2004 RACV Energy Break Through


27 November 2004

Not a Clue, Bean Bullett, Reloaded, Weighed Down, Ippa, 2Fat, Full Pelt and Spastic Yabby. That about describes it, the energy and competition at the annual RACV Energy Breakthrough 24 hour race for pedal powered streamliners held at Maryborough in country Victoria.

The RACV invited the Aurora team to display the famous Aurora 101 solar car at this huge event where efficiency rules. This was the fourth occasion that Aurora had visited Maryborough but the sheer size of this event and the student enthusiasm still surprises. This year the event attracted 300 entries from 150 schools. In fact the main event was for pedal powered vehicles only. A second 24 hour event on an adjacent 1.1 kilometre track attracted 33 hybrid entries where pedal power could be assisted with either petrol engines or electric motors. Aurora team members have participated in day long briefings for hybrid class entries in past years providing information on aerodynamics, sponsorship and mechanical systems.

The vehicle names are a must. Each streamliner has a character. The teams try their hardest. Twenty four hours of pedalling takes its toll.

Guest of Honour was the legendary Australian racing driver Peter Brock. He has won more Bathurst 1000 races than anybody and has a keen eye for good technology. He was mobbed. He also had the job of flagging off the main event

Peter Brock
Peter Brock waves the starting flag for the Energy Breakthrough


The RACV featured a former Bendigo based champion team in their hospitality suite. This team won the 24 hour race in Murray Bridge in 2003 and 2004.

Peter Brock tries the race seat
Peter Brock tries the race seat in the Bendigo Champion


Peter Brock is famous for a long term association with Holden but is genuinely interested in all competition, and the Ford-backed Aurora 101 solar car was no exception. Hamilton based Aurora driver Derrick Rodgers was very pleased to talk about his solar car lap records at two of the world's F1 race tracks; Suzuka and Shanghai. Peter Brock cheerfully signed Aurora posters for his young fans.

Aurora 101 driver Derrick Rodgers shares driver stories with Peter BrockAurora 101 driver Derrick Rodgers shares driver stories with Peter Brock
Aurora 101 driver Derrick Rodgers shares driver stories with Peter Brock

Signing Aurora 25 year posters for a young fan
Signing Aurora 25 year posters for a young fan


Over at the hybrid track several all-girl teams were more than obvious. Pink. Really pink. The Mater Christi College entrant was working well on its pit stops. Their male school teachers also had to wear pink but were right in the spirit of it.

Mater Christ College Ladybirds
Mater Christ College Ladybirds


The main race was won by Berwick Secondary College, with their car Firestorm covering 607 laps in the 24 hours. Ian Venables, a leading technical teacher at the school has assisted in building the Aurora solar car so we were hoping that they would do well. There will be a new event for pedal powered streamliners in Berwick next June.

So some entries were Weighed Down, some felt as though they had gone to Hell n Back, a few had Not a Clue and some drivers were a bit 2 Fat. Firestorm travelled fast and deserved its win.