In recent years Pembroke School has come to be known as one of the most competitive schools in the human-powered vehicle (HPV) racing circuit Australia-wide. 2018, which saw some changes to our events calendar with the introduction of the Busselton, WA, race in August, was no different.
Our season began way back in August last year when we took two teams on the long drive down to Mt Gambier for the 8-hour MacNamara Park HPV. This was followed by two 6-hour events at Victoria Park in June and July where Pembroke entered five teams, and then by the Busselton event as mentioned already in August. The season came to a conclusion just recently when we ventured up to Murray Bridge for the 33rd Australian International Pedal Prix event.
Of the 206 teams who took part in the grand finale of the year, Pembroke School was strongly represented with a Junior Secondary Boys team, a Junior Secondary All-Female team and a Senior Secondary Mixed team. September has become a very busy time in the School year and the weekend of Pedal Prix was no different—many key riders were missing due to participation in the School German Trip, the School Musical and even a couple that were taking part in the Australian Junior Cycling Championships in Bunbury, WA. As a group we had to make some decisions on who would fill the gaps left by the students that were unavailable for team selection. Little did we need to worry because, as usual at Pembroke, our students stepped up and did an outstanding job.
The Murray Bridge event started on Friday 21 September with last-minute packing and a 1-hour drive up the freeway, followed by a full day of unloading, setting up our pits, running our vehicles through scrutineering and, finally, taking part in the practice and qualifying session that was held late on Friday afternoon. We were successful in gaining excellent grid positions and even had Sarah W (Yr 10) in the Junior Secondary All-Female Division achieve the fastest lap for that category.
Saturday morning arrived and we had to undertake last-minute checks and preparation for the punishing 24 hours of riding that the vehicles and riders would endure. By 11.30 am we were lined up on the grid and at 12 noon the vehicles were waved away for the commencement of the event.
Pembroke certainly had its fair share of racing incidents and the vehicles were looking a little sad and sorry as the sun set at Sturt Reserve, signalling the necessity to turn on the vehicle lights and settle in for what would be a long night. We had minimal dramas through the night and it quickly became evident that our fitness and vehicle handling ability were coming into their own, with two of the Pembroke vehicles slowly but surely increasing their lead over the opposition.
Racing continued through to 12 noon on Saturday, at which time we had achieved the remarkable. Even with our Junior Secondary team being slightly down on power and our relatively new All-Female team, we still achieved incredible results. We walked away from the event with strengthened friendships, a sense of serious achievement and, on an individual level, many personal bests. We also managed to achieve many accolades including two 24-hour endurance wins (Junior Boys and Junior Girls), a fastest-ever All-Female lap, and two AIPP Super Series wins for the year of racing, as well as breaking the distance records for the Junior Secondary Division (918 km) and the Junior All-Female Division (834 km).
Preparation is already underway for our 2019 campaign, where we hope to be even stronger and faster. I would like to thank all the staff and parents for their wonderful support before and during the Murray Bridge event—without this support the teams would really struggle.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge our sponsors for the season. These include EBS Restorations, Consolidated Landscaping, Brand Partners, Foodland Norwood and Cucina Foods. These in-kind and monetary sponsorships certainly allowed us to run a smoother and more competitive campaign.
Pedal Prix Coordinator