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Saturday, October 25 - Day 7

Marla was a great overnight stop for us. We got to camp on LAWN and a really good charge went in to the batteries.

Because the Cadney control point was to close at 10:00 am, we elected to trailer for about an hour then drive the solar car the rest of the way. It was a close call as the new brake pads we had installed were rubbing, costing us about 3Ah in energy, but a hasty stop to adjust them saw us reach Cadney at 9:49 - with eleven minutes to spare.

Hitech cut it really close, arriving at Cadney with less than a minute to go before its official close. Great news for Heliodet, he's already passed through Cadney and is on the way to Glendambo. Everyone is excited for him as he has never made it this far before and he looks certain to finish.

Following the Cadney stop, Sungroper solared all the way to Coober Pedy and stopped about 45km south of the town for the evening charge time. Houston also stopped in the same bay, but camped there overnight while Sungroper returned Coober Pedy to sleep.

Tonight the Sungroper Internet Cafe has gone underground! We're at the Desert View Underground Apartments in Coober Pedy. - the same underground motel used by the 2001 team.

The Sungroper team breaks camp
We've got the array set up for charging quite near to our camp site at Marla.
The area is used for truck parking and storing road making materials. It is several hectares in size.
You can see the Marla Roadhouse just across the road. It's an excellent roadhouse with a post office, supermarket, pub, motel and caravan park.
You'd think Doug was in Bali
Preparing to remove the array from the side of the trailer
A brutal reminder that speed kills - not that there is much danger of Sungroper going really fast.
We trailered Sungroper for 54 kilometres at the start of the day so we could make the Cadney control point on time. Then it's a rush to get Sungroper on the road.
The trailer door is down...
... and the ramps are put in place.
Sungroper begins to emerge from the trailer with some pushing from inside.
The car weighs more than 300kgs, so we need to be careful coming down the ramp.
Almost down...
The ramps are put back into the trailer
and the locking pins are removed from the canopy
Four people are required to lift the top off the car.
Karen is our first driver - she climbs into the cockpit
She picks up her water bottle
and stashes it somewhere more convenient as it's impossible to reach in to the footwell when the roof is on.
A grab for the safety harness
then lay back in the seat and buckle in.
The lid goes on...
and Karen disappears behind those famous teeth!
Making sure the top of the car is properly in place
The locking pins are put in place
and off she goes.
An unscheduled stop was made on the way to Cadney to resolve a problem with the new brake pads.
Karen takes a drink as the lid is put back on. It's important for the solar car drivers to drink plenty of water as it's very hot in Sungroper and we're travelling through the outback. The temperature in the car can get to 45 degrees.
We're ready to get back on the road.
The solar car convoy on the road.
Sungroper arrives at the Cadney control point
The array has been set down to make maximum use of the sun.
Onno - that's not a dish, this is a dish!
The Hitech team reached Cadney with seconds to spare.
It's a real hive of activity and there are several spectators around. There's an enforced 30 minute stop at control points for spectators and the media.
A WSC official enters Sungroper's time on the board.
Onno fuels up the ITmaze van - and eyes off that dish!
The time's been done and we're off!
Shay deposits a geocache north of Coober Pedy.
The support team stops off for a closer look at the Telstra optical fibre repeater station. In SA you can get right up to them.
The Dog Fence is the longest fence in the world.
And has a huge double cattle grid.
We've reached the opal fields around Coober Pedy.
The Sungroper Internet Cafe is set up again.
Buthis time it goes underground!! Here's Onno trying to get the connection up after Optus had made some configuration changes.