were selected in a way as to ensure each group’s ability was balanced, and had a fast "team leader" leading the group. We also made sure the ones that didn't like early starts were on the night shift!
Mandatory lights-on time was 21:30, and at midnight, the race was halted for PC3 and PC4.
We went to sleep in 13th place overall out of 23, 1st in PC3, and more impressively 2nd place in PC2!
We were up at 5:15am, ready to resume the race again at 6am. Overnight we had dropped to 16th place, which was to be expected as the PC2 and PC1 teams below us had had 6 hours to overtake us! It also put us in a position where we could no longer realistically catch the team above us (we were 11 laps ahead of them when we went to bed, but woke up over 100 laps behind in the morning!), and couldn't really be caught from the team behind us, so 16th place looked like our final position for the race.
Drivers 1-3 started us off for the morning, with Donald starting us off with a 20 minute stint overtaking all the tired older drivers! These 3 rotated until 9:00, when the other three drivers joined us again. We then had the full 6-driver rotation back for the last 3 hours of the race.
During the morning both Xavier and Donald broke the Shenington track lap record for under 14s, which was 73s, putting in a 71.6s and 71.3s lap respectively.
Xavier was chosen to finish off the race for us, as Donald has started it, and he took the checkered flag at 12noon.
We had achieved 668 laps in 18 hours, which was roughly 37 laps an hour, and 249 miles! The full race stats can be seen in the table in the post below.
We packed up the pits and our campsite, and the award ceremony began at 1pm. We won 1st Place in PC3, and 3rd Place in PC2!
We just want to take a moment to thank all of the BPCC team for a fantastic weekend!
I can say on behalf of the 6 scouts, other leaders, and all the 35 parents/leaders that came and watched us, that we have all thoroughly enjoyed the weekend. Last week we were anxious that we were stepping into this unknown, very serious and competitive world of pedal car racing, but although it is really really really competitive, everyone this weekend was so friendly towards us, and the event has a great atmosphere surrounding it. A lasting memory of the weekend will be the Belgians cheering on/screaming at their driver for the last 30 minutes of the race as they stole a couple more places, and our little fan club of marshals that loyally shouted “Go on 53!” every time our car went past them, nearly all race!
Thanks should especially go out to Jes Featherstone who enabled us to participate by first inviting us along to the event, then sorting us out with a hire pedal car, and answering our numerous questions over the past few months!
Thanks also to Graham Barton & the Wing Racers team for loaning us the pedal car, for looking after us over the weekend, and answering any questions we had before the race, and during the race weekend itself. We do still plan to build our own pedal car, and the one we hired from Graham was a great example of a design for junior teams. Obviously the team were the ones that won the race, but without that car we would have struggled to do as well as we did. Every one of the scouts said how easy it was to drive, although our faster scouts really did want an extra gear at the top end so they could keep up with the race leaders…!
By unanimous vote from the scouts/leaders/parents, we will be back again next year, possibly with more cars in more classes!
If you have read this, and want to build/hire a car and enter the race, visit the British Pedal Car Championship website for lots more information on the sport, and you can always ask us questions, and we will do our best to answer them!
Photos from the race can be found here. A video will follow soon...
And now this blog will continue to follow us as we build a pedal car for next year…
Tom – Team Manager
25th-26th June 2016 -
Shenington 24 Hour Pedal Car Race - Final Results
Please see the Final Results below:
25th-26th June 2016 -
Shenington 24 Hour Pedal Car Race - Race Weekend!
We are pleased to announce that 7th Eagles came 1st Place in their class, PC3! Additionally, we came 3rd in the class above, PC2!
The full results can be seen above, but we completed 668 laps (250 miles!) in the 18 hours, and we broke the PC3 lap time, recording a 71.2s lap, which is an average of 18.9mph for the lap!
A full report will follow when we have recovered...!
Photos from the weekend can be found by following the link at the top of the page!
21st June 2016 -
Jim's World of Fitness (Part 3)
This week saw the final preparations for the Pedal Car Race this weekend.
Jim ran a mini sports day, starting and ending with a bleep test, to finish off his fitness plan. Whilst the scouts were participating in this, the 6 drivers for the weekend were each given a 10 minute endurance stint in the pedal car, on a very basic oval track. This wasn't timed, and the laps weren't counted, it was purely to give the scouts an idea of how long each of their stints in the pedal car will be.
Tom (team manager) has come up with a race plan for the weekend, which requires each scout to complete a 12 minute stint in the car, before handing over to the next driver. They will then have a 1 hour break before their next stint, whilst the remaining 5 drivers complete a stint. We will run through the 6 drivers in rotation until 9pm. At 9pm, 3 of the drivers will be rested, to get up at 5:15am ready to go at 6am. The remaining 3 drivers will continue until midnight, and can then sleep until 8:15am. From 9am the original rotation will resume, until the end of the race at 12 noon on Sunday.
We also crafted a seat for one of our shorter scouts, to enable him to reach the pedals more easily.
Final adjustments to the car will be carried out Friday evening in the pits.
4 days to go...
31st May 2016 -
Jim's World of Fitness (Part 2)
This was our second fitness week, and was focused on endurance and pedal car practice.
We started off by getting the scouts to run around the outside of the playground. It wasn't a race, they just had to keep running, for 12 minutes. This 12 minutes is key as it is the expected length of each stint they will complete in the pedal car. Jim kept track of the number of completed laps, which gave him an idea of which scouts could endure more!
Thanks to Graham Barton, we now have our hire Pedal Car! It was picked up last week, and is already pretty much race ready. This gave us the perfect oppertunity to let the scouts get used to the pedal car, giving them 5 laps each to start off with. We built a simple race circuit in the playground, which included features such as the Chicane of Death, the Hammerhead, Rubbery Bend, Buckland Bend, and the Follow Through. All of the scouts completed 5 laps, with only 1 slow motion crash by one of the oldest scouts(!). If the weather is kind to us we hope to be able to carry out some endurance racing next week (as many laps in 12 minutes)
The next few days Tom is going to digest all of the paperwork for the event, including the rulebook, ready to spew it out at the team in a few weeks time...
3.5 weeks to go...
10th May 2016 -
Jim's World of Fitness (Part 1)
With our team (7th Eagles) now submitted for the Shenington 24 hour race, the pressure is on to get our team race-ready.
Jim has been tasked with improving the fitness of the team over the course of the next month and a half, with 3 sessions planned between now and the race weekend.
This first session consisted of the bleep test, and circuit training.
The bleep test gave Jim a benchmark of all of the scouts current endurance levels, which we could then compare to another bleep test the week before the race. All of this will help us choose our team for the race.
Circuit training consisted of a set of activities, for instance press-ups, skipping, sit-ups etc. which had to be carried out for a fixed amount of time, before moving onto the next activity in the circuit.
Safe to say everyone was shattered by the end of the night!
In pedal car news, all being well we will have our hire pedal car with us in 3 weeks time, for the scouts to practice with.
12th April 2016 -
Pedal Car Practice!
This week we were lucky to be able to trial a Pedal Car, which will possibly be the one we hire for the Shenington 24 hour Pedal Car Race!
Jes Featherstone came down with the Pedal Car, and the scouts all got ~5 laps of our "racetrack" (a basic oval) to get a feel for the pedal car.
We managed to avoid any crashes (Although we did have to remind a few of the scouts where the brakes were!), and everyone enjoyed it. Importantly, the 6 drivers we have in mind for the Shenington 24 hour race all got the hang of it very quickly. Even the leaders were considering entering their own team by the end of the night!
It also gave us some serious thoughts about our own Pedal Car design, which has very much been a "back to the drawing board" situation! Jes' car showed us how simple the frame itself could be, but also which parts really do need money spending on them.
As for the Shenington 24 Race, Jim is assembling a training regime for the scouts to get them in the best possible shape in the time we have available, whilst having fun at the same time!
Thanks again to Jes for letting us try it out!
7th April 2016 -
The Shenington 24 Hour Pedal Car Race
One of the races we were looking at to enter is the Shenington 24 Hour Race, which takes place this year on 24th-26th June.
Although our own Pedal Car will not be race ready by this time, we are still keen to enter and give the scouts their first taste of racing, and so we plan to hire a pedal car, and enter a team of 6 scouts for the race.
The race is held at Shenington airfield, and the track is 595m long, and the scouts have to try and complete as many laps in the 24 hours as they can. The event starts on the Friday evening with practice time on the racetrack, and the race begins at 12 noon Saturday, finishing 12 noon on Sunday. During the race each scout will have a stint in the pedal car, to try to complete as many laps as they can, before handing over to the next scout. This continues for the full 24 hours, even through the night! We will be camping on the airfield, and whilst they are not racing the scouts can watch the race, grab a bite to eat, or have a sleep!
The weekend should be finished about 2pm on the Sunday. The cost of the event will be £40 per scout, which will cover the cost of camping, food, hire of the pedal car, and all of the race entrance fees.
We will be entering in the 14-16 years age group class. Last year’s winning team in this class managed 981 laps in the 24 hours, which is ~41 laps an hour, and an average of 15mph! However 3rd place only(!) managed 30 laps an hour, and in total only 4 teams entered the class, so we stand a good chance of doing well.
The pedal car we are hiring will be brought down to the hut one Tuesday this month for the scouts to have a go with, and to give us some tips on our own pedal car.
This should be a fantastic event, and great fun for all of the scouts and leaders involved.
If your child is interested in being in the team of 6 that we will be entering, please let us know before Tuesday 26th April. It goes without saying that they don’t need to be able to ride a bike, but they do need to have the stamina to keep going, at all times of the night!
23rd February 2016 -
Rapid Reverse Engineering (Or the week we take old bikes apart)
This week we dismantled the bikes we have been donated so far. This tested some of the scouts practical skills, and also gave us an idea of the parts could be re-used in the pedal car we are building.
We also pumped up all the tyres we had been donated to see which of them deflated by the next troop night.
Additionally the scouts were able to show us how they would put a chain back on a bike, which is part of one of their Challenge Awards.
Now the proper design work starts...
16th February 2016 -
Design, design, design...
This week we concentrated more on the design of the Pedal Car. Although the leaders will obviously be helping a lot with the project, we wanted to encourage the scouts to think about the problems that the leaders will be thinking about as the project goes on. There were 4 zones which the patrols rotated around.
The first zone looked at the rules that our pedal car would have to adhere to to be allowed into the competitons we are interested in. This included the British Federation of Pedal Car Racing. The scouts had to read through the rules, and make notes of the most important ones, mainly at this point the physical dimensions of the pedal car.
The second zone looked at Aerodynamics, and how the shape of the pedal car will be important to minimise the amount of energy required to pedal it! We know we will have to look at some form of aerodynamic shielding at the front.
The third zone looked at Anthropometrics and Ergonomics, and how these are important to ensuring all of the scouts will fit comfortably in the pedal car, and will be able to pedal and operate it easily. The scouts all took measurements of each other which will be used later in the project.
The fourth zone gave the scouts the opportunity to have a go on an exercise bike, and see how quickly they could complete 5 miles! This gave us a rough initial idea of which scouts would make better drivers for the races.
We will next be looking at some of the bikes we have received for parts (thank you!) and reverse engineering them.
26th January 2016 -
Although we are building it as much as possible from scratch, it would be a huge benefit if we could receive any donations of unwanted parts which we can make use of. If you have any unwanted bikes, parts of bikes, (For instance bike wheels 56cm or less in diameter (and preferably in pairs), bike chain, gears, brakes etc.), exercise bikes, steering wheel, seat, box section metal, or anything else you believe would be useful when building a pedal car, it would be gratefully received. This will reduce the cost of the project by reducing the amount of money we do have to spend on parts. The parts we use will obviously not be returnable, but we will return any parts to you that we do not use. Please let us know if you can help!
12th January 2016 -
Project Pedal Car Begins!
This was out first night on the project.
We introduced all of the scouts to the project idea, and then spent the rest of the night with the patrols going around 3 project zones.
At the first zone they were shown examples of existing pedal cars, and given a sheet of paper to sketch up some initial design ideas. The sheet asked for front, side, plan and rear views of the pedal car, so we could get an idea of what they were thinking.
The second zone was a chance for them to practically and quickly build some pedal car ideas, using K'NEX! We got some brilliant design ideas, and we gave feedback on some of the bits they needed to re-think!
The third zone looked at some of the different tools they may find themselves using during the project, and the safety concerns associated with each tool. This also contributed to parts of the DIY Badge, which we will be covering in full later on in the year.
We also asked the scouts to put their names down for various rolls which the project requires: Team Leader, Project Leader, Drivers, Pit Crew & Engineers. This gave the leaders a good idea of which scouts want to be best in which roll. We will select the rolls later on in the project...