A team from Memorial competed last month in the annual Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race 2023 in Kelowna, B.C.
The race is the oldest and largest student-run engineering competition in Canada, which challenges engineering students from across Canada to design, build and safely race toboggans with a running surface made entirely of concrete.
Competing teams are tasked with designing and building a toboggan with steering and braking that is capable of carrying five people down a hill.
The concrete skis, metal roll cage and steering and braking systems must all weigh less than 350 pounds.
“It almost makes me wish I wasn’t graduating!”
Toboggans are judged on design, level of ingenuity and innovation and how well it performs on race day.
Student Billy Barnes is co-lead for the team. While this was his last year on the team since he will be graduating this spring, he says he is excited for what the Memorial Concrete Toboggan Team will be able to accomplish in future competitions.
“This competition is mainly a mechanical design competition,” he said. “We were applauded by other teams for the function and quality of our mechanical systems. With continued involvement from mechanical students and support from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, I think this team could consistently start placing in the top five in the competition as soon as next year. It almost makes me wish I wasn’t graduating!”
The team from Memorial, which was comprised of mechanical and civil engineering students, placed well in several categories, including third overall in the main racing event, King of the Hill, out of 12 competing teams.
Other third-place finishes include the braking category (for having the third shortest stopping distance) and for ski reinforcements.
The team placed second in the aesthetically-pleasing toboggan competition; fifth out of 15 teams for its steering design; and had the fourth fastest overall run with a top speed of 45 kilometres per hour.