The irrepressible Damascus College Energy Breakthrough Team will take to the tarmac in a fundraising ride from Sydney to their hometown of Ballarat.

Their challenge is called ÒRode R.A.G.EÓ (Ride Against Greenhouse Emissions) and will see the students cover over 1000 km in 27 hours. Their ride will take in Goulburn, Canberra, Yass, Gundagai, Holbrook, Albury, Wangaratta, Seymour, Melton and Ballarat on their way from Sydney to Ballarat. TheyÕll be meeting Peter Garrett and appearing on Sunrise along the way as they raise awareness and dollars for charity.

ÒWhen we were developing the concept of Rode RAGE we were either going to do the ride quietly or make a song and dance about it.Ó Team Manager, Tony Davidson said. ÒWe thought itÕd be a great chance to raise awareness of climate change and so thought that the latter was a better option!Ó

The crew are raising funds for World VisionÕs Smiles gift catalogue and the Alternative Technology AssociationÕs International Projects team (ATA). The ATA connection makes sense Ð they provide sustainable energy solutions to communities in East Timor Ð but why Smiles?

ÒWhilst greenhouse issues are of great concern, we also wanted to respond to people who are starving right now and the goats through Smiles are a great way to do this.Ó Tony explained.

The goats are one of World VisionÕs most popular gifts and the excitement will be felt not just by the Damascus students, but also for the family who receives it. A goatÕs offspring can be sold for life-saving income and it can also produce protein-rich milk. Rode RAGE could see up to 12 goats heading to families in Southern Sudan.

As for the daunting prospect of the ride Ð Tony said theyÕll be aiming to average 40 km/h. ÒThe Great Dividing Range is our great unknown at this stage. If it was flat, I think we couldÕve averaged 50, but itÕs hard to say what toll those climbs will have.Ó

The RTA has also set a top speed limit of 90 km/h Ð which means theyÕll be unable to full unleash on the downhills. Their previous vehicles hit 115 km/h during the World Future Cycle Challenge (WFCC) in October last year in the run from Ceduna to Adelaide.

And so what next?

ÒWeÕre working on a vacuum moulding technique for a carbon fibre & Kevlar canopy, and once itÕs perfected weÕll be shaping up really nicely for the RACV Energy Breakthrough.Ó Tony says excitedly.

ÒBeyond that, Rode RAGE opens up the possibility of riding from Darwin to Adelaide or Lakes Entrance to Perth and to bring along other human powered vehicle teams such as Bendigo Youth Racing (, Bendigo Senior SC or Westminster College (Ó

Indeed, the Damascus team will be smiling and so will some families in Southern Sudan if they conquer Sydney to Ballarat.

Read the full report and pictures on STIR, World Vision’s online youth initiative.