The 2008 Victorian Model Solar Vehicle Challenge

Paul Wellington, Chair VMSVC

The 19th Victorian Model Solar Vehicle Challenge was held at Scienceworks on October 18th and 19th, 2008. Forty four student designed Cars, 28 Advanced Boats, 109 Junior Boats (51 from regional schools & 58 from metropolitan schools) and 32 Sheridan event kit cars were entered from 59 schools along with 2 non-school entries. A feature of this year’s event was the exhibition of Aurora, Victoria’s entry in the World Solar Challenge which came third behind the ultra expensive Dutch car, Nuna 4 with an average speed of over 85 kph all the way from Darwin to Adelaide.

Saturday afternoon was hot and sunny after a cloudy morning, enabling the student designed cars to set fast times in the last 2 round robin races, with a fastest time of 18.6 seconds for the 100 metre distance being set with 80% of full sun by Box Hill High School’s NFG.

The Junior Metropolitan boats raced in the Saturday afternoon sunshine, and set fast times. Two pools were used for the round robin and the first knockout rounds, before the top boats from the 2 groups raced off. Birmingham PS almost scooped the pool with three of their boats, “The Dark Knight, The Daring Devils and Electric Angels” finishing first, second and third respectively, with “Totally Technical” from Springview PS coming 4th.

However, Sunday proved to be a very cloudy day with 40% solar energy being the maximum available. Accordingly, times for both cars and boats were much slower than the Saturday.

The Junior boats from regional schools saw a number of new and very small schools make a strong impact. Four boats from a regional event held in September at Bannockburn PS provided formidable opposition to entries from Geelong College and the one teacher Boorhaman PS (near Wangaratta). The catamaran from Newlyn PS was the first boat driven by an air propeller ever to reach the last 6. However, the final saw “Lethbridge 1” from Lethbridge PS come first, “Legends” from Bannockburn PS come second and “Phar Lap” from Boorhaman come third. The top 6 boats from the metropolitan section were invited to return on the Sunday and the metropolitan boats proved just a bit too good for the regional boats with “The Dark Night, Electric Angels and Daring Devils”, all from Birmingham coming first, third and fourth with “Prestissimo” from Ruskin Park PS coming second.

The Advanced Boat race was also held on Sunday with “Black Magic and Highwind(2)” from Benalla SC coming first and second with a non-school team, the 1st Red Hill Scout group entering “Gunshot” which came third and “Foop”, again from Benalla coming 4th. The early rounds for the Sheridan event for Kit Cars was held as a pursuit, with cars starting on opposite sides of an oval track, with the faster cars catching the slower ones. Unfortunately they had to resort to battery power when the very low sun levels were too low for meaningful performance as these cars have small solar panels and no electronic controllers. However “TEP” from Glenferrie PS proved too good for “Little Miss Sunshine” from Camberwell PS, with third place going to “Blur” from Camberwell with “Burnanator” from Elwood SC coming 4th.

With some cars unable to start on the Sunday, 6 cars were automatically given byes in the first knockout round, leaving the remaining 20 cars to battle for the 10 remaining places in round 2. The gloomy conditions saw a number of entries unable to climb the hill, and even the fastest cars were taking well over 20 seconds to reach the finish line.

Four cars, two from Box Hill HS, and 1 from Syndal South PS and Melbourne HS defeated “Fab Go Go Mobile” and “NFG” from Box Hill, “Ethereal” from Genazzano FCJ College, and “Red” from Geelong Grammar. In the 2 lap semi-finals “My Little Pony” from Box Hill HS beat its stablemate “NOBN” in the first semi-final with “Velox” from Melbourne HS defeating “Catch Me If You Can” from Syndal South PS in the second. These top cars were able to climb the hill and complete the 186 metre, 2 lap journey in under 50 seconds, even with solar intensity under 40%. In the final, My Little Pony went onto narrowly defeat Velox.

In addition to the main prizes, a range of discretionary prizes were awarded for best uniforms, team work etc. which are all separately listed under the Results drop down menu on the site

Victoria sent 7 cars, 4 advanced boats and 6 junior boats to the national finals held in Hobart on November 22nd and 23rd, with the wildcard car “NOBN” from Box Hill HS winning with “Velox” from Melbourne HS coming second. This was the first year a Victorian car had won, although an earlier iteration of Velox had come 2nd in 2007. “Daring Devils” from Birmingham won the junior Boat Race with Benalla College’s “Black Magic” winning the Advanced Boat race.

All in all, it was a very good year for Model Solar Car and Boat racing in Victoria.

 The results from the event are as follows:

Student Designed Cars

 Prize School  Team Name 
1st place Box Hill HS My Little Pony
2nd place Melbourne HS Velox 
3rd place Box Hill HS Excelsior
4th place Syndal South PS Catch Me If You Can
Best Poster Geelong College D8
Best Styled Gennazano  The Dragon Fly 
Best Engineered Syndal South PS Catch Me If You Can
Best Styled Billanook College Billanook 1
Best Entry from a New School Bayside College
Geelong Baptist College


Sheridan Kit Cars

 Prize School  Team Name 
1st place Glenferrie PS TEP
2nd place Camberwell PS Little Miss Sunshine
3rd place Camberwell PS Blur
4th place Ellwood College Birmanator
Best Styled Benalla SC Mr Cobra
Best Team Effort Sandringham SC  


Advanced Boats

 Prize School  Team Name 
1st place Benalla College Black Magic
2nd place Benalla College Highwind 2
3rd place 1st Red Hill Scouts The Gun Shot
4th place Benalla College FOOP
Best Poster Gisborne SC Butterfly
Best Use of Materials Benalla College Speedy Eye
Most Innovate Design Benalla College Snow White
Best First Entry 1st Red Hill Scouts  
Best Uniform Geeloing Baptist College Torpedo


Junior Boats

 Prize School  Team Name 
1st place Birmingham PS The Dark Night
2nd place Ruskin Park PS Prestissimo
3rd place Birmingham PS Electric Angels
4th place Birmingham PS  Daring Devils


Junior Boats (Metropolitan)

 Prize School  Team Name 
1st place Birmingham PS The Dark Night
2nd place Birmingham PS The Daring Devils
3rd place Birmingham PS Electric Angels
4th place Springview PS  
Best Poster Syndal South PS Banana Boat
Best Use of Materials Spensley St. The Grim Reaper's Speed Boat
Most Innovative Design Flemington PS Mr. Whizzy


Junior Boats (Regional)

 Prize School  Team Name 
1st place Lethbridge PS Lethbridge 1
2nd place Bannockburn PS Legends
3rd place Boorhaman PS Pharlap
Best Team Uniform Gellong College Lightning Bolt
Best Use of Materials Warragul North PS C.S.George
Most Innovative Design Gellong Baptist College SS Filthmuck
Best First Entry Lethbridge PS Lethbridge 1
Lethbridge 2846