Students gear up to race human-powered vehicles

Students from Bundaberg State High School created this video of last year's HPV Super Sprint race event.

Up to 400 students from across Queensland are gearing up for a six hour human-powered vehicle race in Bundaberg later this month.

The HPV Super Sprint will take place on April 26 at the Dromeside Kart track on University Drive with Bundaberg State High School hosting round one of the event.

The school's manual arts teacher Gregory Smith is one of the brains behind the event and said the race would feature teams of students from Years 7 to 12.

“There will be eight students per team taking turns to keep their vehicles going for six hours,” he said.

“Breakdowns, repairs, blown tires — the students have to handle these issues as they go.

“In the hours leading up to the start of a race the teams and vehicles have to pass inspections just like race cars.”

Vehicles make their way around the track in last year's event

Gregory said the round one race was part of a bigger event called the Queensland HPV Super Series.

“Eight official races are held around Queensland and run under the one set of rules and regulations with all results contributing to an overall state championship,” he said.

“Our students are super excited about travelling to new tracks and competing for a state championship which gives their sport more recognition.”

Positive influence on community

Gregory said the event in Bundaberg would not only benefit those involved, but also the wider region.

“In the lead-up to our race there will be teams turning up from all over Queensland — 20 teams made up of 400 students, half of whom will camp at the track which will bring money into the town,” he said.

human powered vehicle
Students inspect their vehicle before the big race last year.

Gregory said students had been preparing for months, with the maintenance of each vehicle built into Bundaberg State High School's curriculum.

“The students in our schools trade training program do all the rebuilds and major repairs to the racing vehicles each year,” he said.

“Some of these students join the teams to race them as well.

“These students get to learn more about vehicle repairs, and modifications which increases their personal skill level and chances of finding an apprenticeship when they leave school.”

Mr Smith said the event has grown considerably since its inception in Bundaberg a few years ago.

“We used to only attract students from the industrial arts subjects, maybe totalling 18 to 24 students,” he said.

“Now that we sell it as a school sport with professional racing vehicles our students number into the 50s to 60s that turn up for start of the year try-outs.

“We have also bern able to be more inclusive with running all-girls teams and a team for students with disabilities.”

Maintenance is a must when it comes to this racing event.

What is HPV racing?

HPV racing has been in Queensland for 30 years and was first established in Brisbane.

The race events feature vehicles which can only be powered by human movement, like bicycles.

The Queensland races are at Bundaberg, Yeppoon, Mackay, Emerald, Willowbank, Benaraby, Maryborough and the last race of the season is in Toowoomba.