From Trial positions 4th and 26th in 2016 to 1st and 2nd in 2017, White Hills Primary School’s leap up the order has been remarkable. They are the first school to go 1-2 in a Trial since South Australian powerhouse Aberfoyle Hub PS way back in 2001. They took pole position by four hundreths of a second in Thursday night practice and never looked back.
Unfortunately, when their scores for Display & Presentation and Design & Construction were combined, White Hill’s teams EcoRush and Torpeco finished 9th and 8th in the HPV A2 class respectively. Class Honours went to the slick ‘MECnificient 2.0’ from Maryborough Education Centre.
But looking back to look forward, Maryborough Education Centre took line honours in the Trial last year, they didn’t win the Class. They’ve managed to reverse that trend this year, so will White Hills PS be able to aim for a Class win in 2018?
We caught up with Team Manager, Roger Byron, (pictured above far right) to hear how his students pulled it off during a highly competitive trial. Roger has been working with the White Hills Primary School HPV program for seven years now and is a Grade 6 teacher at the school. He’s also a passionate follower of Formula One and host of a podcast called ‘Beyond the Racing Line’.
RACVEB: Looking at the results, exceptional effort in the Trial; but not so strong in the Display & Presentation and Design & Construction components… what happened?
Roger: Yes, that’s a bit of a sore point! We felt like we’d prepared really well and even attended the recent preparation workshop at La Trobe University Bendigo. But it obviously just didn’t ‘click’ for us there. On Thursday, we were in Design & Construction at 5:55pm with the Practice Session starting at 6:30pm … so we probably rushed it a bit too much. I suppose we’ve got something to work on for 2018 now! (laughs).
RACVEB: What were your expectations coming into the event this year?
Roger: We knew we had a special group of kids this year who were both fit and quick. We also knew they could go the extra mile when they needed to, so I thought we should be in with a good shot if we did the little things right.
You can never be too confident because we were up against a lot of really strong of over 90 teams. But it’s been pretty special to go 1st and 2nd in the Trial.
RACVEB: Any special strategies or tips you used during the Trial?
Roger: Not that I am willing to tell everyone .. ha ha!
No, seriously, nothing too unusual. Lots and lots of hard work at training throughout the year. We made sure the trikes were ready to go; and made sure we were ready to roll with whatever came during in the race.
RACVEB: Did you have any major incidents during the Trial?
Roger: We had a flat tyre on EcoRush in the first hour and then one of our riders rolled it shortly after that. We were down on the leaders by four or five laps, so I wondered if it was going to be one of those races where we were fourth again. But from then on, there was no other major problems apart from the odd roll over here and there.
RACVEB: When did you think you had it won?
Roger: We weren’t taking anything for granted until both trikes crossed the line at 12 noon on Saturday!
Our second placed Torpeco was holding off Vanquish and Spitfire by only a lap for the last couple of hours; and our first placed EcoRush went over a couple of times late in the race, so it was a pretty stressful time in the pits.
The kids were really well prepared and we had to leave it up to them to do their thing on the track in the end.
RACVEB: Away from the results, do you think about the Energy Breakthrough?
Roger: We love this event. It gives our kids a chance to shine. Kids can do some amazing things when you give them the chance and this event gives them that chance.
RACVEB: Anyone you need to thank?
Roger: We would like to thank all the organisers and volunteers who put in such a massive effort every year in the lead up to the event and during the weekend to give our kids these great opportunities. We need to thank our wonderful sponsors for helping get us to all our events and the RACV and the other RACVEB sponsors for supporting such a great event.
We also need to thank John Taylor and Jordan Lucas who worked with us to prepare two incredible trikes. They are always really supportive and easy to work with. Finally, I’d like to thank the parents and my wonderful co-teachers Bec and Daniel for all the work they put in throughout the year, too.