‘The battle of the Dutchies’ – Nuon chasing Twente at Race day 2. (Photo credits: Solar Team Twente)
Yesterday was an exciting day! At the end of the day we concluded that the battle will be between Michigan, Twente, Tokai, Nuon and Punch. Now, after Race day 2, this conclusion is still valid. It might be said that within this battle a competition on even smaller (time)scale is going on: the Dutchies are fighting each other. At this moment, Twente is in the lead. However, Nuon follows shortly with only 2 minutes, according to their daily report. They claim they are going to overtake Twente tomorrow and keep the first position to the very end. You might be wondering where Tokai is in this story. Unconfirmed sources tell that Tokai got a time penalty, and for that reason had to extend their control stop. This may explain their current position (5th). Punch and Michigan are also doing a good job and within a short distance from the leading teams. This makes the Race extremely exciting. In this phase, it is really a matter of strategy and reliability. One incorrect choice or a flat tyre could make an end to a possible victory.
The Dutchies are also quite successful so far in the Cruiser class. After day 2 they are still upon the Japanese team’s feet with only 37 minutes away (as they say). That leaves the German team on position three with their day goal of reaching Tennant Creek well achieved.
The German team flew towards Tennant Creek today to catch up with the Dutch and Japanese team in front of them. Photo credit: HS Bochum SolarCar Team
The solar car of Kogakuin can be overturned on one side to better harvest the sun rays. The observer in yellow enjoys the spontaneous shadow. Photo credit: Solar Team Eindhoven
Also for the smaller teams, this Race is very exciting. We will briefly describe what the smaller teams were experiencing today. Day 2 means a drive from a point after Katherine (for most Cruisers) or Dunmarra (for most Challengers) through Tennant Creek where the next control stop is located.
A control stop is located most of the times in a village on the way, with a large square next to the road where all teams have to stop for 30 minutes. That gives them the time to refuel the convoy cars (unfortunately those still have to drive with nasty fossil fuel), the drivers to change, the team to do check ups on the car and clean the solar cells that get dirty by the dust on the outback road. The control stop is also used by the teams to perform static charging: the solar array is directed to the sun to charge their batteries. Most of them also record those stops by video and do interviews with the drivers. The official located at those stops record the arrival and departure time on a large board – that gives all teams the chance to have a look how the competition is getting on.
Observer Roslyn, with whom we had an interview earlier on this blog, was observing with the TAFE SA team from Australia, driving in the Adventure Class. Unfortunately they had to trailer 226km till Dunmarra. We hope they will get their car back on the road again!
In Dunmarra Roz swoped teams and travelled with the Japanese team, K.I.T. Yumekobo Solar Car Project, the rest of the day at an average speed of 70km/h. She wrote on Facebook that they had issues with the wiring of their array twice and even got a little fire and later on smoke in their car. Be careful, team! They’re camping north of Tennant Creek tonight.
Leading the Australian solar cars is Clenergy TeamArrow who are camping next to the Dutch team from Eindhoven near Barrow Creek. They’re not early in bed but changing their tyres in the dark.
Nightly tyre changes. Photo credit: Clenergy TeamArrow
Charging the batteries while doing check ups. Photo credit: Clenergy TeamArrow
The Columbian team from Medellin, EAFIT-EPM Solar Car Team, passed Tennant Creek control stop. They even made a video from their check ups there: https://www.facebook.com/EafitEpmSolarCarTeam/videos/699407560158716/
Charging their batteries during the 30 mins of control stop at Tennant Creek. Photo credit: EAFIT-EPM Solar Car Team
The Columbian car on the road. Photo credit: EAFIT-EPM Solar Car Team
Being 9th in their group Western Sydney U Solar Car Project also passed Tennant Creek.
Checking their car at Tennant Creek. Photo credit: Western Sydney U Solar Car Project
Blue Sky Solar from Toronto, Canada apparently rests at Wycliffe Well Holiday Park. Unfortunately they don’t post any updates on their sites, so we hope they are happy with how the race is going on for them.
After being 5 miles behind their plan on the first race day, the Swedish team, Jönköping University Solar Team, arrived at Tennant Creek today what means they back in track with 55 covered miles for today. They reported about some wind today but their car was reliably driving on the road. They decided to stay at the stop point and charge their batteries there instead of driving 20 minutes more. By that they hope to get more energy than on the next morning. They are looking now towards reaching Alice Springs. Good luck, guys!
The car Solbritt next to a giant truck on the Stuart Highway. The lead car in front of it. Photo credit: Jönköping University Solar Team
The Principia Solar Team from Illinois, USA, accomplished 903 solar kilometres on the Stuart Highway already. Their drivers Hayley and Jackson drove a slower but steady course today in order to let the levels of batteries increase. They also had some minor problems with their electrics in the first half of the day but in the afternoon they just drove and drove. They are just 85 kilometres away from Tennant Creek now. They hope to pass by the next two control stops tomorrow. All the best for your third day on the road!
Fixing the electrics while other solar cars are passing by. Photo credit: Principia Solar Team
Charging the batteries by solar power while doing some checks on the car. Photo credit: Principia Solar Team
The UKZN Solar Car from South Africa really feels at home with the hot weather and the sun burning down. Due to low connection they can’t post a lot but apparently are happy with the progress they made so far. Keep up the good spirit!
It was an amazing day of solar racing. While writing this, the teams are probably waking up already, to start their 3rd day of this marvellous journey to Adelaide. We can’t wait to follow their progress! Good luck and drive safely!