Uniacke brothers win title at Victorian Model Solar Vehicle Challenge

By Ashlea Witoslawski

Although water is scarce on the Uniacke family property in Marionvale, nothing could stop the group from achieving boating glory in the 2019 Victorian Model Solar Vehicle Challenge on Sunday.

Competing under the name of Uniacke Solar Boats, brothers Haydn, 13, and Mason, 11, took out the Victorian title in the Advanced Boats section of the challenge with an undefeated racing record.

Celebrating 30 years, the annual competition is held at Scienceworks in Melbourne, giving school-aged children a chance to design, build and race solar-powered boats and cars.

The boys inherited their love of building and racing model boats from their father Tony, a national championship winner who began boat racing on Victoria Park Lake about 25 years ago.

Calling himself the "taxi service" of Uniacke Solar Boats, Tony says he loves lending a hand when his sons need advice on their builds.

“Back in the modelling days, I had a lot of help so I enjoy passing on my knowledge,” he said.

“It's fun for the kids and nice for them to do it together.”

Unable to spare the water to fill the pool at their Marionvale home, Tony said Haydn and Mason spent many hours at their grandmother's place in Katandra West, using her pool for training.

The brothers competed against 29 others groups, predominantly from secondary schools across Victoria.

“They were excited about the win and absolutely loved the day,” Tony said.

Uniacke Solar Boats will now take part in the national titles later this year.

“They've got a really good chance of taking out the national title since they are undefeated,” Tony said.