Challenge: blog #2
On the way to Tennant Creek, our first control stop of the day and third of the race, we got overtaken by the Belgium team, which lead us to arrive there in fourth place. And what a chaotic arrival! Twente had just left and the Vattenfall driver was already ready to get into the car. Team members from Michigan, Aachen and Tokai were walking around the control stop. This made it hard for the scouts, who had to lead the solar car into its parking spot and driver towards the control table to push the stop button as fast as possible. Eventually our driver, Kevin, drove into the parking with Green Lightning, Michigan came seconds after. Luckily, our driver made it through quickly with the help of the scouts and pushed the button within seconds of arriving. It was barely 12pm but the heat was almost unbearable, and this definitely impacted our performance through the day.
Ten minutes after driving off from the control stop, we realized our battery started getting hot. It eventually surpassed its charging temperature, which means that after reaching a certain temperature, our battery reduces or stops allowing power through from the solar deck for safety reasons. Consequently, we decided to stop on the side of the road to open the solar deck and cool the inside of the car. As soon as our battery was charging again, we got back on the road. Unfortunately, we were stuck with the same problem 5 minutes after driving off, so we decided to stop again and wait a bit longer for the battery to cool down. In this time, three teams passed us: Michigan, Tokai and Aachen. By the time our battery seemed better, we decided to get back on the road and head to our next control stop: Barrow Creek.
We arrived seventh at the control stop. This time it was even busier than before, team members, press and other people walking around and the solar car had to make quite a complicated U-turn to get into its parking. Fortunately, it all went very smooth and our driver, Ruben even got compliments from the organization for his manoeuvre and speed when getting out of the car. After the control stop, it was time to find a camping place as soon as possible, we did not have much time!
On our way to our final destination of the day, the heavy winds made it quite challenging for Kevin, however his experience behind the wheel definitely eased the situation. Eventually, our lead car saw the yellow flag on the side of the road, signing to turn left on the next dirt road. Our scouts found a fitting camping spot! Music was playing while setting up the campsite, and the team was singing along, the environment was quite enjoyable, and everyone was working together before it would become dark. Soon enough, dinner was ready, and a supporter even joined us for our evening meeting and camped next to our team. Now more than ever, we appreciate the support of Kampeerhal Roden for making the experience of camping in the Outback as practical as possible.
The calmness and silence of the Outback allowed us to get good sleep and be ready for a new race day! DAY 3! Martijn drives our car to the next control stop: Alice Springs. Do you want to know how our day continues? Follow our socials and stay tuned for our next blog!