The team woke up at 4 am, left our rental house at 5 am, arrived at the official race start line at 5:30 am, got our car in its position, and waited for three hours until the race began. Luckily, this cycle we have a great team of enthusiastic parents who have volunteered to follow us through the race and make sure we are well-fed. While we waited, we ate breakfast and made lunch sandwiches, courtesy of the parent team.
When the officials announced the start of the race, things exploded into chaos as the teams tried to exit in an orderly fashion. The start of the race is far from orderly, however, as solar cars managed to get out of order in line and bottlenecked with other convoys once they had gotten onto the road in the main city centre.
Since I had been part of the late night work crew the evening before, I drifted in and out of sleep in the scout vehicle for the entire first shift. As the scout vehicle caught up with the convoy, we passed multiple solar car convoys. I dreamt of solar cars during the times I was asleep, and even when I’d open my eyes, it would still feel like a dream. We drove through a forest fire (yikes!), big clouds of smoke gusting across the highway and persistent flames sizzling in the grass on the side of the road.
The first control stop was chaotic, since the teams hadn’t yet spread out very much. Six other teams were there ahead of us — Michigan, Nuon, Tokai, Twente, Punch, and Megalux. Team Arrow rolled in a bit after us, followed by Western Sydney and then Einhoven and Kogakuin (both Cruisers).
I drove scout for the second shift, which was thankfully much less eventful than the first. We arrived at the Dunmarra control stop right around 5 pm, which marks the end of solar car driving for the day and the beginning of array standing until sundown. Punch and Megalux were there with us too, which meant we were all camping in Dunmarra for the night.
Eric, who loves cooling the array, brought out the water gun that he had purchased for the express purpose of array cooling and tested whether the water gun was superior to the regular sprayers. Logan gave it a go as well. However, in the end Eric concluded that the water gun was “pretty bad” at spraying the array. More updates to follow on Eric and his love for array cooling.
In the meantime, Hayden drank a cool Bundaberg ginger beer, and I took a Bundaberg advert photo.
Stanford hopes to continue making solid, steady progress towards Adelaide!