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Schools' Grand Prix

A crowd of over 500 people gathered for the third running of the Bedford Autodrome Schools’ Grand Prix on Sunday 17 June, as students from across the local area participated in the annual race for classroom built electric cars.


Eight schools entered this year’s running, with a total of 11 cars taking part. The crew from Bedford High School for Girls ultimately emerged victorious in the two and a half hour race, after a dominant performance which saw them secure glory by a margin of 13 laps.


Their electric car, entitled ‘High Voltage’ was also capable of rapid speeds, and was noticeably faster than the other contenders; it was no surprise that the team also secured the fastest lap of the race with an average speed of over 25 miles per hour! Overall the team covered an impressive 56 miles during the competition.


Philip Herrick, Team leader of the Bedford High School for Girls Racing team said: “I am incredibly proud of the girls and all the people who helped made the project such as success. It’s wonderful for the reputation of the school for us to go out on such a high note as the school closes in 3 weeks’ time.”


As part of their prize for winning, the girls were treated to a ride around the circuit in a vintage Bentley, with the top three teams spraying celebratory ‘bubbly’ on the podium.


Mark Rutherford School, winners of the inaugural event in 2010, finished second and third with their two cars, while last year’s winners Biddenham International School successfully overcame technical issues to finish ninth.


The race involved students from each school building their own electric powered cars in the months building up to the event, and teams had to make pit stops for driver and battery changes. There were also a number of awards stretching across the school curriculum, including best hospitality catering, best publicity campaign and most interesting technology. Prizes were presented by MSV Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer, the Mayor of Bedford Borough Dave Hodgson, Chief Executive of Bedford Borough Council Philip Simpkins and Chief Executive of the Harpur Trust David Russell.


Dave Hodgson, Mayor of Bedford Borough, said: "It was a fantastic day, and the efforts of the large number of children involved across all aspects of the event were hugely impressive. In particular, some of the engineering talent on display was remarkable and bodes well for the future! Congratulations to all of the schools involved, and thanks to Jonathan Palmer and MotorSport Vision for giving the children the opportunity to take part in such a unique, unforgettable event."


MSV Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer added: “The third Bedford Autodrome Schools’ Grand Prix was a great success.  The quality of the cars had definitely increased still further as school teams learnt from their previous experiences to refine their latest machines.  It was wonderful to see such infectious enthusiasm from all the pupils – and teachers! - taking part. The event is the culmination of months of hard work and Bedford High School for Girls were very worthy winners, with clearly the fastest and most reliable car. It was lovely to have both Philip Simpkins, Chief Executive of Bedford Borough Council and Dave Hodgson, Mayor of Bedford Borough, witness the outstanding achievements of local pupils and present the awards. Congratulations to everyone that took part and after such a successful event I am delighted to confirm that MSV is looking forward to hosting the Bedford Autodrome Schools’ Grand Prix again in 2013, when we are confident of even more entries.”


A film crew from Newsround also attended the event, ensuring national coverage for the race which will be broadcast in the days preceding the British Formula One Grand Prix at Silverstone in July.


2012 Bedford Autodrome Schools' Grand Prix Race result

  1. High Voltage (Bedford High School for Girls), 100 laps
  2. The Griffins (Mark Rutherford Upper School), +13 laps
  3. Inferno (Mark Rutherford Upper School), +14 laps
  4. More Racing Team 1 (St Thomas More Catholic Upper School), +18 laps
  5. More Racing Team 2 (St Thomas More Catholic Upper School), +22 laps
  6. Team BGS (Bedford Girls’ School), +27 laps
  7. Redborne Racing (Redborne Upper School and Community College), +28 laps
  8. Academy Aces (Bedford Academy), +30 laps
  9. BUS Drivers 1 (Biddenham International School), +34 laps
  10. Sparks (Bedford High School for Girls), +49 laps
  11. Red Eagle Racing (Bedford Modern School), +51 laps


Additional awards

Fastest Lap Award: High Voltage, Bedford High School for Girls
Most Reliable Car: High Voltage, Bedford High School for Girls
Most Interesting Technology: Redborne Racing (Redborne Upper School and Community College
Best Pit Stop: St Thomas More Catholic Upper School
Best Looking Car: The Griffins, Mark Rutherford
Best Presented Crew: Biddenham International School
Best Publicity: Bedford Modern School
Best Hospitality Catering: Bedford Girls’ School
Best Commentators: Bedford Academy


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