40th Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race

Article by: 26326 Ocdt (III) Connor Hunerfauth – 8 Squadron

January 30th to February 1st marked the 40th Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race, hosted by the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. The GNCTR is an annual engineering competition organized by the student chapters of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineering within Canadian engineering schools. Teams are responsible for designing, constructing, and racing a toboggan with a concrete running surface. RMCC’s team was composed of: 25673 Josh Bennett (IV), 25825 Colin Frandsen (IV), 25836 Jason Martin, (IV), 25912 John Kay (IV), 25962 Daniela Moyano (IV), 26177 Matthew Murphy (IV), 26326 Connor Hunerfauth (III), 26695 Chuyue Guo (II), and 26323 Shane Savage (II).

The team poses with the toboggan on race day.

The competition provides an excellent opportunity to gain hands-on experience by applying theoretical concepts learned in the classroom, work as a cohesive team, exercise leadership, gain positive exposure for RMCC, and develop project planning skills relevant to both military and engineering applications.

 Concrete is poured into forms for the toboggan’s skis.

Team members were responsible for designing a roll cage and steering and breaking systems in addition to the concrete slab of the toboggan. The team learned about the importance, benefits, and the challenges associated with the engineering design process in real world applications. Unlike most universities whom have their toboggans built by third parties, RMCC builds ours in-house.

 The nearly finished toboggan in the Civ Eng lab.

The event lasted three days, consisting of an orientation day, technical exhibition, and race day. The technical exhibition provided teams the opportunity to showcase their toboggan and chosen theme. We may have felt a little out of place in combats and tac vests amongst castles, a wild west saloon, and a train station to name a few exhibits; but the team quickly learnt to just guo with it. The highlight of race day was beating our rival Queen’s University in a head-to-head race; which while also having fun and learning is what really matters.

Students from civilian universities across the country, some for the first time, were exposed to cadets from RMCC. Right from the start in our opening ceremony skit the team established that we could be as loud, if not louder than teams three times our size. The cadpat uniforms intrigued many civilian students and it proved to be a great opportunity to share what RMCC is and what the institution stands for.

The 2014 RMCC GNCTR team would like to recognize the invaluable support of the RMC Foundation for funding the trip, the RMCC Civil Engineering Department for providing the material and tools necessary to construct the toboggan, Mr. John Tait from Anchor Concrete for donating slag that was used in the concrete mix and other individuals; Dr. Greg Siemens, 2Lt. Anthony Everitt, Mrs. Danielle Grondin, and Mr. Dexter Gaskin, whom without, our participation in the competition would not be possible. The opportunity to see a project from start to finish, from conceptual design to racing down the hill, is incredibly educative and rewarding, and one that the team will not soon forget.

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