Parade College is celebrating itÕs 10th trip to the RACV Energy Breakthrough with a brand new sleek vehicle titled – ÔTop GunÕ. The vehicle is the collegeÕs Open entry and features 16 inch wheels at the front and the rear.

Co-ordinator Neil Papageorgiou proudly talked up the studentÕs achievements and commitment in 2005, with the schoolÕs two teams Ð one senior, made up of year 10 Ð 12 students and one junior team, made up of students in year 7-9. ÒItÕs a pretty effective system Ð the older boys really help and teach the younger students. ItÕs that passing on of knowledge and experience which makes the program worthwhile.Ó

The team will be lead by mavericks David Tippet, Matthew Jessop and Damian De Vincentis with program run as an extra-curricular activity. Students have given up their free time throughout the year to fundraise, design & construct the vehicle and complete their fitness and safety program.

The total cost of the vehicle is estimated to be around $6,000 Ð from a total Breakthrough campaign budget of $8,000 – with the vehicle constructed using Fibre Glass, Chro-Moly and mild steel. The cost of the new vehicle was covered by sponsors, the Parade community and fundraising which included Ôfish tastingÕ evenings. ÒThey were fantastic evenings held at the school. People came and tasted different fish with different sauces. It was a pretty unique way of fundraising, but the students really enjoyed running it.Ó Mr Papageorgiou said.

The students at Parade College designed and developed the canopy with

Damien De Vincentis worked directly with Don Elliot of Reflex fairings to design the new fiberglass canopy. DamienÕs design incorporated Top GunÕs dimensions and the aerodynamic shape wanted by the team. Don then produced a new mould for the Parade team Ð ÒThis is actually the first canopy to come out of that new mould and the build quality is exceptional for a Ôfirst-timeÕ. The vehicle is resplendent in purple and green Ð the collegeÕs livery.

After 10 years of designing and constructing, there are always new rules to consider and designs to evolve: ÒOne of the trickier rules weÕve had to deal with this year is with the new side-intrusion bars. WeÕve had a number of other schools call us and discuss how they interpret that rule Ð but I believe our design is strong and compliant.Ó Neil said.

Students were primarily involved in chasing sponsorship Ð which was greatly boosted with a DVD made by one their students from the 2004 event. Neil explains: ÒSponsors and parents just donÕt understand until they see things like that DVD, it captures the excitement and scope of the event in a way words cannot.Ó

Keep an eye out for the Top Gun at this yearÕs Energy Breakthrough, it may well see them finishing higher than their 2004 Open entry Spit Fire Ð which was 14 th overall in the class.

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To share your school’s preparation for the RACV Energy Breakthrough – send a short article and photo to Nigel Preston