The RACV EnergyBreakthrough, an annual ‘human powered vehicle’ (HPV)24 hour event attracts hundreds of entries and thousands of visitors each year and is the highlight of the school calendar for participating schools across Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and Tasmania. The event is held annually in the Central Goldfields town of Maryborough, Victoria. In 2006 there will be ten prior events starting with the Wonthaggi HPV Grand Prix 24-26 February. A South African team comes out for the Maryborough climax and Sydney is also showing interest.
The South African website http://www.energybreakthrough.org.za describes the event colourfully:
“Most of the teams are not here to win. They know from the outset that their small steps on the journey to Energybreakthough will not take them there…. this year! But they are there to finish. To finish a journey that is not about racing but about learning. Learning Maths and Science and Technology… And learning life. Learning to ask and plan and account. Learning about bodies and eating and teamwork. Learning to tell and show and inspire. Learning about Energy!
As the pace car sets off to take the racers to the start flag it is Energy that dominates the Breakthrough. The energy of the teams! The energy of crowds! The energy of the racers! For 24 hours they will push their bodies to the limits, seeking to breakthrough.
The pit crews wait to pull exhausted riders from the vehicles and stuff enthusiastic replacements into the hot seats. The sun will not relent until much later but darkness will only bring some welcome coolness. The race will not stop! The pit crews will work through the night supplying food and drink. Massaging weary legs. Repairing broken vehicles and cheering dispirited riders. The energy in the pit lane is the sustenance that keeps them going. It becomes what is remembered and treasured for years to come.”
The design/construct/race involves a 3 or 4 wheeled ‘recumbent’ vehicle and teams of 8 people. A test of endurance for the vehicles and the competitors, the challenge is to beat Bendigo Secondary College’s 2001 ‘Battered Sav’ record of 643 laps (835 kms)averaging 45.55km/h around the 1.34 km track in Maryborough over 24 hours. There are 5 categories:
1)Pushcarts – for primary students, based on the old ‘billycart’
2)Innovations in Technology
3)Human Powered Vehicles
4)Hybrid Powered Vehicles – human power plus electricity or petrol assistance
5)Try-athalon Teams participate in the Display & Presentation and Design & Construction sections plus three physical tests
iii)8 hour endurance trial
Competitors have to present their vehicles to a panel of judges for scrutineering of safety features before being allowed to race.
The RACV Energy Breakthrough encourages the use of the latest technology and consideration of its impact on the environment and the way people live locally and globally. Students, teachers, parents and local industry can work together to design and construct a vehicle, a machine or an innovation in technology that will represent an energy breakthrough.
The program is jointly managed by the Department of Education, the Country Education Project, Central Goldfields Shire Council – Maryborough. RACV is the major sponsor in an impressive list.
FOR MORE INFO VISIT http://www.racvenergybreakthrough.net