When Blackfriars introduced Pedal Prix as a sport in 2019, it was with one cycle and eight students.
Today, Pedal Prix is one of the fastest growing sports at the school, with three cycles, more than 20 students from Years 7-12, four staff members running the program and a small army of parent helpers.
And with that growth has come some serious success. The “Hound #1” team finished 3rd overall in the 2022 Australian HPV Super Series in the S3 (Senior Secondary) category.
The school’s Hound #2 and Hound #3 squads will make their racing debuts during the 2023 season.
Blackfriars’ Director of Development, Patrick Kelly, who runs the Pedal Prix program with assistance from staff members Andrew Castiglio, George Elmassih and Beau Leonard, was thrilled with the growth of the sport.
“When I was recruited to come here, our then Deputy Principal, now our Principal, David Ruggiero, said we want you to start Pedal Prix,” said Mr Kelly, who had run Pedal Prix teams in two other schools before coming to Blackfriars, including winning the all-girls’ category with Loreto College at the 24-hour Murray Bridge race.
“We’ve been very well looked after since. It has grown from nothing to three team cycles in less than five years, and that’s even taking covid into account.”
Promisingly for the future of the sport at Blackfriars, almost 70% of the school’s current Year 5/6 students have expressed an interest in being part of the Pedal Prix once they hit Year 7. Mr Kelly said promoting the sport to the Primary School boys was important.
“I do want to make sure we attract some really good young talent going forward,” he said. “It’s all well and good to have these vehicles, but you need the engine to put in it.”
Emilia Pace, whose son, Thomas (Year 8), is part of Blackfriars’ Pedal Prix team, could not speak more highly of the sport.
“We stumbled upon Pedal Prix by accident,” Mrs Pace said. “Thomas had to pick a co-curricular activity going forward and he chose Pedal Prix. It was the best thing we ever did.”
Blackfriars recently hosted a competition for Year 5/6 students to come up with an eye-catching design for Hound #3. As part of the competition, the boys worked in groups to create the designs – also producing a video demonstrating the process – with eight shortlisted as finalists.
Those finalists then had to present their ideas to a panel of judges, including Australian International Pedal Prix Inc Chief Executive Officer Marcus Lacey and Jason Nottle, from Trump Trikes.
Mr Lacey said the management and growth of the sport at Blackfriars was a “credit to all involved”.
“I enjoyed being involved with the design project,” Mr Lacey said. “It was an eye opener and the creative program demonstrated an inspiring engagement process.”
Also on the panel were Mrs Pace and her husband, Greg, graphic designers from WhoYou Creative, who will now work with the winning team to fine-tune their design before it is applied to Hound #3.