Matthew Torok is a first year MEng Automotive Engineering (Off Highway) student and recipient Douglas Bomford Trust Scholarship.
“For the last few years I have been racing ride-on lawn mowers. This has been a great learning opportunity, as during this time I have completely rebuilt engines and gearboxes. I have also fabricated my own mower which included drilling, grinding, shaping and welding metal. Racing has also taught me a lot about general problem solving and resilience, both of which are needed in engineering”, says Matthew, 18.
“I applied for the Douglas Bomford Trust to help fund racing and to expand the team. At the moment I am the only person on the team, with occasional help from my Dad. I would now like to get more engineering students from Harper Adams involved, so they can benefit and learn in the same way I have over the last few years. It is also a really fun project to be involved in and all the money raised from racing goes to local charities.”
Matthew, from Dewlish, Dorset, is keen to stress that these are no ordinary lawnmowers. “The machines are heavily modified specifically for racing and can reach speeds of over 50mph. I normally race with Mower Madness in Dorset, entering a two-hour endurance race. With more members in the team, and with this funding, I will be able to enter bigger events like the West Midlands Lawn Mower Association 555, which is a 5 hour 55 minute race. My eventual goal is to develop a second team for the University, and to enter the British 12 hour race.”
There’s little doubt that Matthew is fully immersed in his passion. “I have always been interested in vehicles and engineering. I found out about Harper Adams at the National Final of the 4x4 In Schools Challenge, where our team was competing having designed and manufactured the chassis and suspension for a 1/18 off road RC car.
“Particularly, I am interested by the suspension and drivetrain components, which the Harper Adams Off Highway course focuses on. When I am not studying, I enjoy spending time in the workshop fabricating parts, or playing racing games on my computer.”