JUNE MONTHLY MEETING, Drouin Golf Club – Thursday 9th June

The topic of future energy sources for vehicular propulsion seems to crop up regularly with the motoring press and last month we had Steve Defabrizio give us a glimpse of Tesla’s impressive battery-powered  Model S. This month we went right back to basics and invited Ian Maud to show and tell his Human Powered Vehicles (HPV) which are designed and built by senior students at St Paul’s Anglican Grammar School in Warragul for endurance races both here and interstate. As an extra-curricular activity, students work on the HPV projects after school, on weekends and during their term holidays.

Ian brought along three vehicles to display in the Golf Club’s dining room, they illustrated some of the different approaches and construction techniques that have been tried since Ian became involved in the program, 25 years ago.

One vehicle was built using small diameter aluminium tubing in a space-frame design; another was constructed as a monocoque using stressed alloy panels riveted together to form bulkheads and full-length side pontoons. A third, unfinished project, had been constructed from carbon fibre. All vehicles are steered through a pair of narrow-track front wheels, and driven by pedal power through a chain and sprockets to a single rear wheel. The rider is seated in a reclining position and covered by an aerodynamic cowling. Ian was critical of the increasingly burdensome regulations, which although increasing safety of the riders, tends to stifle creativity and experimentation. Unfortunately, some schools no longer design and build their own vehicles, opting instead to purchase fully built vehicles from commercial retailers; student involvement is then limited to riding and maintaining the machine. The original concept was to involve students in vehicle design and construction, as well as riding and pit crewing during the 12 and 24 hour endurance races. The St Paul’s machines proudly display a sticker ‘BUILT NOT BOUGHT’ and have received numerous awards for both design and construction.

The endurance events are very popular with students and some attract grids of 60 or more vehicles. Ian showed some short videos of the St Paul’s teams in action. They have contested 6, 12 and 24 hour events at Cranbourne, Wonthaggi, Maryborough, Murray Bridge (S.A.) and Hobart (Tas). The racing is close, the collisions spectacular and the pit stops just as frantic and the LeMans 24 hour. Well done Maudy, we need to involve the young’uns in projects like this so that they can appreciate and enjoy sports and classic motoring in their adulthood.

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