World Chariot Racing Federation commissions New York high school students to redesign the sulky and you won’t believe what they come up with

StandardBred Canada and the Times Herald Record recently wrote stories about the World Chariot Racing Federation’s commissioning of New York Pine Bush High School CAD students to create a redesign of the traditional sulky. Here are the stories:

Members of the harness racing world are always exploring options which will result in their horses going quicker. With the quest to achieve faster race times always in the forefront, sulky designs are always tweaked and are constantly evolving.

Celebrity Farms owner Sam Stathis recently commissioned students at New York’s Pine Bush High School to create a redesign of the traditional sulky – or race bike. In turn, the members of the Computer Aided Design (CAD), Science Principles, and Energy Systems classes rolled up their sleeves.

As an article by the Times Herald-Record explains, the only insistence that Stathis conveyed was that the design had to be ‘American.’

The report conveys that Stathis’ project had more to do with giving the students a unique creative opportunity than actually designing a race-ready sulky for traditional action. Regardless, the Pine Bush students went whole-hog on the challenge and came up with some truly American designs.

In her piece for the Times Herald-Record, author Donna Kessler states that the students created a pair of truly unique race bikes: one which emulates aspects of a 2012 Ford GT40, and the other paying homage to the 2014 Corvette Stingray.

“It really was fun,” student Julia Quecada was quoted as saying.

“We learned a lot more from this than the regular curriculum.”

Fellow student Silke Henstebeck said,

“It was great seeing something that you designed become reality.”

Story via

Donna Kesler of the Times Herald-Record also covered this story in depth. Here’s what she had to say:

Sam Stathis of Goshen is involved in the sport of harness racing and wanted to reinvent the sport in some way. So he commissioned Pine Bush High School to come up with a redesign of the sulky.

A sulky is a lightweight cart with two wheels and a seat for the driver. It has no body and is pulled by horses for harness racing. The only requirement was that the design had to be American.

So instructors Ken Marshall of the CAD class, Eric Johnson of the Science Principles class and Tim Jordan of the Energy Systems class gathered their students together for this unusual project.

After one week of designing and four weeks of fabrication, the students created two sulkies like no other. One is themed after the 2012 Ford GT40 and the other is themed after the 2014 Corvette Stingray. You can’t get any more American than that.

The Ford GT40 is a midnight blue with custom gold flake. The Corvette is a torch red. The removable aluminum bodies were painted by Lloyd Greer at his Pine Bush motorcycle shop, Lloyd’z Motorworkz. Cody Connelly of Paul Junior Designs helped cut out the designs and did some welding on the steel panels that make up the sulkies’ bodies.

The students designed the sulkies’ bodies in the CAD system, the American-themed graphics, which were printed and cut out by Dickie Baxter, owner of Mixture in Montgomery, and even gave them a stereo system with speakers. LED lights, which are powered by a 12-volt battery, exhaust pipes and a place to mount your iPad were added. All the upholstery and the car emblems, which were cut out with a water jet, were also done by the students.

A lot of the students from the high school and the Stars Academy put in late hours at the school to get the carts completed. Students from all grades and all ages worked together as a team to see their project to completion.

“This project brought kids out of their shells,” Marshall said.

Silke Henstebeck and Julia Quecada, both seniors, along with Taylor Sullivan and Christian Brown, juniors, are all in the Advanced Auto CAD Design class and were the GT40 Design Team. They even placed their logo under the seat. “It really was fun,” said Quecada. “We learned a lot more from this than the regular curriculum.”

“It was great seeing something that you designed become reality,” said Henstebeck.” It was great to have good quality material to work with, too.”

Christian Yeadon, a senior, and Tommy Orr, a junior, were part of the Fabrication Team. They got to work with 3-D printers and plasma cutters.

“I got real good with the grinder,” said Yeadon.

“Working the plasma cutter was really different.”

Needless to say, Stathis was blown away when he saw them and the instructors were impressed with the students’ drive and eagerness to complete the projects. From the school they made an appearance at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, N.J., and then it’s off on a world tour, stopping first in Greece.

Story via Donna Kesler/Times Herald-Record

A big thank you to Donna Kesler, Standardbred Canada for covering the hidden stories in our industry and all the students and staff at New York Pine Bush High School for tremendous work.


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