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Hoisington hosts first ElectroRally
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Nine schools competed in the Kansas ElecroRally car races held for the first time Thursday morning at the Hoisington Activity Center. Cars were built by teams from high schools from around the state. - photo by VERONICA COONS, Great Bend Tribune

 HOISINGTON — Thursday morning, electric car teams from nine high schools from around the state arrived in Hoisington bright and early for the Hoisington ElectroRally, the high school’s first home meet. Each team brought at least one single-driver, lightweight, aerodynamic, high efficiency electric race car, and a strategy for winning.
“They race for an hour and see who can make the most laps in one hour,” organizer Kevin Vering said.
Vering has been involved with Kansas ElectroRally for about eight years. He coordinated Thursday’s race, acting as the race marshal.
Every time a car completes a lap, counters record the time. With over 20 cars (some schools have two or three cars), two heats are required. Vering said with two classes of cars, the standard and the solar, prizes are awarded for first through third place for both classes.
Teams from Hays, Scott City and Olathe usually build new cars from the ground up each year, Vering said. Others may modify or change existing cars. It all depends on the focus of the group doing it, he said.
According to the Kansas ElectroRally website, they use lightweight components such as aluminum frames and bicycle wheels. Motors and controls are generally smaller versions of the same technology used in full size electric vehicles. With only a few rules and guidelines, the student teams are allowed much flexibility in the design and composition of their vehicles.
Of the practical skills the students take away, Vering said the biggest is the building skills.
“They need to learn a little electrical, a little mechanical, and a lot of these kids just need to build something,” he said. “Just working as a team makes a lot of difference.”
Teamwork happens not only during the build, but also during the race. Most cars have radios in them, so members on the ground can communicate with the driver. One guy may be timing while another one is providing instructions.
As the first race got underway and data on timing and laps was gathered, Vering determined the number of laps in an hour would probably be around 100. It’s first home meet, Hoisington’s track was as yet unproven, he said.
Some teams opted for speed, while others opted for a steady pace. Regardless of strategy, interest was high amongst the students competing and the groups of people and students from the community who came out to watch. Second and third graders from Hoisington’s Lincoln Elementary School lined a stretch of the track on the north side of the activity center, cheering each time the Hoisington car zipped by. It was a rare but welcome sight, seeing science, math, engineering and technology the focus of the kind of excitement usually reserved for sports.

Top placers at Hoisington ElectroRally

Standard cars
xxx, first place
xxx, second place
xxx, third place

Solar cars
xxx, first place
xxx, second place
xxx, third place

For results, call Kevin around 2:30 p.m. His cell phone number is (785) 738 7733