Team has a wheelie good chance in race

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A team of Peterborough contenders will be hoping their racing creation will not be a pile of rubbish - but will go downhill very fast.

The squad of staff from Viridor, who work at the Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) in Fengate, have created a challenger to take on the Red Bull Soap Box Racer.

The cart is designed to look like a Formula One speedster - but rather than exotic materials like carbon fibre, the team have based their chassis on a wheelie bin - and called their cart ‘Refuse Rocket.’

The machine will be powered by gravity alone in the race, which sees 70 teams competing in a time trial down a hill and over various obstacles.

Peterborough ERF Shift Team Leader Lauren Cobby said: “Our team had seen the race on telly and we’d talked about it at work and everyone said they would love to give it a go as a bit of a team project.

“Then one day I was at my mum and dad’s house and I saw they were looking for people to apply and I told everyone at work.”

Lauren said she did not think they would actually enter, but Shift Team Technician Dan Nicholson, who put the Refuse Rocket prototype model together and who will be in the driving seat on race day, saw their chance and “egged” her on.

The Refuse Rocket team is also keen to use the opportunity to raise some cash for a charity, Anna’s Hope, which helps children and young people with brain tumours.

Now the team are working on their next problem - finding a big and steep enough hill to try the Refuse Rocket out.

Dan said: “We have been really fortunate to have real engineering skills within the team, so it’s been great to have that talent and hopefully that will give us the edge. The only problem now is, if we don’t win, it will be down to my driving!

“We really are going to push it. We’ll be after a good start, trying our best to remain central to the track and we certainly won’t be using the brakes too much!”

Along with the time trial itself, teams are marked on a 30 second performance before they start their run.

Lauren said: “We’ve got some old silver rubbish bins and brooms lined up so we can bang the bins and do a bit of a STOMP routine to My Old Man’s A Dustman before the race begins. We are a little nervous about this part of the race.”

Joining Lauren and Dan on the team are mechanical technician Martin Bowe, lead mechanical technician Gary Hotchkin, shift team leaders Mark Harriss and Mark Terry with team mascot Angus, the miniature Schnauzer dog.

Viridor has pledged to match their funding to the tune of £2,000 for Anna’s Hope and so the Refuse Rocket team are urging everyone to support them at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/PBOROSoapBox1.