Chief organiser of the CO2 dragster competition Keith Holledge and official Ryan Knight keep their eyes on the dragsters as they blast out to an equivalent speed of 60kmh.
Chief organiser of the CO2 dragster competition Keith Holledge and official Ryan Knight keep their eyes on the dragsters as they blast out to an equivalent speed of 60kmh. Valerie Horton

Tech challenge safety proofed

ABOUT 550 bales of hay, some 520 water-filled barriers from Brisbane and about 700 metres of chain mesh and crowd control fencing are part of the recipe for keeping this weekend's Maryborough Technology Challenge safe for competitors and spectators.

Event co-ordinator Kim Griffith said 102 vehicles would contest the headline 24-hour human powered vehicle race which has flooded Maryborough with more than 1000 students from around Queensland who are competing in the event.

The jam-packed Maryborough Technology Challenge also plays host to solar model car and boat championships, a pushcart contest, model CO2-powered dragster races, robot dance, rescue and speed challenges, a cycling event, fireworks, entertainment, a skate ramp and a technology expo.

The tech challenge has grown so big it is now the state's biggest student sporting event.

Maryborough State High School's two sports ovals have been turned into a tent city for 1200 or so campers and organisers have also set up a timing control centre, hospitality tents, a stage, spectator stands and a double overhead pedestrian bridge in Kent Street.

Fraser Coast Regional Council staff also built a tarseal ramp over the railway tracks at the entrance and exit of McDowell car park to create a challenging hairpin turn for HPV competitors.

Ms Griffith said she believed the event had reached its limit at 102 vehicles because the track could not take any more.

She said the event usually attracted between 10,000 and 12,000 spectators and, in keeping with the energy-saving spirit of the event, she encouraged people to walk or ride their bicycles to the Technology Challenge.

Mr Griffith said time trials for the model dragsters, which could reach speeds of up to 140kmh, were held yesterday ahead of the heats and finals today.



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