The team’s Australian Mock Race started today from the outskirts of Adelaide, South Australia. While the Global Green Challenge will start from Darwin in the Northern Territory and end in Adelaide, race regulations prevent us from traveling on the race route in the Northern Territory before the race. Therefore, our Mock Race is from Adelaide to the Northern Territory border and back, a distance of 2435 kilometers (over 1500 miles).
Today’s race day started just after 11 AM–while the first day of the race starts at 9:00 AM, we were delayed in our car preparations due to our batteries not arriving from the US until Monday. Nevertheless, we started out from Adelaide and were instantly met with cloudy weather. Starting with a full battery pack, we were able to move at a reasonable pace; however, with no end to the clouds in sight, we had to move forward cautiously. It would be unfortunate to run out of energy in our batteries before we could get to the sun of the Australian outback to recharge.
This being our first running of the car in Australia, we did run into a number of minor electrical gremlins that put us on the side of the road three times, and had to bleed our brake system while pulled over as well. The likely cause of the electrical problems, a loose connection within our battery control modules, was diagnosed while examining the batteries at the end of the day, so we hope not to encounter this problem again tomorrow.
As we neared Port Augusta, the edge of the continent, we finally managed to escape the clouds. Unfortunately, the sky refused to clear up–sand and dust, kicked up by the wind, blanketed the sky and prevented us from getting any sunlight. We could see clear blue at the top of the sky, though the sand still blocked the sun.
Our Mock Race progress for day one.
We pulled into Port Augusta at 4:42 PM and ended the race day at 5:10 PM, having served 28 minutes of our 30-minute control stop. Our late start, the clouds and sand, and gremlins on the car all prevented us from getting as far as we had wished. Fortunately, we still have a good amount of charge left in our battery pack and are nearing the end of the sandstorms. For those who are curious, sand storms that passed through Port Augusta last week were part of the same system that blanketed Sydney with sand last week:
We will start tomorrow morning at 8:10 AM, and will serve the final two minutes of our control stop before leaving for Glendambo. We hope for less sand and fewer clouds tomorrow, though right now the weather does not look too promising.
-Steve Hechtman, Race Manager
Posted from the Port Augusta McDonalds, one of the few businesses in Australia with free wi-fi
A bonus video with a very appropriate title, a favorite of the Continuum team: