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6 February

My Tour of DPE

With the school holidays drawing to a close and the “stress” of returning to school, the last thing that you would expect would be a phone call from Arrow HQ inviting you for a visit and tour around the factory.

Arrow factory driver Aaron Rintoul put the call through to surprised Victorian junior Nick Aidonis with an invitation to join him on a look around Drew Price Engineering.

“I was really excited about going and having a look around but really didn’t know what to expect" Nick said.

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Above: Nick Aidonis (left) with Aaron Rintoul inside the Arrow race team's truck

The Tour, by Nick Aidonis

I was met at reception by Aaron and we walked down some stairs and onto the factory floor. At that moment I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing. DPE is one very very big place. I didn’t think you needed such a huge factory to make karts!!!

We started by putting on some eye protection and walking to the start of the line. It was interesting seeing how some components like engine mounts, sprocket carriers and other parts were being made. A block of aluminium is put in this cutting machine run by a computer with very high pressure water cutting away to the shape of the part you want to produce.

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After that we walked around to where the frames were being made. Each length of pipe is put in a jig and bent into shape before being welded together and sent to be painted. Once the frame has been painted it is then sent down the line to where the chassis is assembled before being sent to the dealer or sent overseas.

We then had a look at a machine called F.R.E.D. I can’t really tell you what the letters mean because it’s a bit rude. Basically what you do is that you put in a code relating to a part that you want and this enormous machine finds the part and delivers it to you on a bench.

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We then had a look at a small collection of historic Arrows that will be fully restored and put on display. Karts have come a long way from the early days.

From there it was to the racing room where all the karts that race and test are prepared by Bart, Adam and Aaron before being loaded on the Arrow truck. I wish I had something like that to transport my kart to all the tracks instead of dad’s trailer! The truck was awesome. It is a travelling factory on its own with every single part you need stored onboard.

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Above: The Arrow racing room where the team and development karts are prepared before loading into the truck. It's probably the smallest room but very important. (Hey Nick, how did you get them to allow a photo in that room?! - MW)

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Above: If only I could throw my kart in there!

We finished by visiting the Administration area where I met Adam who wasn’t doing much at the time except I think he was packing up to go home.

It was a fantastic experience and I can now appreciate how much time and effort goes into making an Arrow. I want to thank Drew Price and Aaron for making it possible for me to visit DPE. The tour was the highlight of my school holidays.

Thank you.
Nick Aidonis

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Above: Rows and rows of parts

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Above: Assembly area

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Above: Karts ready for delivery

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Above: Machining area

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Above: Assembly from the other direction


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