MALAYSIANS will soon be able to watch a new sports novelty – pedal car racing.
The 1st Malaysian Pedal Car Race, organised by the Penang Turf Club (PTC) in conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year 2007, will be held at the Esplanade, Penang, on Aug 19.
According to motor sport racing enthusiast Kayes Choo, who is also organising chairman, the inaugural race is the first competitive event at national level.
“In the past, pedal car activities were mostly organised by scouts as a past-time sport. Old bicycles were to put together to make these cars then.
“It is different now. We’ve engaged a local engineer to manufacture a more professional vehicle based on British specifications. Penang Motor Sport Club officials will officiate this one-day competition,” said Choo.
The newly-made pedal car was certainly a big hit during its first public appearance at the City Hall, Penang recently.
“This machine looks quite sleek and safe on the road. I don't think I’ve seen one back home in my country,” said Ukrainian Artur Kriklii, who was coincindentally visiting the Town Hall’s vicinity.
The Ukrainian, who was visiting Penang for the first time with his family, was later invited to test-drive the pedal car.
It is known as quadracycle, re-cumbent bicycle, human-powered vehicle or a pedal car.
Back in the early 20s, the French actually called it the Mochet Velocar.
The identity of Mochet Velocar belonged to Charles Mochet, a French engineer who mooted the idea of a stable, four-wheeled bicycle in response to his wife’s concern for their young son Georges tearing around on his ‘dangerous’ two-wheeler.
It was a brilliant idea as the rider could push with his legs against the fixed back seat, and soon young Georges was easily beating his bicycle-mounted friends.
In 1924, Mochet designed a velocar for two people riding side by side with one rider sitting relax and the other pedalling or, jumping out to push at the slope.
A great many were sold, particularly to blind World War One veterans who pedalled while the wife steered.
Back then, the velocar, for the ordinary working class people, was a big step towards the as yet highly-expensive automobile and it also proved popular because it could be driven without a driving licence.
Although originally designed for adult transportation, the popularity of motorised vehicles resulted in most modern pedal cars being made mostly for children and adult’s recreational sports.
In Hong Kong, pedal car racing is staged to raise funds for charity purposes. Once a year, an endurance pedal car race is held when team members take turns in the car, and yes, they do it for 24 hours straight.
In Britain, the British Pedal Car Championship also consists of eight endurance races featuring teams of four (or six junior) drivers racing in single-seater human powered sports cars.
“The Penang Turf Club hopes that this environmentally-friendly sport will instil in Malaysians especially school children a love for the environment and also to prove that we can have fun pedalling around using human power instead of racing through the streets in motorcars or motorbikes,” said PTC committee member Alex Rodgers, adding that the event would also help to promote tourism in Malaysia, particularly in Penang.
The race is an eight-lap relay team competition with 10 cars on the grid and two cars acting as back-up in the event of any breakdown.
Each lap will cover about 1.1km and the route of the competition will see participants passing by several landmarks in Penang like St George’s Church, Fort Corn-wallis and the Jubilee Clock Tower at the Downing Street/Light Street roundabout, the Esplanade, King Edward Place and Beach Street. The race will start and end in front of the Town Hall.
This event has the full support of the Penang Tourism Action Council.
Companies, factories and firms can take part by sponsoring a pedal car each. Parties who are keen to sponsor the event in other ways are also welcome.
For more details, contact P.H. Lim at 012-4109218.
Source : STAR
[tags : malaysiahotelnews hotels malaysia resorts news travel tourism travel vmy2007]