Arctan off the start line in Darwin, Northern Territory. Photo Credits Rachel Abril

World Solar Challenge: Day One

Arctan off the start line in Darwin, Northern Territory. Photo Credits Rachel Abril

Arctan off the start line in Darwin, Northern Territory. Photo Credits Rachel Abril

Day one of the World Solar Challenge is done! We made it to the second control stop, Dunmarra, just as the racing day was ending, pulling in at 4:56pm. There were two other teams, Megalux and Punch Powertrain, who joined us in Dunmarra for the night where we stayed at a roadhouse campground.

Array Standing with Megalux and Punch Powertrain. Photo Credits Rachel Abril

Array Standing next to Punch Powertrain. Photo Credits Rachel Abril

Our first day was without incident, but by no means uneventful. Navigating out of the city with all of the other teams presented a host of challenges, since track time order does not correspond well with road speed. We passed several teams on the road toward the start of the day, and were passed by a few later in the morning. Mostly, we were passed by media cars, who would hover in the righthand lane hanging cameras out the window to photograph the solar car. World Solar Challenge officials frown on this behavior because it is clearly risky to be in the oncoming lane, so when we take media photos we pull off the road and let them drive past.

Logan Herrera, Jamie Goldfield, and Guillermo Gomez at the start line with Arctan at the start line. Photo Credits Hayden Hall

Logan Herrera, Jamie Goldfield, and Guillermo Gomez at the start line with Arctan at the start line. Photo Credits Hayden Hall

During the morning we hit just about every red light possible on the way out of the city, then entered hilly country and crested the steepest hill on the course around 10am. Arctan handled it like a champ and made it up no problem. Later, the Stuart Highway passed through a brush fire, with lots of smoke in the air and some flames visible on the left side of the road. Not great for charging the solar array when it’s so smoky!

Brush fire on the side of the Stuart Highway. Photo Credits Kelsey Josund

Brush fire on the side of the Stuart Highway. Photo Credits Kelsey Josund

We hit the first control stop in Katherine after about four hours of driving, joining all of the top teams around noon. It was very cool to check out Nuon, Twente, Tokai, and Michigan all array standing. In the afternoon, we pushed towards Dunmarra, where we stayed for the night. There are five teams clustered about an hour ahead of us, and four clustered right around us. We are solidly in the top ten Challenger class teams as of today, but it’s a crowded field, with all of us fairly close together and so far all running smooth races. We will see what day two brings!

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4 Comments
  • Chris Gerdes
    Posted at 05:14h, 19 October Reply

    Wow – sounds like a very competitive race this year! Congratulations on a solid first day!

  • Alan Bruns
    Posted at 08:02h, 22 October Reply

    Hey Kelsey – Just saw link to your experience on the Shoreline website. Wow. I never knew such a race existed. Great to hear of the success of you and your team! Good luck down there.

    From your old 7th grade Social Studies teacher
    Perhaps you remember 🙂

    • Kelsey Josund
      Kelsey Josund
      Posted at 17:15h, 23 October Reply

      Of course I remember! I hope all is well in Shoreline. So glad you’ve heard of solar car racing now!

  • Larry Owens
    Posted at 16:12h, 29 January Reply

    Hi Kelsey,
    Would love to work out a way to have the Stanford solar car on display at this year’s NW SolarFest to be held on July 23rd on the Campus of Shoreline CC. We’ve had Marcelo Da Luz of The Power of One Solar Car Project as a keynote speaker in the past, but the car wasn’t available for display. We’re a 501c3 non-profit started in Shoreline, WA. We put the solar arrays on Meridian Park E.S., and Parkwood E.S. at no cost to the school district, or the taxpayers, and have had students from Shorewood and Shorecrest involved from year 1.

    Who should I contact to see if we can make this a reality? Would be great to have you be there to talk about your experience with the solar car, your experience at Stanford and help encourage other students. Will you be back in Shoreline on July 23rd? Have you ever attended SolarFest? (It started in 2004 and was held at Meridian Park E.S. as a celebration of the 1st solar on a public building in Shoreline).

    I hope you’ll see this post and get back to me.

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