Yorkshire firm throws down Tour de France gauntlet

A Yorkshire firm has launched a hunt for new creative talent by challenging the engineers of tomorrow to develop a gadget which could be used by teams and riders competing in next year’s Tour de France.

Knaresborough-based GSPK Design Ltd has a strong track record for developing new technology for both large global clients and smaller UK firms, with recent orders helping to fund significant growth over the last 12 months.

However, MD Paul Marsh – who is also chairman of Young Enterprise North Yorkshire – is a keen supporter of initiatives which encourage more youngsters to choose engineering as a career.

The company has therefore challenged school technology departments to enter “Your Four le Tour” – a competition for teams of four to develop a product or gadget which Chris Froome or Sir Bradley Wiggins might find helpful as they battle it out for the Yellow Jersey when the event come to Yorkshire in July 2014.

Mr Marsh said:

“This is an engineering challenge so we’re not aiming at the fashionistas.

“However, it would be different matter if you could come up with something which fits in a rider’s shoe or helmet.

“It could be a gadget which measures performance, informs the rider of progress against targets, keeps the team up to date with how the physical demands of the race are impacting on the rider – or all three.

“Equally, if could be an aerodynamic device which aids the bike’s performance on those long downhill swoops or a mechanical device which assists the rider in the gruelling mountain climbs. It really is down to the teams.”

Harrogate’s Rossett School has already taken up the challenge but others interested in entering would be encouraged to field teams of four; if enough come forward, awards would go to winners in different age groups.

Mr Marsh added:

“The most important thing is that we get them thinking about how to solve problems through engineering – and, of course, we’d be thrilled if that inspires a few to consider it as a possible career option.

“But the students are also going to come across other challenges such as where they source raw materials from, how much they would cost and how they would market their project – all the things a company like ours faces every day.

“We hope, as a result, they would learn something about the world of work and, when it comes to their first interview, they will have a little knowledge or experience which could stand them in good stead.”

Teams interested in taking part need to register online at www.gspkdesign.ltd.uk  no later than Wednesday, December 18.

Prizes include a set of Raspberry Pis for the winning school and vouchers for each of the winning team members.

The headteacher of Rossett School, Pat Hunter, said:

“Naturally, there is a buzz around the Tour de France coming to Yorkshire but we thought the competition suggested by GSPK Design Ltd would help to harness some of the enthusiasm in something tangible.

“We have already heard about the importance of legacy and, if taking part means we help to inspire a new generation of young engineers, it has to be a good thing.”

Other schools interested in taking part on the GSPK Design Ltd Four le Tour competition can find out more at http://www.gspkdesign.ltd.uk/news/four-le-tour-competition/

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