Feeds

And they're off! Day one at the solar races

El Reg pursues early leaders

High performance access to file storage

WSC Yesterday, 37 solar cars set off from State Square in Darwin, NT for the start of the 3,000km 2011 World Solar Challenge across the Australian continent. El Reg's Special Projects Bureau was there to wave them off...

wsc start montage

...and then join the race down the Stuart Highway.

Nuon solarcar on the road

The first compulsory checkpoint was at Katherine, a busy little town 300km south of Darwin.

Race favourites Tokai University of Japan, The University of Michigan from, er, Michigan and Nuon from the Netherlands were already there. The atmosphere was a little frantic.

Tokai solar car first pitstop

Nuon first checkpoint

Michigan pitstop day one

We heard a race organiser ticking off a Nuon rep, for driving in a convoy, making it difficult for Michigan to overtake. We understood what she meant later in the day when it was our turn to overtake a Calgary convoy of five vehicles, the solar car, its two support vhicles, and two trucks filled with people and stuff.

Because they were driving so close together, it was like overtaking two road trains, as we overtook them. Meanwhile... back at Katherine, we decided to wait for our chums from Durham Uni, who qualified 24th in Saturday's speed trials. We waited and waited - and saw another 11 solarcars come and go with no sign of the plucky Brits.

Unfortunately, we had no internet connection - I'll save that rant for later - and so could not check where they were. And the team were not answering their satellite phone.

So we set off once again down the Stuart Highway, driving another 370km to the next checkpoint, at Dunbarra (pop.5), which is in fact a roadhouse with a nice collection of big snakes living in tanks in the dining area, lovely food and pehaps the most expensive diesel in Australia.

Five teams have made their pitch here for the night, some 633km down the road from Darwin.

solar car basking in the evening sunshine

Solar car

Day 2 kicks off at 8am for the teams, but we set off early to catch up with the leaders, who camped out 70km ahead of us. At the end of Day One just four minutes separated the lead trio. ®

Update Monday, 1.03pm NT time

We saw in the race leaders to the first checkpoint of the day, at Tennant Springs, a hard-bitten mining town, 1000km from Darwin. Tokai had stretched its lead to ten minutes, with Nuon and Michigan separated by a couple of minutes. We learned that Durham, along with a fairly large pack, had made it to Katherine by the end of the first day. We'll attempt to contact them later today by satellite phone or, probably more effectively out here, carrier pigeon.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Saturn spotted spawning new FEMTO-MOON
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.