St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar School and Kingswood College have finished tied in the 2013 RACV Energy Breakthrough 24-hour Human Powered Vehicle Open category.

Berwick Grammar School Year 10 student, 16 year old Stefan Cotraneo said coming second last year made the team hungrier for a win in this year’s challenge.

“Our team motto was ‘Every Crash is Avoidable’. We weren’t aiming for the fastest lap time.  Our aim was consistency; to stay on all three wheels and be alert to all the potential obstacles ahead,” he said.

Kingswood College Year 12 student, 18 year old Patrick Ferguson said it was hard to describe the team’s excitement at winning after months of hard work.

“I think what got us over the line was commitment from everyone in the team, really good riders and a fantastic pit crew,” he said.

Despite the mixed weather conditions across the four days of events held at Princes Park Maryborough, the teams set a cracking pace on the track.

Schools Event Co-ordinator John Stafford said the teams demonstrated a fantastic ability to adapt to the ever changing track conditions; competing under sunny skies and sporadic rainfall.

“Across the event students have also demonstrated their understanding of science, technology and the environment and the way these young people have represented their schools and communities is a credit to them,” he said.

During the year students and teachers designed and built their environmentally-friendly vehicles as part of the school’s curriculum, often with the help of parents and local industry.

Competitors also develop team work skills, improve their fitness, and learn about the importance of a healthy diet and regular physical exercise as part of their training for the event.

A total of 345 school teams and approximately 6000 students competed in self-built, human and hybrid-powered vehicles as well as more humble pushcarts. More than 12,000 spectators turned out to support students and enjoy the action.

A new record lap time was set by Eaglehawk Secondary College with Year 10 student 16 year old Dylan Hanley covering the 1.34km track in 1 minute 35 seconds at an average speed of 50.4 km/hr.

The action wasn’t all pedal powered. Cobden Technical School’s hybrid vehicles were the clear leaders; crossing the line First and Second in the 24-hour Energy Efficient Vehicle Trial.

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

The event has become renowned as Australia’s “Green Grand Prix”, the premier science, technology and environment event sparking student interest in these areas by offering a hands-on experience.

RACV Event Co-ordinator Ernest Litera said teams continued to impress the organisers with their well thought out vehicle construction and design.

“Every year we are amazed at the quality of the vehicles. The event is all about teamwork through all aspects of the trial and it’s evident that goal is being met by the teams and the schools involved,” he said.

The success of RACV Energy Breakthrough was recognised earlier this month, with last year’s event being named the state’s Best Event or Festival at the Victorian Tourism Awards ceremony in Melbourne.