Issue 8
Monday, 07 October 2019
Charles Darwin University
Adam Britten and Ethan Staniforth with the Flying Spanners trophy
Adam Britten and Ethan Staniforth with the Flying Spanners trophy

Calm thinking pays off in Flying Spanners

By Patrick Nelson

An Alice Springs heavy vehicle apprentice and his boss have demonstrated that calm thinking under pressure is the way to win the Red CentreNATS flying spanners competition.

CJD Equipment second-year apprentice Ethan Staniforth and local branch manager Adam Britten took 23 minutes and three seconds to dismantle and rebuild a motor vehicle engine to win the fourth annual Flying Spanners grand final.

In doing so, they upstaged their more fancied interstate opponents whose time in the heats – 16 minutes and eight seconds – broke the record set last year of 17 minutes and 33 seconds.

But the Tasmanian pairing, Tobias Micek and Trent O’Shea, encountered a dislodged rocker bridge in the final, which cost them vital minutes. Until that point, they had been the front runners in the two-team contest.

Charles Darwin University Alice Springs-based Automotive Engineering teacher Russ Horan, who co-judged the final, congratulated the 14 participants for their courage to have a go.

“Overall it was probably the best Flying Spanners we’ve run,” Mr Horan said.

“In each of the four years that we’ve run this competition, CDU Automotive apprentices have made the final, and in three of those years they have been part of the winning team.

“It’s one thing to know your way around an engine, but you also need steady hands and the ability to think clearly under pressure. The real trick is to not be in too much of a hurry.” 

Mr Horan said the winners had won two tickets to next year’s Summernats car festival in Canberra and $1000 vouchers for flights and accommodation.