GREAT FALLS - The Harlem United F1 team is headed to compete on the world stage after taking third place in a national competition. Members of the Harlem United Team live in the communities of Harlem and Fort Belknap. Nationals were held last week in Michigan.
F1 teams race miniature compressed-air-powered balsa wood F-1 cars - but the fastest car is not necessarily the overall winner.
Each team is judged based on a several factors, including safety, engineering, aesthetics, quality and manufacture, race times, pit display, portfolio, and verbal presentation.
This is Harlem United's second year participating in the program. Last year, the team won the State title and went on to the National level and won Best Portfolio Design. They say they've worked hard to make the improvements that led to this year's success.
"When we were at nationals last year, our worst event was verbal presentation," said Jazzamyn Benson, Harlem United team leader. "But this year we came back, we did a lot more practice, presented at different things, and got better at it, and we actually won in verbal presentation this year."
"They missed [winning] three other awards by only one point, so they were very close to taking others," said head advisor Craig Todd. "They were out of first at nationals by only 25 points." The Corvallis Speed Devils of western Montana also participated at nationals, but did not get the status ranking that Harlem did. Todd says Harlem United is the first Native American team to make it to nationals.
They now have four months to prepare and fundraise for the world competition taking place in October in Austin, Texas.