Uckfield firm’s car park becomes Grand Prix track


MORE than 2,500 students, teachers, families and friends turned up at TR Fastenings, Uckfield on Sunday, July 15 for the ninth running of the Primary School Kit Car Grand Prix.

Organised by Uckfield Community Technology College and supported by Uckfield Rotary Club, the Grand Prix pitted 19 teams of year six primary school children against each other in an authentic motor-racing style event complete with marshals, safety tyre-walls, pits and balaclavas.

UCTC spokesman Geoff Evans said: “When we became a technology college, we decided this was a good way to involve both our own students and primary school youngsters in practical and testing projects. Initially the cars were provided, but since then the race has grown and many schools taking part ‘personalise’ their cars and win local sponsorship. Our advanced skills teacher Rory O’Connor supports all the schools involved, visiting most when he can. One school screened its ‘pit’ with a sheet and a ‘tunnel’ - inside was the car decked out in the shape of a black rat. This is a perfect way to introduce elements of technology that have a specific purpose. We are very lucky that TR Fastenings have allowed us to use their car park since the beginning.”

The ‘green,’ battery-powered kit cars race at speeds of up to 15mph.

Geoff explained: “That’s quite fast when you just about 11 and sitting pretty close to the ground. Each year more and more schools take part. Some have been in there from the beginning but there are new ones too. For example Cross in Hand Primary School only took part for the first time this year and came fourth. Well done them.”

The massive job of co-ordinating and organising the race from initial planning to raceday itself is the responsibility of Rory O’Connor, UCTC’s advanced skills teacher. He supports the primary schools taking part and visits most of them during the course of the year.

Marshals used Grand Prix style yellow flags to stop the race at one point after a competitor hit the tyre wall. It was re-started safely. Overall winners were Nutley Primary School who celebrated in the traditional racing way, with Holy Cross School, second and Rocks Park School, third.

The race is part of the Uckfield Festival Trophies were awarded by Peter Tutt, Uckfield Rotary president.