British 24hr Pedal Car Championships Report

Our 2nd attempt at the pedal car champs ended with us just missing out on a podium for the 2nd consecutive year, but what a great time we had.  Pedal car racing is brilliant fun but also tremendously competitive and you need a combination of a strong team and some good fortune as well.  This year we didn’t flip the car but we had plenty of spins, some off track excursions and mechanicals, but so did every team and after 24 hours of racing we were less than 2 miles behind 3rd place after way over 400 miles racing.


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Here are the thoughts of a few of our drivers:

Dave Powell: Feeling all four wheels start to drift across the tarmac, inches away from a slightly scared looking Scout, sat in his fibre glass coffin with very little control over where his lurching steering would take him next, a grin spread across my face. It may have been a year since I last crammed myself in a pedal car, but it took all of 30 seconds on my first lap to remember what it was all about. Full gas. Flat out on the racing line, scuffing the kerbs and seeking out the tiniest of gaps in traffic, threading the ‘car through them without easing up, even for a second. Squirming under power through the complex, down the straight, listen out for the Team JMC collective cheers racing past the pits (every lap!). Repeat. And then, once tiredness begins to set in after half an hour or so, into the pits, leap (stumble…) out and take up residence in a camping chair in the gazebo, refuelling and cheering the next lucky team racer on. Do that nine times and you’ve got yourself a 24 hour race. (No, really, do that. It’s ace.)

Jacqui Simcock: My first initiation into the pedal car was the adaptation of an immovable seat designed for a 6 foot male into that appropriate for a 5 foot female, cue lots and lots of padding. It took a few circuits to eventually get a set up where I wasn’t completely crippled. Having not even done much carting my cornering was definitely not optimised by which I mean I crawled around also. However practice makes perfect. Slowly as the race unfolded over the sunny day into the more cool comfortable night I began to get the hang of it. Wide then back in for the corners, drop gears for the last ‘climb’ and push through to the far turn, I got there in the end. Pedaling in multiple loops around a very short circuit on a couple of metal bars with wheels and a fibre glass body is actually a lot of fun.

Jamie Willetts: Pedal cars! When the email dropped I thought, why not! Having my first go in the dark was eye opening to the speed potential of the car, and just how tight you can corner – it all seemed so easy. With doing 30 minute intervals with recovery the first few stints seemed ‘easy’. The 3 stints after midnight hurt progressively more and I was looking forwards to getting some sleep – knowing I only had one more to do in the morning. Waking up to being told that I would need to do more stints if were to close on 3rd place bizarrely left me buzzing (could also have been all the coffee Angela fed me through the night). With a tight battle for 3rd on the cards I went all out for the first stint with no dramas, gaining a couple of laps. The final stint didn’t go to plan, managing to drop the chain twice meant the lap I had gained on 3rd was instantly wiped out.  It was great fun, and I learnt a lot over the first few stints about carrying the speed through the track. I’m up for another go!

Rich Seipp: 24hr racing with a bit of sleep in a team of six. That’ll be easy eh? 30 minutes after I set off on my turn I realise that this might not be the case. Midday on Sunday I rolled over the line absolutely battered. See you next year.

All of us are incredibly grateful for all the help, assistance and warm welcome we received from all the other competitors.  In particular we would like to thank Jes Featherstone for putting together an awesome pedal car for us and giving it a fantastic paint job.  We really are very grateful Jes!

And finally we will be back next year with at least 2 teams chasing that elusive podium.  Fancy taking us on and giving pedal car racing a go?  You really should.  It is so bloody addictive.  If you don’t fancy a 24hr race there are lots of other options, visit the Pedal Car Racing website for more info.