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Mark Rutherford Upper School wins inaugural Bedford Autodrome Schools' Grand Prix

Sunday, May 09 2010

Mark Rutherford Upper School has won the inaugural Bedford Autodrome Schools' Grand Prix after completing 143 laps of the specially-designed Thurleigh circuit.

'Rutherford Racing' clinched a commanding victory after leading the event from start to finish, demonstrating smooth driver changeovers and quick battery changes during the race and covering 78 miles between the team of six drivers.

Their dominant performance not only secured the overall race win, but also prizes for most interesting technology and fastest lap - the latter of which was presented by Mayor of Bedford and former Mark Rutherford pupil, Dave Hodgson.

Rushmoor School scored a convincing second place, challenging the winning team throughout the race to finish just five laps adrift following four hours of racing. The team also won a trophy for the best website on their electric car project.

The battle for third lasted throughout the race, with the position changing hands several times. Biddenham Upper School held the final podium place during the opening stages, until they were succeeded by Wootton Upper School after an hour's racing.

However, late battery issues for Wootton - including a stoppage on track when they ran out of power - dropped the team down the order, meaning St Thomas More Catholic Upper School was able to snatch third position.

St Thomas More also provided one of the most dramatic on-track moments of the endurance race, when one driver misjudged the chicane and knocked several cones onto the track. This, however, did not ultimately halt their impressive podium charge or damage the paintwork; they picked up a prize for the best looking car.

Biddenham Upper School recovered from problems with a slipping chain to secure fourth position on 110 laps, whilst Wootton Upper School ultimately finished in fifth place having completed 102 laps and took away the award for best pit stop.

There were several technical challenges for the pupils to overcome during the four hour race and sixth place Dame Alice Harpur struggled during the middle part of the race with battery issues.

Mechanical malfunctions also troubled Bedford High School for Girls, who lost around 15 minutes when they were forced to strip the bodywork from their 'High Voltage' car and address some braking problems.

John Bunyan School suffered setbacks right from the start as they encountered steering issues at the beginning of the race. However, the team persisted with repairs and managed to make up good ground as the race progressed, completing 91 laps in total. The school was also awarded prizes for the best presented crew and most publicised team.

There were plenty of technical woes for Sharnbrook Upper School, who struggled with an overheating motor during the race. The team never gave up, though, and crossed the line to a heroic cheer from the large group of spectators, giving the inaugural Bedford Schools' Grand Prix a one hundred percent reliability record.

Bedford Autodrome Schools' Grand Prix result:
1. Mark Rutherford Upper School, 143 laps
2. Rushmoor School, 136
3. St Thomas More Catholic Upper School, 123
4. Biddenham Upper School, 115
5. Wootton Upper School, 107
6. Bedford High School for Girls, 103
7. Dame Alice Harpur School, 102
8. John Bunyan School, 95
9. Sharnbrook Upper School, 62

Click on the link below for more information on the Bedford Autodrome Schools' Grand Prix.