WINNERS of the recent 1995 Fun Science Competition had no academic honours nor technical training to brag about. But creativity and diligent experimenting was their key. The contestants, all secondary students, made 77 'rubber band-powered vehicles' which were tested on four increasingly steep wooden planks to see which ran the longest distance at the Hong Kong Baptist University's Wai Hang Sports Centre. The contest was divided into the Open and Environmentally Friendly sections. The latter allowed participants to use only paper, wood and adhesive to construct the vehicles. 'There were some superior designs although we have chosen a highly difficult topic this time in order to raise the standard,' said one organising representative, Dr Fang Ming, technical programme manager at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology's research centre. The most outstanding vehicle came from Form Seven student Cheung Kwong-shing's team at Sha Tin Methodist College. They won the Environmentally Friendly section and won the category's Best Workmanship Award. Kwong-shing worked with schoolmates Law Lap-keung and Tang Ka-kit to produce a vehicle that managed to run the longest, the steadiest and straightest. 'It was a marvel that they could work within such stringent constraints and still came up with the inventive use of auto-transmission which regulated the vehicle's speed and took it to the last and steepest plank,' said adjudicator Douglas Siu Hing-li, a senior design lecturer at the Vocational Training Council. Kwong-shing, the designer, explained his principle: 'I calculated when the vehicle needed to change gear as it got to the steeper slopes and constructed three gearboxes to enable the car to change its speed accordingly.' The Best Design Award went to Ning Po College's Chan Wai-kin, Joe Wong King-hang, Shum Sai-kit and Ko Sai-ho. The Form Six students connected an uncut rubber band with the steering wheel to make the vehicle run straight and save energy. Mr Siu was also impressed by the team's clever use of balsa wood to lighten the vehicle. The Open Section awarded seven prizes and the Environmental Friendly Section awarded eight. The top three in the first and the top four in the second section each received $1,500 and the famous disabled scientist Stephen Hawking's book, A Brief History of Time. The rest of the winners won $1,000 and the book. Five of the 15 winners were from Macau.