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Community & Business

6 September, 2022

CSHS students racing around the clock

Students at Clifton State High School (CSHS) have taken to a new pursuit, racing a Human Powered Vehicle (HPV) for a gruelling 16 hours non-stop.

The Junior Boys HPV in action at the Toowoomba event.

Somewhat like a bicycle, HPVs use the muscle power of cycling to propel forward a vehicle that looks like something out of Star Wars.

Many high schools across Queensland, including Clifton, build these vehicles and race against each other in the Queensland Pedal Prix Super Series.

The final round of the series was held recently in Toowoomba at the criterium circuit in Glenvale.

Teacher Matthew McCurdy, who is involved with the HPV teams, said the teams operate on a relay style format running continuously for the 16 hour duration of the race. 

Mr McCcurdy said the course was a “challenging undulating parkour” and conditions varied from a warm, sunny start to an extremely cold, rainy night. 

Riders ride for 30 minutes to 1.5 hours at a time,  with students swapping over and being assisted by a pit crew.

Students only get between two and three hours’ sleep during the race.

Mr McCurdy said  the race requires significant planning, training and race organisation. 

This year was the first year they had two teams participating - a Junior and
a Senior team.

The Junior team ‘I dunno’ completed 370 laps of the course (403km), finishing in 12th place overall, 2nd in the Junior category and setting the Junior category lap record, achieved by Bon Batham at an average speed of almost 40km/h.

The Senior team ‘Bessie’ completed 360 laps of the course (392 km) and finished 13th place overall out of 40 entrants.

Principal Lou Oberholzer said CSHS is looking to take it to the next level in 2023, participating in three races - the super series, and is looking for sponsorship opportunities to help cover the cost of travel and other expenses.

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