Race for the Line

Pupils reach national finals of Bloodhound Race for the Line Competition

Year 7 pupils have reached the National Finals of an exciting STEM competition entitled Race for the Line which has been pioneered and sponsored by the Bloodhound Project.

The Bloodhound Project is a global Engineering Adventure using a 1000mph World Land Speed Record attempt to inspire the next generation to enjoy, explore and get involved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The 135,000 HP British supersonic land vehicle, Bloodhound SSC, is being developed to beat this record and Mike Ford, Bloodhound SSC engineer and TEDx speaker, visited the Royal Hospital School earlier this year to launch the competition. Pupils enjoyed hearing about the science behind going supersonic and what kind of design and engineering challenges they face.

The Bloodhound Education Programme involves visits to schools, activities at the Bloodhound technical centre and free online science and technology resources but the highlight is Race for the Line, a national rocket car build and race championship.

Mark Edmondson, Physics Teacher and project leader at the Royal Hospital School, described the stages of the competition:

"In April, our Year 7 pupils sculpted, sanded and streamlined blue blocks of foam into what they hoped would be a qualifying rocket car. Teams lined up in eager anticipation as each car was raced dramatically in a cloud of smoke and shower of sparks through a timing gate. The fastest three teams would then advance to the regional stage competing against other schools from across East Anglia.

At the regionals, held at the Royal Hospital School, pupils had to make a new car using what they had learnt from previous tests and research, desperately trying to obtain marginal gains through mass reduction and aerodynamics. Once again teams took to the tarmac to test their machines against the clock. Our pupils made a clean sweep of the competition and took the top three positions crediting their success to "wheel calibration" but not fully revealing their engineering secret! The top two teams were invited to compete at the National Finals at RAF Wittering on the 28 June.

The racing, watched by HRH Sophie the Countess of Wessex, was exhilarating with the first place car reaching an amazing speed of 66mph. The fastest Royal Hospital School team came in only 0.006 seconds slower in ninth place very closely followed by our second car in tenth place. The teams' performances were excellent throughout the competition involving around 80,000 children. They now cannot wait to pass on their wisdom to the next cohort of Year 7, to give them every chance of success".

The finals also involved a full day of STEM activities organised by the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force and pupils were able to see first-hand how STEM is involved across a wide array of careers. There was the opportunity to climb aboard aircraft on the ground and flying displays by a Spitfire, Typhoon and the Red Arrows who performed a fitting finale to the competition.

From September 2018, the Royal Hospital School will be named a STEM Hub for the Race for the Line competition providing training and accreditation sessions for maintained schools across the region.

For more information: http://www.bloodhoundssc.com/