Skip to content
Recruiting now.Explore navy careers

Devonport hosts regional Race for the Line

10 April 2019
Students representing six Plymouth secondary schools, from across the city came together for an engineering challenge at HM Naval Base Devonport, in the ‘Race for the Line’ competition.

Hosted by the major Landing Craft Engineering facilities at Devonport, 1 Assault Group Royal Marines, gave over one of their maintenance hangers for the competitors to build their Rocket Powered cars.

“This is the South West final for the National ‘Race for the Line’ STEM event,” said Richard Newsome, Commercial Director of the Learning Partnership. 

“It’s a prestigious competition, involving year seven students from over 400 school across the country, these schools today embody the best of the South West.

Students get a chance to engage with engineers as well as get a hands-on experience by solving engineering problems

Richard Newsome

“Three teams will go forward to the National finals at the Imperial War Museum site at Duxford and compete against the other regions.

The winning team isn’t just the fastest, they are judged on their designs, artistic application on their cars and those students who have shown many STEM skills.

They are supported by a whole host or activities from across the armed forces and the business world, where a lot of companies are becoming interested in how the STEM gap in the UK is being addressed.”

The competition is intended to inspire the engineers and scientists of tomorrow. Between 70 – 80,000 students are involved nationally.

The rocket cars, designed and built by the are made from foam and projected along a wire by a small rocket propellant.

The three fastest cars on the 15m track were declared the winners and progressed to the national finals at Duxford.

“Students get a chance to engage with engineers as well as get a hands-on experience by solving engineering problems,” continued Richard.

“It’s a great opportunity to practice what they’re learning and look at practical engineering in a work place environment like the Dockyard.

“Working here alongside Hovercraft and attack boats is a wonderful experience for them.”

Presenting prizes and praising the level of enthusiasm, imagination and energy of the students was Devonport Flotilla’s Senior Commander Engineer, Commander Mark Jones.

“It’s with huge pride that I’m here today. Some of your cars have made fast times, some have just about made it and some have got nowhere near the line.

You are the best in this region, so leave here today with real pride in what you’ve achieved and similarly make sure you thank all those teachers behind you for their time and effort.”

“It was actually quite good fun building and racing our car,” said Katie Wilkinson (12) from Sir John Hunt Community Sports College.

“I think we did pretty well, there were some faster cars. We made ours lighter and put a tail fin on it to guide it on a straighter course.”

“It was scary being the first team to fire off their car,” said Geronimo Connatty (11) of Lipson Co-operative Academy.

“Our car performed as best as we could have hoped, it was a little bit of a shame that it was so windy though, we’re were probably a bit slower than we’d liked. I’m not especially bothered that didn’t win, it’s been really cool just taking part and competing all together.”

Related articles

Navy News Magazine

We bring you the latest news, features and award-winning photographs from the front-line. Navy News has been reporting on all that happens in the Royal Navy and its wider community since 1954.