Land Rover 4×4 Technology Challenge World Final – July 2016
Having worked tirelessly around exam commitments since the National Finals earlier in the year, Team Ascent headed to the world challenge at the Richo Arena in Coventry on Sunday. Our car was duly handed in for scrutineering and passed. We then had to set up of our pit display and we were allowed two hours dead and no more. We did it and the display, complete with sand, rocks and branches, looked good.
We were feeling confident and looking forward to the track sessions, however, as the countdown timer started on the first section of the test track the vehicle seemed to have a will if its own, unresponsive, then jerky. At times it sounded like our delicate brass gears were jumping out of mesh. Then only a couple of minutes in, there was suddenly no drive at all, the motor had burned out – disaster! With confidence seriously dented we opted to borrow the JLR car, which limited us to only 50% of the marks available. Back at base the problem was investigated, and we discovered the inside of one tyre had slipped off its wheel rim and was rubbing on the hub carrier.
With a poor track performance, but apparently a strong verbal presentation, a sound pit display and impressive engineering scores, we did not make a podium position, but did pick up the Research and Development Award – and some pride was restored. This was recognition for all the hard work that had gone into designing and building the vehicle that perhaps departed most radically from the standard solid axle arrangement that all other teams seem to have adopted. The real ‘icing on the cake’ came a little later when the team was invited to visit the UK headquarters of the America’s Cup yacht race in Portsmouth to meet Sir Ben Ainsley and the team to see how they are preparing to win the Cup back.
A big ‘thank you’ should go to all of our sponsors, these include local company Mazak who’s financial assistance kick started this year’s entry. Thank you also to AVL, The AOOEs and the PTA, who all made substantial financial donations. Mosaique should be thanked for helping us prepare the graphics for the pit display and MDB Promotions for the supply of team shirts and other promotional material. Finally, thanks should go to Worcester based Lesk Engineering who manufactured several complicated aluminium hub assemblies for the team. Without the support and generosity of these organisations, Team Ascent would have been unable to attend. To all of our sponsors and followers, we will be back next year, more prepared and even more determined!
Mr Mike Howard, Design and Technology Teacher