Physical forces conspire against Dustin Haracka and his ‘Batmobile’ as he tries to navigate a downhill slalom course during the first Vancouver Island University Engineering Soapbox Race on Thursday, April 7. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

Physical forces conspire against Dustin Haracka and his ‘Batmobile’ as he tries to navigate a downhill slalom course during the first Vancouver Island University Engineering Soapbox Race on Thursday, April 7. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

Nanaimo engineering students come to grips with gravity at soapbox derby

VIU Engineering Club holds race day, hopes to make it an annual event

Vancouver Island University engineering students let gravity take its course, so to speak, at the university’s first VIU Engineering Soapbox Race.

The event, organized by VIU’s engineering club, drew students, professors and Nanaimo engineering firms to the university’s lower parking lot Thursday, April 7, when six teams put their soapbox designs to the test on downhill and slalom courses to see which teams could get through the courses the quickest without crashing.

A number of three-wheeled soapbox designs chalked up some of the quickest course times course times against their four-wheeled competition, but only when their drivers managed to navigate course curves without flipping their cars over in the turns.

The teams with the best-engineered designs and the most skillful drivers brought home trophies and other prizes as well as bragging rights for participating.

McGhee Tomlinson, VIU Engineering Club president, who co-organized the event with club vice-president Dustin Haracka, said the club is new and organizers wanted to host an event students could rally around.

“It went really well. A lot better than we expected,” Tomlinson said. “There was a lot bigger turnout than we expected … we plan on hosting it again next year and … we hope to continue it and make it a tradition at VIU.”



photos@nanaimobulletin.com

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