FORGET Jeremy Clarkson and his Top Gear stunts … Wigan folk will have a chance to pit their strength against the mightiest machine in the borough.
Just like the hugely popular TV show, human endurance versus machine is the name of the power game at this year’s Power Fest event.
With the strength of 2,500 horses the Trencherfield Mill’s horizontal, twin tandem, triple expansion, steam condensing engine was once the powerhouse that drove a 26ft flywheel with 54 ropes running hundreds of cotton spinning machinery across all five floors of the mill at Wigan Pier.
Now this masterpiece of engineering will take centre stage as part of Wigan’s Power Fest, part of Manchester Science Festival 2011.
Over a distance of 4,273m, teams of three will be able to see if they can out “row” the distance travelled by the giant fly wheel in five minutes.
Power Fest is part of the Manchester Science Festival and will take place at Trencherfield Mill on Wednesday, October 26 between 11am and 3pm.
During the day visitors can enjoy a trip on the Kittywake canal barge while WLCT’s library service will provide industrial readings on some of the industries that once stood on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal.
Wigan model engineering society will also be showcasing models manufactured by some of its members. Youngsters can also learn how to harness the power of the wind with a kite building exercise.
Bill Rowley is the Heritage Engineer at the mill. He said: “The Trencherfield Mill engine is one of the largest and finest working engines of its kind in the world. It is a feat of Victorian engineering which typifies their sense of industrial ingenuity and scientific endeavor.
“This Top Gear style challenge is a fun way to see if people can match its speed though I doubt anyone can match its endurance.”
Danny Fleming, senior fitness instructor at the Wigan Life Centre, is currently devising the challenge.
He said: “This will not be for the faint-hearted. It’s going to be a tough sprint that will be a real challenge.”