Electric 'Goblins' from Harwell in national race
20 Jul 2010



Engineers from ISIS have teamed up with students and teachers at local Harwell Primary School to enable them to enter the Greenpower Gathering of Goblins at Goodwood Race Circuit, racing against other schools from across the country.

The Year 6 class from Harwell School with their Goblin cars emblazoned with the ‘Harwell Heroes’ logo.

The Year 6 pupils from Harwell Primary School and their teacher raced two electric cars at Goodwood on 17 July 2010, after ISIS engineers Dennis Cowdery, Ben Eltham, Richard Blight and Stephen Cox spent time each week guiding the children through the construction process and advising them on how to get the best out of their two cars.

Callum, aged 11 said before the race; “The ISIS engineers helped build us a whole new racing car, and the body of the car. We would be lucky to even have one car to race but thanks to ISIS there were two teams from Harwell School”.

 “Working with the children has been fantastic and a real change for us as engineers,” said Dennis Cowdery from ISIS. “The children have leant a lot working with us and we’re excited to see if they win their race at Goodwood.”

As part of the project, the 26 Harwell Primary School Students were also able to visit the world-leading ISIS Neutron Source on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus and find out how scientists use this ‘super-microscope’ to design new materials to go inside cars for the future powered by hydrogen instead of petrol. They were able to explore the huge research centre with ISIS scientists and take part in a hands-on chemistry workshop.

Dr Marek Jura explains how ISIS works after running chemistry workshop  

Dr Marek Jura explains how ISIS works after running chemistry workshops with the
class on their visit to the facility. View full-size image

Class teacher, Steve Sutherland said, “The group really enjoyed visiting ISIS. Being able to be next to such important equipment and ask ‘well, what does that do? And how does that work?’ and get answers from science professionals – those things are really important.

“The whole project has gone really well and having the ISIS engineers involved has meant that the children have had a lot of access to people with real skills, and that has given a lot in terms of building their confidence as engineers and scientists of the future.”


The class got to grips with world-class science, exploring the differe  

The class got to grips with world-class science, exploring the different components of the ISIS synchrotron. View full-size image

More images from the visit

About the race

The Goblin kit cars are designed specifically to offer primary school pupils a chance to get involved in a simple, practical engineering project that embraces many relevant aspects of science and technology in a fun and exciting way. The cars are also reusable, by being able to strip down and re-build the kits repeatedly such that the initial costs bear fruit for a number of years. Powered by an electric battery motor, the cars reach top speeds of 15 miles per hour.

The annual race event sees schools from across the country come together to race kit cars they have built through the Greenpower scheme. There are a number of age categories that enter to race, with the ‘Goblin’ kit car specification available for primary schools.

ISIS engineers and researchers have strong links to renewable energies, including alternative fuel sources and electric cars. Their expertise in this area ensured the children had a strong entry for competition.

At the Gathering of Goblins event the two Harwell teams competed in a number of challenges designed to test speed, control and manoeuvrability of their designs, such as drag race, chicane and slalom. The cars performed well and, kitted out in their overalls and hats sporting the ‘Harwell Heroes’ logo designed by Connor, the children showed real camaraderie and team spirit in competition.

For the final race around a full lap of Goodwood Race Circuit,  the stands and grass verges were lined with team mates and families of competitors who waited excitedly for the 4 minutes it takes for a Goblin car to complete the Race Circuit.

Each child received a certificate for their successful participation in the competition.

Further information: http://www.greenpower.co.uk/racing/goblins.php