The 31st running of the Australian International Pedal Prix, a competition where teams race human powered vehicles (HPVs) on closed controlled circuits, was held this year.
Pembroke School entered teams in races at Mount Gambier, Loxton, Victoria Park (two events), and the recent season finale competition at Murray Bridge on 24 and 25 September. 2016 marks the 20th running of the 24-hour event, regarded as Australia’s premier HPV endurance race, at this site. This year the track was shortened to a 1.7-km circuit on the banks of the River Murray, where 206 teams, 3,200 competitors and thousands of spectators swelled the population of Murray Bridge for a few days.
The Murray Bridge weekend is quite unlike any other in the HPV Super Series. With racing from noon on Saturday for 24 hours, the logistics of building pits, feeding 40 students plus teachers and parents, and racing right through the night means that every aspect of racing at Pedal Prix is raised to a higher level. Pembroke entered four teams, which assembled at the School on Friday morning before the convoy of trailers, generators, HPVs, cars, a school bus and a truckload of gear headed for Sturt Reserve, Murray Bridge.
With the pits and tents set up, there was time for vehicle scrutineering, walking the track and practice on Friday afternoon and evening. Saturday morning kicked off with the breakfast of champions—eggs and bacon combined with various Paris Creek yoghurts and milks, followed by a Top 16 shootout.
Weeks of vehicle and rider preparation paid dividends, with the Pembroke trikes on grid positions 4, 5, 16 and 37 out of the 206 vehicles. With racing underway, the various systems gradually settled into a rhythm of rider changes; tyre, windscreen and battery changes; meal preparation; warming up and cooling down; sleeping and waking; marshalling; socialising and team building.
After rain on Saturday and a cold night, Sunday dawned fine without the fog that often descends on the event. As the vehicles continued to lap the circuit every 2–3 minutes, the riders slowly but surely emerged from their slumbers to tell stories of their rides and rollovers at various times throughout the night.
The final placings at Murray Bridge were:
‘Eric’ 15th outright and 2nd in Category 3 (senior secondary)
‘Boris’ 16th outright and 1st in Category 2 (junior secondary)
‘The Devil Wears Cleats’ 30th outright, 7th in Category 3 and highest placed all-girls team in Category 3
‘Frank’ 50th outright and 13th in Category 3.
Many thanks to our sponsors—BD Farm Paris Creek, Cucina Foods, Trump Trikes; staff members Jason Lentakis, Julia Switala, Martyn Chambers and Jared Wallis; and the many parents and old scholars who assisted with catering, marshalling, transport, and pit assembly / packing up. Also a big thank you to Simon Arum and Jason Nottle from Trump Trikes, who supported us between and at all events during the 2016 season.
Awards were also presented post-race at Murray Bridge for the Series, with the races at Loxton, Victoria Park and Murray Bridge counting for points.
The final placings for the Series were:
‘Eric’ 1st in Category 3
‘Boris’ 1st in Category 2
‘The Devil Wears Cleats’ highest placed all-girls team in Category 3.
Again, in 2016, Pembroke School was a dominant force at Pedal Prix!
2016 Pedal Prix teams