UBC Home Page -
UBC Home Page -
UBC Home Page UBC Home Page -
News Events Directories Search UBC myUBC Login
- -
UBC Public Affairs
UBC Reports
UBC Reports Extras
Goal / Circulation / Deadlines
Letters to the Editor & Opinion Pieces / Feedback
UBC Reports Archives
Media Releases
Services for Media
Services for the Community
Services for UBC Faculty & Staff
Find UBC Experts
Search Site

UBC Reports | Vol. 47 | No. 04 | Feb. 22, 2001

Engineers' first place finish cast in concrete

A dedicated design team beats fierce competitors in the slide to build the best concrete toboggan

by Bruce Mason staff writer

In an uphill battle and complete turnaround, a team of 14 UBC engineering students clutched first place in the 27th annual Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race (GNCTR). Canada's largest civil engineering student competition, which was recently staged in Kingston, Ont., attracted 28 teams from universities across the country, the U.S. and Germany.

"UBC finished dead last in 2000 and we were determined to improve, despite our limited experience with snow and competing with teams comprised of 50 students," says Brad Tangjerd, co-captain of UBC's team.

The team's coveted awards for Top Speed of the Day and Most Improved Team as well as the overall trophy are proudly displayed in the cluttered clubs room of the Civil and Mechanical Engineering Building.

"These amazing results were achieved by a team that really came together," says co-captain Radya Rifaat. "Everyone worked as hard as they could right from the start on everything from building concrete formwork to constructing a frame for technical display."

"We also showed a lot of spirit and co-operation while we were there," adds Mana Arabi, the third co-captain, who says the thrill is not gone even though the toboggan, dubbed Sam Jesse, is being shipped across the country by truck.

Fourth-year Civil Engineering students, Arabi, Rifaat and Tangjerd led the team to reach the objective of the GNCTR competition -- to construct a toboggan with a concrete bottom that weighed less than 135 kilograms and had operating brakes.

In addition to weight restrictions and safety requirements design criteria included dimension limitations. Each toboggan also had to carry five students twice down the course and brake effectively.

Reaching a top speed of 46 kilometres per hour was a peak experience but the team was also judged on design, aesthetics, safety, theme, team spirit and ingenuity, as well as race results.

Naming themselves "The Fugitives" in honor of the infamous Kingston Penitentiary, the team wore orange coveralls emblazoned with "UBC Pen" on the back. They also wore handcuffs and shackles and regularly broke into songs and chants they composed for the occasion.

"The essence of engineering is to conceive, create and use objects and this flagship competition is an excellent test of student skills," says Alan Russell, professor and head of the Civil Engineering Dept.

"It's a labour of love by volunteers who do it themselves, above and beyond their courses," he adds. "We're delighted, not only with the results, but also with the enthusiasm and camaraderie they brought to a major competition."

The other team members are: fourth-year Civil Engineering students Mark Crabtree, Grayson Doyle, Brian Lee, Brad Parker, and Scott Wallace; third-year Civil Engineering students Chris Meisl and Richard Savage; third-year Mechanical Engineering students Mac Bell and Danielle Doran, and second-year Civil Engineering students Tom Furst and Shabnam Hosseini.


Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

to top | UBC.ca » UBC Public Affairs

UBC Public Affairs
310 - 6251 Cecil Green Park Road, Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z1
tel 604.822.3131 | fax 604.822.2684 | e-mail public.affairs@ubc.ca

© Copyright The University of British Columbia, all rights reserved.