Students win 24 hour tech race
REACHING a top speed of 55kmh and cycling roughly the equivalent of Maryborough to Brisbane and back again, a team of seven riders from St Mary’s College claimed first place in the open boys section of the 24-hour human powered vehicle race of RACQ Technology Challenge Maryborough.
Many of the year 12 members of the Fast Forward team had been trying since year 8 to win the race so it was a sweet victory for them.
“It was worth the five-year wait,” team member Tom Kay said after the race, having slept only four hours and completed five stints on the bike.
The team’s sleek yellow machine zipped around the 1.4km track 490 times before the chequered flag fell on the race at noon yesterday.
They captured the lead in the first hour of the event and never relinquished it, finishing 44 laps ahead of Nanango State High School’s The Supermen team.
Beginning a new trend this year, the overall winner was named from the ‘Design it, Make it, Build it’ section and Tannum Sands State School’s 4x2s team were the victors.
Manual arts teacher Gary Hill said the students had been working on the bike since the start of the year and spent countless hours building it and training for the race.
The school brought nine vehicles, 72 students, camping supplies and a host of helpers, including parents and two masseurs, to the race – a three hour drive from their home base near Gladstone in central Queensland.
Race director Ross Humphries said the race had to be stopped twice briefly – once about an hour into the race on Saturday to let the ambulance collect a slightly concussed competitor who had crashed (but later returned to the course as a spectator) and early yesterday morning when a sign fell down.
But he said the event was fantastic and he had been impressed by the sportsmanship and camaraderie shown by the 99 teams competing.
“While the racing is hard and determined, the competitors always play fair,” he said.
“Seeing hundreds of young people working in teams, supporting each other and trying their best to design and build their entries and achieve success makes you realise that our future is in good hands.”