Monday, October 26th, 2009 by Guest Blogger
Well, the solar cars kicked off their run yesterday (Sunday, a day after we did), and we’re expecting to see a few of them zipping past us today because they’re really rocketing along!
At the end of the first day of competing, the Japanese entry #60 Tokai Challenger is in the lead, followed by #2 Infinium, from the University of Michigan. Both Dutch entries are currently in third and fourth: #3 Nuna V (Nuon Solar Team – who started out as the favourites for this race), and #21 21Revolution (Solar Team Twente, who you might remember are now on.net, with a little help from a certain friendly Australian ISP!).
Each of those four teams made it to the second checkpoint in Dunmarra by the 5pm end-of-race last night – some 633km from their 8am starting point in Darwin.
Thirty-one solar vehicles started the race, with the vast majority making it to the first checkpoint, recording a distance of 318km on their first day.
Unfortunately, there were a few disappointed teams – the Australian Aurora 101, based in Victoria and the fastest at the time trials (setting an average 91.83kph at Hidden Valley on Saturday morning) is reported to have spun after leaving Darwin, suffering suspension damage.
Adding insult to injury, Aurora Vehicle Association’s other car, the #99 Southern Aurora (travelling in a different class to the 101) struck electrical issues, meaning it did not reach the first checkpoint either.
Both of these cars were then taken to Katherine for repairs, and will start the day fresh today at the same place they were stranded.
The Belgian entry, #8 Umicar Inspire wasn’t so lucky, crashing 380km out of Darwin at around 1pm Sunday afternoon. According to reports, the driver lost control of the vehicle after a gust of wind hit the car. While no injuries were reported, the car has been officially withdrawn from the event.
From what I hear, the Eco Challenge cars are all travelling pretty nicely (yes, including the Postie bike, which keeps popping up at roadhouses), and I should have some numbers from them very soon.
Right now though, I’ve just been given the hurry-up – time to leave Tennant Creek and head off for Alice Springs, with one stop in Ti Tree. Looks like another long day stretching ahead of us!