Girton Racing Team makes breakthrough at Maryborough

29 November 2023

The Girton Racing Team (GRT) has achieved outstanding results at the 2023 Maryborough Energy Breakthrough, a gruelling 24-hour event that draws competitors from close to 100 schools around the state to race human-powered and energy-efficient vehicles of their own design.

Girton entered three teams in the annual event, which concluded on Sunday 26 November. Team Xception, racing an energy-efficient vehicle powered by an electric motor, was crowned overall winner of their category. Team In-Sync, racing a hybrid vehicle, finished 7th. Team Intrepid, racing a solely human-powered vehicle, finished 16th.

Despite the wet and muddy conditions and a spate of mechanical issues seeing Team Xception lose time in the pit, they persevered and managed to claw their way back in dramatic fashion to cross the finish line in second place behind Bendigo Senior Secondary College.

It wasn’t until the awards presentation on Sunday afternoon that the team learned they had been awarded overall winner thanks to their excellent scores in the ‘Design and Construction’ and ‘Display’ categories.

Girton Racing Team coordinator Mr Nigel Vernon said Xception was elated with the win after a series of mishaps and technical difficulties in 2022 resulted in them losing their lead and receiving runner-up.

It was also a fitting end of the road for the four members of the team who have just graduated Year 12 – Christian Iuliano, Lincon Hocking, Liam Jones and Matthew Saxon – after having raced together since Year 7.

The Maryborough Energy Breakthrough is the highlight event for the Girton Racing Team, with students working throughout the year to design, build and test their machines within detailed specifications.

This year, countless hours have been spent training at the Tom Flood Velodrome and Bendigo Go Kart Track. This has helped to build a strong camaraderie within the team, which Mr Vernon says functions more like a family than a co-curricular activity.

“It is a tight-knit club of students and adults who all come together to make each and every race meeting a success, both on the track and in the pits,” Mr Vernon says.

“It is not a co-curriculum that one simply turns up to for a couple of hours a week. It takes a full commitment of time and energy to not only train but attend weekend races in various locations around Victoria and South Australia.”

The team has grown into a thriving community within Girton over many years, with the students supported by several passionate staff members as well as their own families.

This includes Robin Kirby, who is described by Mr Vernon as “the heart of the club”, despite his son Lucas having graduated from Girton a number of years ago.

Both Robin and Lucas provide engineering support that is critical to the team’s success, with Lucas having since transformed the love of racing and automotive engineering developed through the GRT into a successful career as Lead Project Engineer at Garry Rogers Motorsport.

More than simply racing, Mr Vernon says an important aspect of the GRT is the values it instills in students, who are encouraged to be collaborative, innovative in their use of the latest technologies, and considerate of their impact on the environment.

“So much of the GRT is learning life lessons – leadership, teamwork, coping with adversity, keeping your head in the game, and being committed to supporting not only each other but our competitors,” he says.



Team Xception
Category: Energy Efficient Vehicle – Electric Vehicle
Placing: Overall winner
Score: 91.6/100
Team members: Charlie Baker, Harrison Phillips, Lincon Hocking, Liam Jones, Matthew Saxon and Christian Iuliano

Team In-Sync
Category: Energy Efficient Vehicle – Pedal-Electric
Placing: 7
Score: 65.5/100
Team members: Hayden Foster, Eiliyah Daneen, Bella Draper, Sebastien Loraine, Henry Hall and Chloe Phillips

Team Intrepid
Category: Human Powered Vehicles (Secondary) – B2
Placing: 17
Score: 53.3/100
Team members: Jack Pickering, Teagan Whiteman, Lily Middlemis, Emily Currie and Dylan Currie