Following up our recent feature on the Woodleigh School, we’ve turned the spotlight on the untouchable Queensland team from Ormeau Woods State High School. They swept all before them in a smooth and fast display to take line honours with their pedal and electric powered Energy Efficient Vehicle.

RACVEB: Congratulations! How did it feel to take Line Honours at the 2016 RACV Energy Breakthrough in the 24 hour trial?

Nick McKenzie and Glen Armstrong (OWSHS): To take line honours was an amazing feeling, knowing all of the hard work and dedication had paid off. There was an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and pride that our school could travel for two days to get to Maryborough and mix it with the best.

We were ecstatic about the way our team and bike performed, starting in pole position, avoiding any rollovers and retaining the number one position for the full 24 hours.

Initially we were unsure if we could successfully charge the batteries adequately as the rules between RACQ and RACV are different. We knew we had speed as we had previously been clocked at 70kph in QLD, but a new track is a different matter. We were pleasantly surprised by the improvements to the Maryborough circuit for 2016.

Above Right: Overall 2016 Trial Winners, Ormeau Woods State High School with their pedal and electric powered vehicle; Left: HPV leading team, Woodleigh School

RACVEB: Tell us more about your vehicle – what was the frame made of? What type of motor did it have?

OWSHS: Our vehicle was researched, designed and fabricated by a STEM class at Ormeau Woods SHS in conjunction with a professional frame engineering firm, HRTC trikes. Every aspect on this vehicle had been thought about and tested.

From tyre pressure to centre of gravity (rolling points) and even materials, this vehicle was made to perform. The frame was constructed from Chro-moly with, with Carbon/Kevlar reinforced safety panels, then covered in wrapped Corflute.

The hybrid engine was a mid-mount, 1000W, 48V electric engine connected through the standard trike running gear and powered by a 48V 11.6 amp hour battery. The bike is a 10 speed.

2016: EBTV Interview with the Ormeau Woods State High School Team

RACVEB: Tell us a bit about your team: How old were the team members? What experience did they have before coming to Maryborough, Victoria?

OWSHS: The team members that participated as the Ormeau Woods Road Runners team were 15 and 16 years old. Every member was specifically selected through a series of trainings at least twice a week; riding between 30km – 60km before school, performance throughout the year and also behaviour.

Training also included overnight sessions in the rain to ensure riders were prepared for adverse weather conditions. Every member in our team had raced a HPV before, but not all members had raced the hybrid. Many of the riders had moved through our junior teams to senior racing over the past 4 years. The school has a very dedicated group of staff who have built the HPV program that has regularly enjoyed success as QLD champions.


RACVEB: Tell us more about the RACQ Technology Challenge in Queensland: Would you be keen to see more Victorian teams make the trip up there?

OWSHS: The RACQ Technology Challenge in Queensland has been a great event for all in the past and I am sure will continue to be a great event in the years to come. The atmosphere isn’t only competitive, but also friendly. Students meet new people and interact with teams from all over the state, even the occasional interstate team. The tough rivalries riders face on the track are a challenge, but that is what makes the gruelling 24 hour race so exciting.

It would be great to see more interstate teams come up to Queensland to participate in the RACQ Technology Challenge for not only the challenge, but the atmosphere and interstate rivalry as well.

We have had Victorian teams travel up twice over the last three years. We have a SA team interested in travelling up this year after coming up last year for a look.

Our track is very different to the RACV track, we have a significant hill and our main straight is downhill into a tight hairpin turn which tests the preparation and skill of riders.

RACVEB: What advice would you have for others schools taking on an energy efficient vehicle in the future?

OWSHS: The advice I would give to other schools taking on the challenge of racing an energy efficient vehicle (EEB) in the future would be to:

  • make sure you are confident with your bike and the way it performs,
  • go your hardest, and
  • most importantly have fun!

Keep it simple! That is what I believe was our key to success, the less that can go wrong the better. This does mean attention to detail in the preparation phase. We benefited from researching our battery/motor combos thoroughly.

RACVEB: Do you think you’ll return to the Energy Breakthrough in the future?

OWSHS: The organisers at the Energy Breakthrough have been extremely helpful in assisting us to make the trip. In particular Marty Mark and Alisha Chadwick have been exceptional to work with and we have always enjoyed great hospitality. We are very keen to continue our relationship, but it is always dependent upon finance for the long road trip, freight of our vehicle and food and accommodation along the way. We have been fortunate to have some loyal sponsors to assist us in this regard.

RACVEB: And for for 2017?

OWSHS: Our 2016 EEV winning team will need to reform with younger students as some students are now in year 12 and that presents a small dilemma. In Queensland, we finish school a few weeks before the schools in Victoria, and the year 12 formal and graduation dates clash with the race dates.

As an indication of student enthusiasm and commitment, in the past, riders have gone to the formal for an hour, rushed to the airport, caught a flight to Melbourne, drove to Maryborough, arrived at camp at 3am and raced the next day. What students will do when they really love what they are doing!