Positively Milwaukee

Students design race car for boy with cerebral palsy

CREATED May 27, 2014

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GRAFTON - Students at Grafton High School put together a formula first race car from scratch each year.  The cars can go up to 40 miles per hour but this year, it wasn’t just about speed.

Bryce Klug has loved race cars since he was little.  So when Klug got to high school, he was instantly attracted to their Formula High School Motorsports Program where students design, create and eventually drive a race-car at Road America.

“I kind of went and did a whole full body picture and I went, well isn't there an obvious obstacle?” Bryce asked his tech teacher Mike Dodge.  Confined to a wheelchair because of cerebral palsy, Bryce could have gotten discouraged but his teacher, classmates and cousin Logan Klug weren’t going to let that happen.

“Bryce said he wanted to drive the car so I just said, well, you're going to drive the car,” Dodge said. 

So the team got to work, “We just kind of brainstormed at lunch and came up with an idea,” Logan explains, going into detail about how they used rods from the year before, used drills and machinery to create a pivot to act as a brake and then added cables to connect and adapt the throttle so Bryce could live his dream of racing at Elkhart Lake. 

It’s an experience imprinted in his memory like tire tracks, “Arm goes down, this goes forward, all I hear is vrrrrm forward,” Bryce explains.

A unique experience for everyone at the racetrack that day Mr. Dodge adds, “Bryce is the first student to ever use hand controls to compete in the formula high school, so that was a pretty big thing and then to have him improve every time he went out there on the track.”

But he’s improving more than his race time Bryce’s cousin Logan speculates, “This has kind of helped him heal and kinda, kind of think of himself as like he can do some stuff more than he can think he can.”

Bryce insists that is is all thanks to hard work and helping hands, “I mean I helped build this but they're the guys that came up with this, they asked me what I wanted, what I needed, put me in the car.  I have all these guys to thank and if I had to pick a senior moment out of all my senior moments, this would be the one right here thanks to Dodge and all these guys."

And while the original goal of the program was to teach the students engineering, manufacturing and marketing skills, the Grafton High School students found that driving their efforts the extra mile made a huge difference not only in Bryce’s life, but in their own.