STUDENTS from Skipton have become the only all-girl team to reach the national finals of an engineering competition and take third place.

Six pupils from Skipton Girls’ High School entered into the Land Rover 4x4 Schools Challenge where 13-18 year olds design and build a radio-controlled four-wheel drive vehicle. The car then has to negotiate a specially-designed test track and must perform as a full-scale 4x4 would off-road.

After winning the regional finals in December, the team, called G Force, were presented with the Research and Innovation Award, they were invited to take part in the two-day national finals in Warwickshire. Teams were scored on track performance and as newcomers, G Force came third in the development class.

The competition aims to engage students across a range of engineering experiences from design concept to manufacturing. Each team must design a new shell for a 1/18 scale 4x4 vehicle, embed electronics for light control and tilt sensing. They must understand all the engineering aspects of the vehicle and present this in both a portfolio and display. On competition day, they have to control the vehicle around two tracks within a time limit, complete a verbal presentation and undergo engineering scrutiny.

The school’s curriculum leader for technology, Paul Braden, said: “Being the only all-girl team competing at both the regional and national Finals did make team G Force stand out a little, but in a good way. STEM projects such as these are vital to engage students in a broader world and is key to their development, confidence, team building and real-world experiences.”

The team were sponsored by Ribblesdale Land Rover in Settle and supported by local organisations such as JB Springs, which helped the girls develop springs for the suspension, and the JBA Trust which helped them with presentation techniques.

The team is entering the next level in the coming season and hoping for continued community support. Members were also presented with an Industrial Cadets Silver Award.