BendigoÕs Flora Hill Secondary College was victorious in three classes of the 24-hour endurance human-powered vehicle trial at the 18th RACV Energy Breakthrough event today.

Flora HillÕs ÒOld Bearded MateÓ team number 77 was first over the line and the winner of the Open Class trial. The College also took out the B1 Class in ÒBunyip HunterÓ and the B2 Class in ÒBrumÓ.

The All Female class was won by St MargaretÕs SchoolÕs entry ÒElectraÓ, and Class C was won by Bendigo Senior Secondary CollegeÕs ÒMAN-gentaÓ team.

RACV Energy BreakthroughÕs first international team from New Mexico, USA, were ecstatic with their seventh placing in the HPV B class and finishing in the top 30 overall. The team also won the Greenspeed ÒAgainst the OddsÓ award in recognition of their short preparation for the event.

Team manager Emily Ortiz said Team Pecos was very impressed with their experience at the event and the support given by BendigoÕs Weeroona College who supplied their vehicle.

Schools Event Coordinator, John Stafford, said the international flavour provided by Team Pecos lifted the event to a new level.

ÒIt has been a great experience for all of us I hope it will inspire other overseas teams to consider being involved in the future,Ó Mr Stafford said.

About 6000 enthusiastic primary and secondary students from 140 schools descended on Maryborough over the weekend for the RACV Energy Breakthrough event.

A total of 334 teams competed in self-built, human and hybrid-powered vehicles, as well as more basic pushcarts. During the year students and teachers worked hard to design and build their environmentally-friendly vehicles as part of the curriculum, often with the help of parents and local industry.

Energy Breakthrough involves three stages Ð presentations to judges, scrutineering of the vehicles by RACV engineers and track events for various categories.

Each team has eight riders and their vehicles can cover up to 800km along the 1.3 kilometre race circuit during the 24 hours.

RACV Event Coordinator, Ernest Litera, said the event had once again drawn a packed field of green machines that had collectively lifted the bar in terms of quality of design and construction.

ÒIt gets better every year, proving its success in achieving its goal of reinforcing teamwork from start to finish, and not just in the races,Ó Mr Litera said.