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Media Release

July 23 2010

Experience the racing

UniSA students take on the HPV Super SeriesIt is one of the most hotly contested racing events on the SA calendar. No, it’s not the V8 supercars and not the Tour Down Under - it is the UniSA Australian HPV Super Series or Pedal Prix and this season the competition for line honours will be hotter than ever.

The UniSA-sponsored event involves more than 500 teams of school students each year from upper primary right through to senior high school and independent teams passionate about excellence in the development of human-powered vehicle technology.

And in an ongoing bid to be fully engaged in the event and provide opportunities for university and high school students to learn and collaborate, the University has established its own team which will be racing in the open category this Sunday at Victoria Park Raceway.

New manager for the UniSA team and student of the associate degree in engineering at the University, Michelle Bailey says the event offers some fabulous hands-on learning opportunities for both university and school students.

“I am new to the job, so this year our team is getting some invaluable mentoring from the Loreto College team who are ‘old-timers’ at the Pedal Prix,” Bailey says.

“Next year we hope to reciprocate by making our engineering students available to support the Loreto students in their efforts.

“This is what Pedal Prix is all about – sharing knowledge – not only about the science and engineering but also about what it takes to get a team working well in this event – the logistics, the specifications and rules, and building the team work to make a good effort.”

Bailey says the UniSA Australian HPV Super Series is a wonderful way for students to get the kind of experiential learning that will hold them in good stead in the future. A qualified Fitter, Turner and Toolmaker, Bailey has returned to university to complete a full degree in engineering with the ambition to work in manufacturing and design.

“I have experience in the workplace, so that is helping me to bring some structure to the team which comprises seven members drawn from across the entire uni – they are not all engineering students,” she says.

“Most of the team - as members of the UniSA Cycling Club - have some staying power on the pedals though. I hope that will help our performance.”

And UniSA students are working across the event to benefit from the experiential learning opportunities it provides.

Third year sport and recreation management student Rachel Staffin and someone with a long association with the event, is undertaking her practical placement with Pedal Prix. Her involvement will be credited as part of her degree studies.

“I was involved as a racer for five years during High School and then for three years working in the pits,” Staffin says.
“Undertaking my work placement at the event is both familiar and completely new. I’m seeing the Pedal Prix from the other side and gaining a very real appreciation of all of the planning and preparation that goes on behind the scenes to make it happen.

“On placement we get to play a role in organising the event which means we can put theory into practice and we can make some invaluable industry connections. I’m starting to appreciate just how much work goes into running this event, how vital it is to work with industry providers very closely and to ask questions, so that we can be sure we run an event that’s safe for everyone.”

Each year more than 35,000 spectators attend trackside events at Victoria Park raceway and in Murray Bridge where the 24-hour season final endurance race is held in September.

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