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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Monday, October 15, 2007

Leeming SHS: Day 1: 15 October 2007

6:45am: meet at the airport. Me, four staff, 15 students (we're meeting one more in Darwin), and a whole lot of baggage. We do the group checkin thing, wave parents goodbye, fly, arrive, do the group ferry-the-luggage-off-the-baggage-carousel thing, and set up camp at one end of the terminal. Chris and John Treen, ex-students, have driven up from Perth and met us at the airport, and they give John Beattie and Steve Morgan a lift to Thrifty to pick up the rental cars. We run into a girl from a Belgian team at the airport, and chat.

John and Steve return, we do the ferry-the-luggage-to-the-bus thing, drive to the Alatai apartments, and do the ferry-the-luggage-to-hotel-rooms thing. We're going to be ferrying that luggage in and out quite a few more times before we're done.

We've had word from the shipper that the car has been damaged in transit. John and Steve pick up the solar car trailer and the logistics trailer, and take them to Hidden Valley race track.

The track is crazy-busy. There are 43 solar cars scheduled to show up for the Challenge, plus some Greenfleet and a few other vehicles. There are only 30 pits, and they're all booked. We ticked the box on the form weeks ago saying that we want a pit, but we're not down for one: there's just not enough to go around.

Peter S and Peter D help us out and get us a pit anyway, at least for the night.

There are several cars on the track, and we are far from the least shiny car in the Challenge. The Malaysian team with the pit next to us are adding an extra challenge on top of the Challenge: it's Ramadan, so they can't eat between sunup and sundown, and there are other restrictions too, so they're not even here during the day.

Michigan, a top team, are three pits down. They tell us they've been here a month.

The Welsh team are having to restructure their car, and have it off-track in a workshop.

I overhear what I think is a French team talking to Peter D to find out how late they can stay at the pits to get done the work they need to do.

We haven't yet heard from Willetton, but we figure they can't be far away.

The Venezuelan team, we hear, have their car stuck in Sydney, so they're flying three people down, they'll rent a car, and drive non-stop to get it here.

We roll the car out of the trailer, watching the wheels carefully. As soon as it comes off the ramps, the front right wheel goes skew. We manage to get it into the pits, jack it up, and discover that a nut has come loose from the steering -- it was supposed to be a nylon lock nut, and it wasn't, so it vibrated off. Tomorrow we'll need to get a replacement nut and fix the damage to the side panel of the car where it bounced against the side of the trailer.

So all up, a fairly standard start to the World Solar Challenge, only more so.

-- Doug, Leeming Hammerhead.