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World Final: 2014/15

Our 2014/15 World Finals were held at the Heritage Motor Museum, Gaydon, on Wednesday 24th June.  Teams had travelled to the venue from Australia, China, England and Scotland and the anticipation of some serious competition was almost touchable.  The day’s proceedings started at 9.45 with a welcoming address from Jonathan Garrett, CSR Director, Jaguar Land Rover. Jonathan also explained the various career opportunities that were available at JLR for young people and said that Jaguar Land Rover were dedicated to encouraging youngsters to consider taking up careers in engineering.

Soon it was time to start the serious business of the day and after some short housekeeping points the youngsters were shown into the room where their work was to be done.  The morning was spent working on their cars, getting them into as good a ‘race shape’ as possible.  Debates amongst the teams were rife when they saw that the race was to be held at the Kyalami Circuit, a track that they had never seen in their lives!  There were warnings in the software that this Circuit was hard on tyre wear.  The scale on the track was unusual and the long straights were really fast.  Problems, problems, problems!  But, hold on, this was the World Final of ‘Maths in Motion’ so between the team members they got stuck into a bit of real-world problem solving and set up some brilliant cards! Mid-day soon came and it was time to stop work.  Every one of 30 teams taking part had managed to get a car onto the starting grid and things were getting VERY exciting and just a little bit intense!

After a fabulous buffet lunch we got down to the business end of the day!  The afternoon session started with the Teachers Race.  This race takes place each year between the teachers of the finalists and the competition is taken VERY seriously indeed.  Some teachers told us that they had worked for hours on their cars and some were playing it very close to their chests and not saying what their strategies were at all but when the race started the noise level in the room went through the roof!  After a few laps, one or two of the cars had blown up or run out of fuel and a degree of aquaplaning was quite noticeable but with over 150 overtaking manoeuvres throughout the race, it was hardly surprising that it was going to be close, and it was!  Winning out was John Wright from Queen Elizabeth’s Academy, Devon and second place went to John Treacy from Arthur Mellows Village College, Peterborough.  Joining them on the podium was Chelsea Francis from St. Joseph’s R C Primary School, Billingham.  They were presented with prizes (including the traditional bottles of Champagne) by Wendy Richardson and the audience gave them a tumultuous cheer as they returned to their seats.

Brian then gave a short speech thanking all of the sponsors for their tremendous support throughout the year and for joining everybody at the event.  He went on to particularly thank the parents, teachers and children in both Kingston Primary School and Harrow, Beijing for not only raising the funds to get their teams to the Final but for giving their permission to fly their children to Gaydon from the other side of the World!

His review of the year mentioned the many Teacher Training courses that are undertaken by the Challenge and particularly concentrated on the team work aspect of the Challenge.  Soon, the moment arrived.  It was time to start THE race of the day – The 2015 World Championship!  There were to be two winners of the award as the race was divided into a Primary and Secondary school sections.

With pole position being held by Watford Grammar School, with most of the ‘Maths in Motion’ big hitter’s close behind them, it had the makings of an incredible race – and it was!  However, what was to follow was simply amazing!  By the end of the first lap Aylesbury Grammar School had got themselves into a lead but the remainder of the field were very close behind them.  Many overtaking manoeuvres followed and by around lap 20 St. Joseph’s R C Primary School, Billingham had got themselves into a good lead. 

However, on lap 26 disaster befell them when their car engine overheated and they were out of the race.  The excitement now was incredible and at one point it was impossible to hear what was going on.  One minute it was Chatham and Clarendon Grammar in the lead, then it was Turnfurlong Primary, then it was Aylesbury Grammar and so it went on until just before the end of the race when Butlers Court Primary School, Beaconsfield, went into the lead and stayed there to become our 2015 Overall World Champions.  The four boys collapsed in a heap on the floor!  They had won by 12.51s from Aylesbury Grammar with the Chatham and Clarendon Grammar finishing in third.  This meant that Aylesbury Grammar were the Secondary World Champions and a quick look around the room revealed many, many, many people hugging each other and congratulating the winners…. It was a truly amazing and emotional experience! A primary school had beaten everyone for only the second time in history!

Every competitor in the room was then presented with a Jaguar goody bag that contained a certificate, a CD ROM memorial clock, a Jaguar driver’s cap, pen and keyring  by Mandy Page, Maths in Motion Challenge, and Christopher Hewett, a past Champion. One of the nicest moments of the day was when the teams from Kingston Primary School, Australia  and Harrow School, Beijing came out to collect their goody bags, the audience broke into a very warm round of applause… a lovely moment indeed.

The time had come to present the winners with their trophies and both schools received a standing ovation.  It was over and what a day it had been!  Our very first ‘World Champions’ had been crowned and, as they were leaving one of the boys from Butlers Court asked me if I could set the countdown to next year’s Final going in the actual software as he fully intended to be back!  What dedication I thought so I’ve done it!

On behalf of us all at the organising end of this Challenge could I just say a special ‘thank you’ to Mark and Bernard from Toshiba and everybody else that contributed behind the scenes to making this an amazingly successful day as those of us who were there know that without Mark and Bernard this event could not have taken place and their personal efforts are to be seriously commended.  Special thanks must also go to everyone at Jaguar Land Rover for the continued help and support they give to us all in making this such a wonderful Challenge and, as I said earlier, to all of the sponsors who took the trouble to come along and join us to present their prizes with pride.  See you next year.

Brian, Wendy, Paul and the rest of the Team.


Position in Overall Race School (P=Primary S=Secondary) Local Authority
1 (P) Butlers Court School Buckinghamshire
2 (S) Aylesbury Grammar School Buckinghamshire 
3 (S) The Chatham & Clarendon Grammar School  Kent
4 (P) Turnfurlong Junior School Buckinghamshire 
5 (S) Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys  Kent 
6 (S) Watford Grammar School for Boys Hertfordshire
7 (S) Arthur Mellows Village College Peterborough
8 (S) King’s School, Worcestershire Worcestershire
9 (S) The Glasgow Academy Senior School Glasgow 
10 (P) St Luke’s C.E. Primary School Sefton 
11 (P) Shrewsbury High Prep School and Nursery Shropshire
12 (P) St Anne’s C.E. (VC) Primary School Staffordshire 
13 (S) Queen Elizabeth’s Academy Devon
14 (P) Stokenchurch Primary School Buckinghamshire
15 (P) St Peter & St Paul’s C of E Primary School Lincolnshire
16 (S) St Augustine’s RC High School Lancashire
17 (P) Kingston Primary School Australia 
18 (P) Cliftonville Primary School Kent
19 (S) Malet Lambert School Kingstson Upon Hull
20 (S) The Compton School  London Borough of Barnet
21 (P) Star Primary School London Borough of Newham
22 (S) Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar Lincolnshire
23 (P) South Hampstead Junior School  London Borough of Camden
24 (P) Lane End Primary School Buckinghamshire
25 (P) St Joseph’s RC Primary School (Billingham) Stockton-on-Tees
26 (S) Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys Kent
27 (P) All Saints CE Primary School Bury
28 (P) Pennyman Primary Academy Middlesbrough
29 (S) Harrow International School Beijing China
30 (S) Blackheath High School London Borough of Greenwich