EnergyBreakthrough South Africa

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The midday sun beats down on the dusty track - on the crews clustered round their sleek vehicles. On the umbrellas held, shading drivers strapped into tight cockpits. On the marshals and the crowds. The pace vehicle is waiting at the head of the double queue that stretches itself out in the heat. You can feel the excitement - pulses beating, mouths dry - waiting. But it is strangely quiet. No noise of revving engines. No smell of high octane gasoline.

It is the start of the 2005 RACV Energybreakthrough in Maryborough, Victoria.

The vehicles on the track are the work of the teams that are racing them. The teams are not million dollar racing outfits but rather students, teachers, parents, friends and community from schools around the state of Victoria, Australia. And on this track success is not measured in kilowatts but in the passion and heart and sole that is poured into everything that is Energybreakthrough!

Most of the teams are not here to win. They know from the outset that their small steps on the journey to Energybreakthough will not take them there.... this year! But they are there to finish. To finish a journey that is not about racing but about learning. Learning Maths and Science and Technology... And learning life. Learning to ask and plan and account. Learning about bodies and eating and teamwork. Learning to tell and show and inspire. Learning about Energy!

As the pace car sets off to take the racers to the start flag it is Energy that dominates the Breakthrough. The energy of the teams! The energy of crowds! The energy of the racers! For 24 hours they will push their bodies to the limits, seeking to breakthrough. For months they have pursued this goal. Their preparation and enthusiasm becoming a storehouse of energy that spills over as the flag signals the beginning of 24 hours that will test them to the limits!
The pit crews wait to pull exhausted riders from the vehicles and stuff enthusiastic replacements into the hot seats. The sun will not relent until much later but darkness will only bring some welcome coolness. The race will not stop! The pit crews will work through the night supplying food and drink. Massaging weary legs. Repairing broken vehicles and cheering dispirited riders. The energy in the pit lane is the sustenance that keeps them going. It becomes what is remembered and treasured for years to come.

'Crash Corner' waits like a hungry lion... er... angry kangaroo? Well, whatever, it is the mean one on the course. It is there to trip the weary racer! As you swoop into the corner the camber rolls awkwardly to the off side and then the slight bump of the gutter attacks from below. Slightly too fast and you  raise your inside wheel. A little quiver of excitement that bumps and shivers through your body. A little faster and you are in a gut wrenching slide that sends you into the barriers and has the marshals jumping to their flags and their lights.
Racing at night becomes a meditation. The blinking lights, the eerie cheeping and twittering sound of the various warning signals as the vehicles pass each other. The moon rising. The shadowy shapes of spectators. The welcome pool of light as you pull in to the pit lane. And always the track stretching out before you - sometimes crowded, sometimes lonely as it stretches out empty before you. The sun returning as morning creeps up.

At last the checkered flag waves the weary heroes to a rest. 24 hours of energy - a breakthrough that will be a memory forever. Not just a race but a journey that has tested, taught and thrilled. Not just 24 hours but weeks and months of team work. Are you going to be part of The Breakthrough?

Where did EnergyBreakthrough start?

The RACV EnergyBreakthrough is held annually in the state of Victoria, Australia. It was started by the Country Education Project and is run with the assistance of the RACV. It attracts hundreds of entries and thousands of visitors each year and is the highlight of the school calendar for participating schools!