True grit and determination on and off the track

Bronwyn WilsonSport and extra curricula

In what is a true test of physical, mental and emotional character, eight Year 6 and 7 St Peters students took to the track at the 24 hour Human Powered Vehicle (HPV) race held at Murray Bridge in perfect weather at the weekend.

If you’ve ever had to ‘pull an all-nighter’ you can appreciate how tiredness can affect your ability to concentrate and function. Add physical and mental exertion into the situation and things get a whole lot harder. Now add youth, speed and competing alongside teams much older and greater in numbers than you, into the mix … it could be recipe for disaster. But our Blue Saint Pedal Prix team — consisting of Dustin and Chris (Year 6), Ben, Kyle, Will, Nik, Issy and Jaylia (Year 7) —performed outstandingly proving that true team spirit, camaraderie and an outstanding support crew can make big things happen.

The 24 hour race is the pinnacle of the HPV racing year, with 225 ‘cars’ converging on the 2.06 km long Murray Bridge race track from all parts of Australia. If the sheer number of cars on a relatively small track isn’t scary enough for our 11-13 year-olds, consider also that 116 of these are being ridden by high-school students and 52 — in the ‘Open’ category — by adults!

Team manager for 2015 (and parent) Bo Gacic reflected on the weekend: “I am so proud of the riders, their strength and endurance to propel that car around the track for 24 hours with a team of eight is amazing. The wee hours between 00:00 and 06:00 were hard but they all did it (parents included)!” he said. “Of course, Kyle’s top lap of 4:00 (minutes) and Nik’s close behind of 4:08 were the speed highlights, [but] it was Chris’ last stint in the car at the end of ‘grave-yard shift’ [3am-6am] that sticks in my mind. He ‘pitted’ after one lap; he was in pain, his knee was hurting and he was spent. But to his credit, he shook it off (after some hearty encouragement from the pit crew) and went back out to ‘crank out’ 3 more laps! It’s that type of determination and the way the kids rallied and supported each other whole-heartedly that makes the experience so memorable.”

The team finished the race in 32nd position in their category and 171st overall; they rode 242 laps totaling 498.762km. That’s the equivalent of riding from Adelaide to Mount Gambier and then back to Millicent. An awesome achievement from only 8 kids.

“Thanks must go to the support crew who worked tirelessly over the weekend and pitched in wherever, and whenever, help was required” said Mr Gacic. “Thank you for your support throughout the season and for the laughs and fun times along the way. The new friendships forged between the team and the parents/support crew are an added bonus”. Mr Gacic went on to thank the additional members of the team — Liam and Harry — who were not able to be involved in the 24 hour race, for their involvement through the season.

“To our Riders,” he added finally, “you can all hold your heads high as once again you show how, for a little school, St Peters fights well above its weight category. You did a fantastic job, well done.”

Dawn at the Pedal Prix track. 

Watch as the steam rises off Nik as he ‘warms-down’ after his stint at 6am when the temperature was 1.5degrees!

Photos courtesy of the Graetz family. Video and photo at dawn courtesy of Bo Gacic.

Sport is alive and well at St Peters!

There has been a plethora of sporting finals and achievements in recent weeks at St Peters!

Congratulations to:

  • Riley, Chris and Keegan who competed in the state finals of the Junior Chess Championships,
  • Jacob, Chris (Sturt Devils) and Cooper (Brighton Bombers) – competing against each other in the Under 13 Lacrosse grand final (Sturt Devils the winners on the day),
  • Harris who competed in the Div 4 Under 12 semi-final for South Adelaide Basketball and who was awarded best on court,
  • Harry, competing in the SA state relay team in Athletics this week, and
  • Henry, Liam, Harry and Nik who will be playing in the grand final for Blackwood Football Club.

We also say congratulations to all the parents, students and teachers who participated in the City-Bay Fun Run, and recognise the many who participate in sport at any level and any code.

Well done everyone!

Share this story