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Kartelle triumph at Girl Kart Grand Prix

by Fiona on April 13, 2016

12 April 2016

South east London team Kartelle has triumphed at London’s first ever Girl Kart Grand Prix. 

Once dubbed ‘the fastest woman in the world’, (ex)racing driver Susie Wolff was on hand on Friday to inspire future female racing drivers, automotive designers and engineers testing their skills at London’s first ever GIRL Kart Grand Prix.

Ms Wolff handed the top prize to a delighted south east London team 'Kartelle', who left the rest of the field behind with their kart, built from scratch in just three hours.

Ms Wolff was very impressed by the karts and their creators. “I started racing when I was eight and this is where it all starts, making basic structures like this,” she said. “I want to make it easier for girls to be inspired and have opportunities like this; that is also what my Dare to be Different campaign is all about.”

Some 13 teams of young women and girls from across the capital battled it out at Mudchute Farm on Friday to build old-school go karts and race them against each other.

Challenges

As the clock ticked relentlessly on it looked like some teams wouldn’t make it! But when the whistle blew to mark the end of four hours’ furious construction, all 13 karts were deemed fit to race and some were even beautiful too.And race they did! The heats featured some nail-biting finishes, a few rather ‘scenic routes’ as the steering proved more challenging than expected, and the total demolition of one kart!

But in the end it was south east London's Kartelle team that emerged triumphant as overall winners. They will get to experience some serious horsepower thanks to the Henry Surtees Foundation, which has donated a prize trip to Kent’s Buckmore Park Kart Circuit, where Formula One stars Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button started out.  “This is like a dream,” said Olivia, from the winning team. “I can't wait to go to Buckmore Park and race on the track there!'

There were also prizes for teamwork and best dressed go kart, which went to The Talacre Superstar Creatures (of Camden’s Talacre Play Centre) and HM Go Jetters 3000 from Hackney Marsh Adventure Playground.

Volunteers

Corporate volunteers, many from businesses located at the nearby Canary Wharf, helped the day run smoothly and had a brilliant time too. Bank of America Merrill Lynch, JLL, Knight Frank, Cass Business School and the Canary Wharf Group all sent volunteers along. Kayleigh from JLL said:  “I've been helping the Lollard Street team. It’s amazing to see the girls doing something new and being proud of what they can achieve.”

Kartelle team leader Rachel said: “One of our team, Teniola, had never used a saw before today. Her determination was incredible and she ended up making the main seat of the kart in the end!'”

London Play chair Melian Mansfield commented: “It is fantastic to see young women and girls taking the lead and unleashing their practical, technical and creative talents – as well as their inner speed demons! It’s exciting to think that some of these girls might go on to think about a career in engineering.

Most children today unfortunately get few opportunities to manipulate materials, use tools or create tangible objects like the amazing variety of karts we have seen conjured up from piles of wood and bits in such a short space of time today. It’s amazing the transformation that takes place – not just in the karts but in the participants themselves – and seeing the girls leave here thinking anything is possible. We are also very grateful to the Manufacturing Technologies Association, Susie Wolff and her Dare to be Different and all our corporate volunteers for making this fantastic day possible.”

August mixed event

The great news for those that missed out this time is that there is another event coming up in August – this time for both girls and boys – also at Mudchute Farm. Anyone interested in joining the fun can email info@londonplay.org.uk for more information.
 


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