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Race day thrills for Young Engineers

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KMF Young Engineer 2014 Electric Car Project

The final of the 2014 KMF Young Engineer of the Year Awards saw 18 schools go head-to-head on the tarmac of Darley Moor race circuit in Derbyshire to discover which of them had developed the fastest and most efficient electric car.

The 12-strong teams were supported by teaching staff and members of their sponsoring companies.

Sponsors included Amada, Trumpf, Wilson Tool, Neida Products, Greenway Pepper, Bri-Stor, MGS Precision and UniLathe from the engineering sector plus Wade Ceramics, Wrights Food Group, Advanced Packaging, Sudden Impact Printers, Stoke Sixth Form College, Newcastle Under Lyme College, IFB Limited, Sure Retail, EMR and Michelin.

Electric-powered race cars were built from kits supplied by KMF (Precision Sheet Metal) and sponsors. The challenge was to achieve the fastest lap over two 90 minute heats or to travel the furthest distance.

Each heat involved a pit stop for a driver change with Greenpower rules dictating a minimum of three drivers per race.

With 216 students competing for chequered flag glory the level of enthusiasm and competition was intense.

"To witness these young people so focused on the task in hand was truly rewarding and we were able to give these Staffordshire pupils a purposeful learning experience that they will always remember."

"The cars looked spectacular on parade and were a credit to the schools and the hard work the students put into the project," said Gareth Higgins, Managing Director of KMF (Precision Sheet Metal).

Every student taking part was rewarded with a medal along with a keepsake of the day while major prizes were awarded by TV's Gadget Show host Jason Bradbury, who had given his time freely to the event.

The Young Engineer of the Year awards were as follows:

The fastest lap of the day went to Team Haywood Rocket from the Haywood Academy, sponsored by Trumpf, with a top speed of 20.9 mph.

In the endurance stakes, it was Team Eagle from St Joseph's Catholic College, sponsored by Neida Products, who travelled a distance of 31.2 miles over the 90 minutes.

Other awards went to Team Burning Rubber from Painsley Catholic College sponsored by Greenway Pepper for the best-designed car.

The Spirit of Young Engineer award was presented to Birches Engineers from Birches Head Academy sponsored by IFB Limited.

That just left the two big awards to be made those of runner-up and winner of the individual KMF Young Engineer of the Year Awards.

Judging for these two prestigious titles had taken place the week before, with the result kept under wraps until race day. Each of the 216 team members was eligible with a shortlist of 18 being selected by a diverse panel of seven judges.

The judges were: Brian Wood, Royal Academy of Engineering; David Frost, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP; Malcolm Eyre, Staffordshire STEM; John Myers, National Apprenticeship Service; Polly Staveley, TL Dallas; Mark Haig, EAL and Ben Adams, Staffordshire County Council.

Each of the 18 shortlisted finalists was interviewed, and information on each contender was provided by school teaching staff.

The title of KMF's Young Engineer of the Year Runner-Up was awarded to Jamie Whelan from St Margaret Ward Academy, with Jamie and his team winning Mini Ipads donated by HOBB Computer.

The overall KMF Young Engineer of the Year Award went to Jonathon Sharman from Clayton Hall Business & Language College, and Jonathon and his Team were given the prize of "Young Driver Experience" donated by Knights BMW, Stoke on Trent.