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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Sunday, October 21, 2007

EOS: Day 1: World Solar Challenge

Today we drove the first leg of the Challenge and had such a blast doing so!

We left State Square in Darwin surrounded by thousands of people who had turned up to see the solar and alternative-fuelled cars on display. Lots of cheers and waves had the first driver and navigator grinning like Cheshire cats.

Lissie ran like a dream for each of the girls who drove her, and the whole team was impressed with her petrol and electric consumption (expertly managed by each driver and navigator). The five drivers and their navigators took it in turns traversing the 300km from Darwin to Katherine, stopping every 60km or so to make the switch.

The CB radios were going constantly between Lissie and the three support cars, ensuring our trip was safe for us and for other drivers on the road who passed, or were passed by, our team.

Cloud cover (and aircon!) made it a reasonably cool trip though we're sure the solar cars weren't too happy about that.

Along the way, we drove up what will be the biggest incline we'll encounter for the entire trip and the landscape was ochre, brown and surprisingly green. There was plenty of new growth sprouting up from recent fires and many termite nests, as well as the odd eagle and other birds... and even some Brahman cattle. It was great to see very little road kill. In fact, we only spotted one kangaroo.

We are staying the night at Shady Lane holiday park, camping in amongst the palm trees. There are plenty of cane toads around, which have provided us with quite a few giggles.

Here's a short interview with Jemma, our first Lissie driver for today and the birthday girl. She turned 18 today!

What was the best thing about driving today?

I had so much fun tooting the horn as we were driving out of State Square. I was ultra proud to be driving Lissie. It was great to see a surprising number of people there and plenty waved us as we drove out, past the Challenge flag.

Was it nerve-wracking?

It was a little nerve-wracking, even thought I'd driven Lissie quite a bit. At the start, I was thinking 'please don't stall… don't stall!' but then the nerves faded and we were well on our way. I had such a fun time, it was amazing.

How did the car drive?

We were experimenting a bit with the electrics and gears, seeing as it was the longest stretch my navigator and I had driven Lissie. It all went excellently and we were totally happy with the way she drove. I am looking forward to the next stretch!

The Annesley College EOS Project team heads to Tennant Creek tomorrow (approx. 700km away), with the petrol check and fill up starting bright and early at 6:45am.