The Chiltern International Fire team were runners-up to Honda in the annual Institute of Mechanical Engineers’ Thamesway Young Members’ Panel ‘Great Egg Race’.

The event is overseen by the eminent scientist Professor Heinz Wolff, who for the past 10 years has been setting a challenge requiring technical ingenuity and teamwork for young ImechE Thamesway members.

This year’s challenge was to design, build and effectively operate a ‘Ping Pong Ball Lobber’ to fulfil a brief set by Prof Wolff. The lobber had to “repel an impending attack from alien frogs”.

The Chiltern Fire team, comprising Dawn Oxbrough, James Lavender, Mark Gannon and Richard Sherwood, constructed a machine gun which could fire around 100 ping pong balls a minute.