Murray Bridge 24hr
Over the weekend of the 23rd – 25th of September, Norwood International High School’s Pedal Prix Racing Team took to the track at Sturt Reserve in Murray Bridge. It had been three years since the event had been able to take place, and our school was represented by 45 riders across 5 teams, being the largest program to take part in the event.
The 3-day event included a Friday night “qualifying” style event to post each team's fastest possible lap. The faster the lap, the higher up the grid the team placed for Saturday morning. With some rain hanging around and a wet track, we were lucky to get all trikes on the track and post some quick times. We managed to start in the following grid positions:
Spurls (top 12 shootout)
XP8 – 29
Focus – 45
Astro – 76
Protege – 82
A highlight was seeing Summer from Spurls, our senior all-female team, post the fastest lap in her category and edge her way into the top 12 shootout. She went on to win the following morning, taking out the school all-female shootout champion.
As the teams rose on Saturday morning, the fog lifted, and the atmosphere began to build. A team of parents and supporters were busy cooking and catering for our group of 100 strong members, and students had our Trump Trikes pulled apart for a deep clean and service before the race started. Individual team meetings occurred, allowing rider orders to be set, (limited) sleeping schedules created, and team goals discussed. After a few inspirational words as a whole group, the students were guided around a track walk with old scholar (and current speedy superstar from Gtrikes) Darcy Strudwick and Noah Piggin, gaining an understanding of the best line for each style of rider to take.
The race start neared, with teams making their way to the grid as the field of nearly 150 trikes took to the track. A buzz of excitement filled the air as the trikes took off for the rolling lap, and at 12:00, noon, the 24-hours of racing began.
Our teams soon settled into their rhythms, with rider changes occurring every 30-90-minutes depending on the teams. Supporters lined the barriers, and communication through “pit boards” to keep the riders in the know. Riders soon began the repetitive process of eating, riding, recovering, and sleeping. Our team of supporters were busy in the kitchen ensuring no rider or NIHS team member went hungry. A plentiful supply of wraps, pasta, BBQ meat, cakes, and fruit continued to roll out of the tents late into the evening.
With the sun setting, the riders prepared themselves for the new challenge of night racing on the tricky 1.7 km circuit, with 150 other vehicles. A few bumps and scrapes saw each bike roll over, but with no major mechanical issues, our teams kept pushing on to the halfway mark at midnight. 12-hours in and all our teams were in the top 90 on track, with Spurls out to a 10-lap lead over their nearest rival in Senior School, all-female team, XP8, was locked in a close battle with Bunyip for 3rd place, Focus had settled in the top 15 in their category, Astro was pushing up the order and comfortably in the top 5, with Protégé riding hard, keeping in touch with the top 15 in their category.
As the temperature continued to fall well below 5-degrees, but feeling closer to zero, the students continued to overcome the next challenges. With some minor fogging issues and battery changes as tail lights faded, a few set back were able to be worked through and the teams continued to push through with no major mechanical issues. Bodies became more tired, and energy levels began to drop, but there was no stopping the drive and determination of the students and their now highly caffeinated tea managers! The sun rose, temperatures slowly began to climb and it brought new energy to the group as the riders could see the finish line in sight. Our team's speed kept on building over the last four hours of the event, with two teams getting their fastest lap in the last 30-minutes. As the minutes ticked down towards 12 noon, a tunnel of spectators grew, lining each side of the track, their cheers, drumming on barriers, and voices all rose. The last lap board was shown, and the teams had one final push for the line, before taking the chequered flag and completing the ultimate endurance test of 24-hours of Pedal Prix racing.
Our teams managed to complete 2368 laps, being over 4050km altogether in 24-hours.
Spurls – 1st in Category (Senior School – All Female), 1st in the UniSA Australian HPV Super Series, and taking out fastest lap with an average of 45.9km/h – 464 laps completed.
Team XP8 – 4th in Category (Senior School), 4th in the UniSA Australian HPV Super Series (by 1 point).
Team Focus – 13th in Category (Senior School), 8th in the UniSA Australian HPV Super Series.
Team Astro – 4th in Category (Middle School), 2nd in the UniSA Australian HPV Super Series.
Team Protégé – 15th in Category (Middle School), 10th in the UniSA Australian HPV Super Series.
An outstanding result from the race and the season for all of our team, the largest and the most successful combined performance by Norwood in over two decades. A massive congratulations to our Senior School All-Female Team – Spurls, who clean-swept the season, the race, and the results sheet. Huge congratulations to all their riders, and their ultra-committed Team Manager, Jo Hess. They are our National Champions!
A big thank you and farewell to our Year 12s who have ridden, shown great leadership, and stuck with the program over the last 5 years, through multiple postponements and cancellations.
A massive thank you to our NIHS staff, Jo and Kimberly for their help and assistance with trike training, logistics, and coordination throughout the year. To our fitness and conditioning coaches, Mitch Coles and Chris Olsson, who worked with our junior riders to build their strength, stamina, and endurance (the results show the massive difference). To Brenton Terrell for his assistance at the event and to Anne-Marie for all her work supporting the back-end administration of the program.
Our parents and supporters are the best and it is all their work as Team Managers, Caterers, Logistics, First Aiders, Photographers (content creators), and Mechanics which sees the whole show come together. A big thank you to Jason Evans Wood and Colin Sweeny for their lead roles in feeding our teams, and to Matthew Brinkley (Protégé), Phil Duncan and Ben Cox (Astro), David Watts and Troy Flower (XP8) for managing each team.
We could not run the program at Norwood International High School without some tremendous support from local SA businesses.
Trump Trikes and Trump Trailers provide us with the best trikes and trike transport in the business.
Blackchrome Cycling with our uniforms and race kits.
Also thank you to, all of our catering providers who donated or discounted all items!!
Tony and Marks - Newton
Drakes Foodland – Newton