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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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Michigan: Progress in Adelaide

Today marks the finish of our first week here in Adelaide. After a few long days of work on Continuum, our shop at Prince Alfred College became a home away from home for the whole crew. Continuum occupies the majority of our floor space, its bottom and top halves sitting side by side. A line of desks and computers sit on the far side of the shop immediately facing Continuum’s solar array. The rest of our space is littered with tool boxes, work benches, crates of equipment, and piles of fleet vehicle hardware. The metal and woodshops at PAC have been put to good use by our members and the limited parking space near our building has been filled with Holden vehicles.

Days start at about 7am and last until 11pm with short breaks for lunch and dinner. We’re fortunate to have a strong operations division to keep everyone well fed & rested while still outfitting fleet vehicles with inverters, light bars, radios, computers, and storage fixtures. The engineering division spends their time working on Continuum’s solar array, completing spare parts, and maintaining a handful of the countless systems on the lower surface. The majority of the strategy division spends their days in front of computers (7 so far) working on their strategy software

The race crew has been welcomed by a handful of familiar faces from past visits to Australia. Bob Allan has returned for his 6th World Solar Challenge with Michigan (which is every time we’ve visited Oz since 1990). In addition to his decades of experience with weather prediction and communications hardware, Bob has brought his son, Tim, to join the 2007 race caravan as well. Roscoe Shelton welcomed a hungry race crew into his house for an amazing barbeque and will be providing us with the tents we’ll call home while in the Outback. Phil McLaughlin and Paul Balestrin have ensured that we’re well taken care of here at PAC. While Trevor Philbey gets ready a week of driving our semi during testing, Ann Philbey is working with operations to arrange meals for our time in the Outback. Chito Garcia, our long time advisor and mentor, has developed many of these Australian relationships over his 15 years of racing with the Team. Despite living in Saline, MI and working for the University as a machinist for 20 years, you would swear that he’s a local to Adelaide. Everyone seems to know him here. I’m not even kidding, as he even had coffee with the mayor—a personal friend—just this last weekend.

Boxes are arriving, wires are being soldered, generators are running, glue is drying, programs are running, and schedules are compressing. A few critical components stand between us and a race ready vehicle and we’ll be spending the next few days clearing these last hurdles. This is definitely an exciting time for the Continuum Team.

--Brian Ignaut