Information on this blog is raw and sometimes unverified reporting straight from the road by teams. The event will issue a media release for any events requiring an official notification.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Soleon: September 28th - Late Night, Cadney Homestead, South Australia

Mission accomplished! We managed to overtake Team Kelly today, the production class leader, and reigning production class champion from the 2003 WSC. By the end of the day we had put 20 minutes between us, a margin we hope to increase tomorrow.

We started the day right on time at 8:06 a.m. in 2nd place. Team Kelly, out of Adelaide, led us by 50 minutes, while AGU from Japan, trailed us by 10 minutes. Within 2 hours, we had passed Kelly, thus gaining first place. At noon, the driver was replaced, Colby taking over for Kyle, and shortly after, the rear tire blew. During the change, which took about 6 minutes, Kelly passed us and the race was on. Within 1 hour, we had passed Kelly again, and did not see them again until the mandatory control point stop of Cadney Homestead. The AGU team stopped about 80 km before the control point, which translates to about 1 � hours of driving time.

Anything can happen as there are still at least 2 days left in the race, but we are confident that we stay competitive. Since Nuna completed the race today, in a record breaking time of just over 29 hours, our focus is on the production class prize.

The greatest challenge of the day was the intense wind. We passed through some very open terrain today so there was nothing to shield us from the strong gusts. The wind was strong enough to flatten the bottoms of the billowing clouds like a spatula over mashed potatoes, paralleling the cloud bottoms with the flat terrain. Visiting with Kelly at the end of the day, we learned their right wheel actually became airborne twice when meeting with two of the stronger gusts. Fortunately for us, the wind only managed to fan the fire of our motivation to win.

Jonathan, our team photographer, had a less fortunate day as the backpack he had strapped to the back of the truck came loose and was dragged for a few minutes, totaling and/or scattering much of what was inside. The only blessing was that his camera equipment was safely stored in the cab of the truck. We have begun to piece together what we can to replace what he lost, but there are a few items that the Outback, and our team, just don?t have on hand.

As I write this, Colby and I are scouring the Stuart Highway in search of Kangaroos as we?re running out of time, and Outback, to find one. To date, the only ones we have seen have been the plush versions you find in gift shops and the dead ones on the side of the road. Even the dead ones are becoming a rare site as Team Nuon (Nuna) had a car assigned to clearing road kill from the race route to ensure their safe passage. We are now returning unsuccessful, but it would be difficult to dampen our spirits today!

Aussie phrase of the day: ?He went out into the mulga to look for some roos.? Translation: ?He went out into the Outback looking for some kangaroos.?

Laurie Heilman Bell MASc. Communications Manager/Nutritional Advisor University of Calgary Team Soleon