As fuel prices hit record highs of up to $1.30/litre across the state this weekend, hundreds of Queensland’s most inventive students were racing alternative transport machines of the future.

Human powered vehicles, AustraliaÕs first miniature solar trains, solar boats and cars, CO2 dragsters and even a miniature F1-11 rocket powered by carbon dioxide were all part of the Holden Maryborough Technology Challenge.

ÒOne day petrol-powered vehicles may be a thing of the past and thereÕs every chance it will be one of these students who designed the alternative,Ó event organiser Kim Griffith said.

A crowd of around five thousands lined the streets of MaryboroughÕs historic inner city for QueenslandÕs premier youth and technology event.

ÒThis is the only event of its kind in Queensland where students focus on transport options and alternative energy. These challenges take students beyond the boundaries of the classroom and into the real world,Ó Mrs Griffith said.

It was this aspect of the Technology Challenge which this year attracted major funding from Holden Australia, who saw the event as a way of encouraging AustraliaÕs future engineers identify new technologies and power trains to help protect the environment.

The feature event of the Technology Challenge, the an adrenalin-fuelled, action-packed, QueenslandÕs 24-Hour Human Powered Vehicle Championships, was this year won by Centenary Heights State School from Toowoomba in a closely fought battle with second place Maryborough High team Allweld Rhinos.

Tannum Sands High School completed 537 laps in the 24 hours, setting a new course record for the fastest lap of 2.01mins.

Students from around 60 schools competed in the state championship which required them to design, build and then race the HPV for 24 hours using pedal power around the closed street circuit.

Nicolas Mejia from St Lawrence College, Brisbane, said he was amazed by the event. ÒThe most I got out of it was the teamwork, you learn how to react and get along with others, and the skills and the organisation you needed,Ó he said.

His teacher Tony Royle said it was great to see all the different technologies in the one place. It is the first time the school has competed. ÒWeÕll definitely be back next year,Ó Mr Royle said.

The Holden Maryborough Technology Challenge also included three other state titles – the Queensland CO2 Dragster Championships, the State Model Solar Cars Championships and the Queensland Solar Model Boats State Championships which had almost 100 entries.

The State Solar Model Cars Championship and the winner of the Institute of Engineers Perpetual Trophy was St LukeÕs Anglican School, Bundaberg.

Teams from Shalom College of Bundaberg won the Solar Train and the Solar Boat championships.

The first four place getters in the solar cars will go on to represent Queensland the national titles in Melbourne in November.

Before the furious action of the Human Powered Vehicle Race, some of AustraliaÕs best cyclists competed over a 1.4 kilometre closed street circuit (the same as the HPV Circuit) for $3,000 prize money in the HyneÕs Timber Cycle City Challenge.

This A Grade Criterium event was won by Jarron Poad who broke away after six laps, with Steve George the only real challenger in second place.

The quality field set some of the fastest times in the raceÕs history, averaging 1.40minutes per lap, compared to 1.45mins last year.

Comedy acts, magicians, street theatre, rock bands, fireworks and karaoke made up the entertainment program for the Holden Maryborough Technology Challenge!

The Holden Maryborough Technology Challenge is a joint initiative of the Maryborough City Council, Maryborough State High School and Bundaberg State High School.

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