100mph rocket cars in pole position for Shropshire pupils - video and pictures

The model cars most of us had when we were 11 years old did not tend to travel faster than our parents’ family car on a motorway.

But a group of Shropshire youngsters have been inspired by science to craft rocket-powered models that go faster than 100mph.

The cars were tested at Bishop’s Castle Community College, as part of a competition linked to the Bloodhound supersonic car project.

The Bloodhound team, headed by former land speed record holder Richard Noble, are aiming to break the record again in 2018, and were at Telford College of Arts and Technology last week for a week of workshops and events.

Andrew Kirk, head of science at Bishop’s Castle Community College, said the rocket car testing day in the rural south Shropshire school was, however, the only one was held in Shropshire for the Bloodhound project’s school outreach programme.

He said student rocketeers from the Community College and Norbury Primary School took part in the day.

“Twelve model cars took part reaching speeds of over 100mph,” he said.

“The winners were David Tomkins and Alex Owen, aged 11 and 12, whose design reached 120.795mph and will be entered for the next round of the competition.”

The school is a Shropshire “hub” for the rocket car competition, he said, so it should mean the pair will be entered into the regional finals, though that was yet to be confirmed.

“Ultimately the national winner will go down to South Africa to see the Bloodhound make its attempt,” he aid. The supersonic car is hoping to smash the 1,000mph speed barrier with its Rolls-Royce jet engine, and is the product of eight years of research, design and manufacturing, involving over 350 companies and universities.

“The project has a huge educational outreach with the rocket car competition run yearly as part of it. Mr Kirk said next year the Community College hoped to involve more Shropshire schools in the competition, as many had dropped out this year for one reason or another. But he said said such extra-curricular projects were a key part of pupil’s learning, even if they did not directly go towards any exam.

He said: “These are the things you remember afterwards. As a general thing at the Community College we’re trying to increase students’ exposure to engineering or anything to do with science, technology, engineering or maths-based careers.

“It was a really good, hands on, fun thing that got them thinking about aerodynamics and Newtonian physics, that kind of thing. The event was lead by Staff Sergeant Mickey Bushell of ACC Shrewsbury, whose team fired the rockets. He was really good, he made it into a real event.

“The Army are used by the Bloodhound people, their role is promotion and their experience in handling the pyrotechnics – and again it give the pupils an idea about possible careers,”

He said the college had also worked with Shropshire Council infrastructure contractor Mouchel and Jaguar Land Rover on projects to inspire future engineers.

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