Boxcar Rally 2022
The Rivers Boxcar Rally, at the legendary Shelsley Walsh hill climb was one of the most spectacular events of the school calendar.
On Tuesday 12th July 2022, Year 6 children from 12 schools in The Rivers CofE Academy Trust joined together to showcase their engineering, design and driving skills and compete to see whose boxcar was the best.
As the schools set up in the pit stations, there was a buzz of excitement across the Shelsley Walsh paddock. One child from Cranham Primary School commenting “This is going to be fun. I’m looking forward to this”. Children could be seen eyeing up the competition, trying to guess which car was going to perform the best and which team had the best theme.
18 teams produced a boxcar to race on the day. Each team had been split into smaller groups to focus on mechanism, structure and costume, with one group responsible for food tech, ensuring the groups were fed. Boxcar themes ranged from Pirates and Jurassic Park to Hogwarts and Space, with all pupils from Heronswood Primary and Pre School in Kidderminster, dressing in wartime attire. They even had Winston Churchill preparing ration inspired team lunches.
The day began with Stephen Crake and Sam Sergeant, engineering representatives from Worcester Bosch checking the breaks, structure and mechanism of each car to see if it was fit to compete.
Both had experience of making karts when they were younger and explained that kart making is one of the challenges at Worcester Bosch team development days.
Stephen and Sam were impressed by the standard of the cars, stating “they were all fantastic”, with their early favourite being Northwick Manor’s ‘Back to the Future’ car due to the more complicated mechanism.
Sam and Stephen ended up staying to watch the driving challenges in the afternoon. Sam commented “We have had a cracking day. We were only supposed to stay until 12 but it has been fantastic”.
Before the pupils were let loose on the Boxcar Rally track, Rivers CEO Mrs Kate Brunt, gave the course a test run! It was hilarious and set the tone for the day, full of humour, fearlessness and gusto.
After a safety briefing, the first set of drivers took to the track for a steering challenge to see if they could complete the course without hitting any cones.
The final challenge was to control the boxcar down the hill and stop in the grid at the end.
With many of the top-heavy boxcars toppling over during the steering and accuracy challenge, event organiser and Head at North Worcester Primary Academy Mrs Calvert said “I think we have learnt a few lessons for next year - lower and wider…repeat after me... lower and wider”
The crowd of children were very supportive of each other, cheering and encouraging every driver who came down the track.
The aim of the trust-wide boxcar rally was to bring children together in a fun way and let them take responsibility for running a project.
The event gave pupils the opportunity to revisit, explore and purposefully apply what they have learnt in design and technology over the last six years.
Children have gained valuable skills such as team building, meeting deadlines and managing their own responsibilities.
The judges had the difficult task of scoring the teams based on mechanism, structure, costume, food and performance in the races.
Overall winners on the day were Heronswood team 1 with their World War 2 themed boxcar.
Great Witley CE Primary School came 2nd with their golden snitch and Hogwarts themed car.
Burlish Park Primary School team 2 came 3rd with their space theme boxcar.
As the last big event on the school calendar, the year 6 boxcar rally will be a lasting memory of their time at primary school.
Mrs Waldron, Cutnall Green CofE Primary School “Our children thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, and it was an amazing atmosphere”.
Shelley Walsh have already agreed to let us use the venue again next year.
Kerry Rochester Director of Education “It was great to see the pupils enjoying themselves. If this was the first, I can't wait to see what they will achieve next year!”
We would like to thank The Ogden Trust for helping to fund the event, Shelsley Walsh for supplying the venue and volunteers, Hayfisher Productions for filming the event and Worcester Bosch for their expertise and judging.