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Alice Springs students are gearing up for Red CentreNATS

CDU VET students get ready for the Flying Spanner Competition
CDU VET students prepare for the Flying Spanner Competition

Charles Darwin University has begun the quest to find the fastest engine mechanics in Central Australia.

CDU will host the Flying Spanner competition at the Red CentreNATS car festival, on Saturday, September 4, a race to strip down and rebuild a four-cylinder petrol engine as quickly as possible.

The competitors, most who are CDU students, must dismantle, reassemble and then start a basic engine. After the timed heats the two best qualifying times will compete in the Grand Final on Sunday, September 5.

VET Lecturer and Workplace Assessor Shane Gaghan said that these sorts of events help students build their confidence and gives them real world skills that the Northern Territory needs.

“There is a lot to gained by being a part of these competitions, the skills these students are learning is level three mechanics and we have VET students tearing down and rebuilding an engine in less time than the outright record during their trials,” Mr Gaghan said.

“This is a great opportunity for both our students and the local industry, putting workshop skills on display gives them a platform to showcase the future of the Alice Springs Automotive industry.”

VET in school student Nilein Perera said he didn’t know much about cars until he started studying his Automotive Certificates with CDU. Now he is spending his free time honing his skills to try and beat the official flying spanner competition record.

The current official competition record is 17 minutes and 33 seconds.

“I am learning some really useful life long skills not only the practical side of being able to fix a car engine but how to work effectively and efficiently in a team and communicate,” Mr Perera said.

“My team mate has been really supportive, and we have come a long way from our initial timed trails where it took us over an hour to complete the whole task, now we have that time cut down to under 20 minutes.”

“I am really looking forward to the competition, although a bit nervous as we are putting a bit of pressure on ourselves to beat the official record.”

CDU students are also part of the Pit Crews for the heavy hitters drag race and motorcycle race.

The Flying Spanner Competition begins on Saturday, September 4 at 11.30 am.