Young design team engineer an award

Students from the county who designed and raced their own electric car have scooped a top award.

The Bothal Middle School pupils won the Spirit of Greenpower Award 2014.

The budding Ashington engineers aged 11 to 16, designed and built their own single-seater racing car to compete against 32 other north east schools to win the coveted award at Darlington’s prestigious Croft Racing Circuit.

The annual competition, which is run by The Greenpower Education Trust, aims to inspire and encourage young people to consider engineering as a career path.

All the teams have to call on their skills in maths, science, design and technology to compete.

The eight-strong racing team from Bothal Middle School and their car, The Shotton Shakes, received the Spirit of Greenpower Award 2014 for outstanding effort and team spirit.

The Bothal car met all the race standards and regulations set by the competition organisers.

The team spent hours researching the car’s design and build, even seeking advice from industry experts at Stratstone BMW on Tyneside to discuss practical solutions to different technical issues.

The dealership also donated decals following the team’s unique design to dress the car.

This is the first time Bothal Middle School, part of Ashington Learning Partnership, has entered the Greenpower Formula 24 competition.

On race day, the team and pit crew took part in two 90-minute races.

Nicole Sergeant, STEM learning co-ordinator at Bothal Middle School, said: “Taking part in the Greenpower Forumula 24 competition for the first time has been a fantastic experience for the kids.

“Building our own electric kit car has presented plenty of challenges but the team worked very well together and were determined to complete the car to their vision.

“They’ve done extremely well to win this award and I’m proud of how far they have come.

“It’s vital in today’s society that young people are given the opportunity to cultivate their engineering knowledge and skills through real projects like this.

“We’re already looking forward to developing the car and taking part again next year.”