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28th January 2005


RC on the TV

Ever seen Scrapheap Challenge? PaulG80 explains what happened when RealClassic tried to get on the telly...

Some of you know me from either the message board or you have met me at various shows behind the stripy tablecloth. You may have realised that I am up for anything if it means I can have a giggle along the way. At one show I found myself talking to EVGuru about the Scrapheap Challenge TV programme and... wouldn't it be a laugh to enter?

I then get a phone call a few weeks later (having entirely forgotten about the conversation) saying that the closing date was soon. Was I up for it? Being nave and foolish (me, surely not?) I said 'Why not?' So this is how Anarchy and me ended up in the vastness that is EV's workshop one December Thursday.

Just in case you have never seen this obscure programme on Channel 4, allow me to briefly explain.

Set in a Scrapheap, two teams of three people are given a challenge to build something out of the contents of the heap. This something could be anything from a cannon, to a catapult capable of throwing cars, to a jet dragster. Both teams are then allocated An Expert and given 10 hours to conceive, design and build the object of the challenge. The teams then compete against each other the next day.

Got that?

Good.

So, back to the plot. We decided that a team of Three Pauls would be a good hook to get us in.

In a quiet corner of the workshop, the unsuspecting trike is unaware of the fate awaiting it...After filling the application forms in and taking photos of each other we had to make a video showing how we interact (that means work together, in marketing speak). Also, we had to build something.

Now many of you know that EV is a bit of an Electric Vehicle nut and he just happened to have an electric tricycle lying around. So we took the motor out and made it look like an ordinary trike and fixed the motor back in. Anarchy supplied the video camera and expertise while we all basically looned about and built the trike.

A quick search through EVGuru's pockets revealed this little lot.

Next came fixing the batteries on and how to control the beast. We first used a 12-volt battery and secured it with the time-honoured method of a cargo net. Next we ran a wire from the motor to the battery and then earthed the other side of the motor. Right, now we had a need for some sort of control. For maximum comedy effect Anarchy reckoned we should use a jump lead. What a good idea!

So the lead was connected to the battery as a positive earth, then fed from the rear of the trike to the handlebars. We raised the bike up onto axle stands and tentatively connected the leads. We had movement!

Power is nothing without control, and this trike is certainly without control.

Then, after much cheering had died down, we had to elect a test pilot...

Scrapheap ChallengeI had ridden this trike in pedal form and couldn't steer it at all because a) it was nothing like anything else I had ridden, and b) I couldn't stop howling with laughter. So Anarchy bravely (stupidly!) stepped up and said 'I'll do it' in a vaguely heroic tone.

We asked, in between sniggers, if he had any last requests, then he clamped the jump lead to the handlebars and took off down the lane behind the workshop at a blistering 5mph.

He only crashed a little bit and made it back in one piece.

Foolishly, we decided that we needed more power. Well, if you're going to do something you might as well do it properly. Another battery was procured from the garage and connected to make 24 volts, (double the power in one step, we don't mess about us) and then it was my turn (gulp).

Electric Vehicle Stuff on eBay.co.uk

Assuming the Roland Brown PositionAfter ringing Mrs G80 and bidding her a fond farewell and assuring her that the insurance was paid up, I climbed manfully aboard. I proffered my last request but alas no bicycle clips were available in case the worst should happen. I clamped the lead to the bars and set off down the lane, unable to see or steer as I was in hysterics. I managed to avoid a crash by removing the clamp, quickly turned round and aimed for Anarchy as he had the camera. This was much better.

It was then EV's turn and after assuming the 'Roland Brown position' (a full racing crouch), he set off at a tremendous lick and managed to stay aboard whilst turning, Show-off.

So that's the first part of the story. Will we get in? Will we uphold the honour of RealClassic on the telly? Do you care?

Tune in next time...

Once the trike was out of the way, building the levitation machine was easy... Paul (left), Paul (centre) and Paul (right).

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