Sungroper Home


News & Information
Contact Us
Internet Cafe
How to

Sponsor a Solar Cell

Latest News


Monday, October 27 - Day 9

The wait is over, the time is up, the thing is done, we are in Adelaide. After waking up in the early cold and windy hours of the morning we got the A-Team out to set up the array. The sky promised much the night before, but the reality was that we had complete cloud cover. No charging was achieved.

After waving off Detlef and his team, we packed Sungroper into the trailer and headed for the sun. About 20 kilometres north of Port Augusta, we finally saw the light and solared to the control stop.

At control we found out that Southern Cross had experienced a steering failure and were waiting for parts from Adelaide. We completed our half hour in the sun, charging all the while, and headed south for as long as we could.

Barely 10 kilometres down the track, the clouds hit again, and moments after closing the tail-gate of the trailer with Sungroper safely inside, the rain started coming down.

We rose to the challenge and used our carbon neutralised combustion engines to arrive around 20 kilometres from Adelaide where we put Sungroper with Karen driving on the road, heading for peak-hour traffic and dodgy CB radio operators.

The finish was a great affair with many onlookers and much applause. We were treated to champagne and had the opportunity to park Sungroper next to Nuna II - so we did - we’re much bigger!

After checking into our accommodation we had a meal and hit the sack.

The race was a great success, Sungroper performed as expected, nothing broke, and no-one killed anyone. If only there had been a little more sun.

Full reports will come when we hit Perth. The website will likely see some more travel stories and we’ll have the chance to share more images. We’ll also share videos from along the track as well as significant moments like passing the finish!

Thanks to all our supporters for getting us to Adelaide.

The dawn's first rays catch a looming squall and reveal an early morning rainbow stretching towards a desolate highway.
Heliodet is already tipped towards eastern horizon in preparation for the morning charge.
Detlef Schmitz casts an imposing silhouette against a spectacular outback dawn.
An empty internet cafe emerges in the morning light.
Bernd and Shay discuss strategy as the sun breaks the horizon.
The rising sun silhouettes the satellite dish against the arid landscape.
...and wakens the locals.
The camp begins to bustle about its morning duties.
The Sungroper / Heliodet camp greets the morning against the starkly beautiful desolation of the Australian Outback.
A rainbow heralds an approaching storm.
Sungroper has been removed from her trailer by the A Team in preparation for the morning charge.
Doug attaches the forward rack frame...
...while Bernd removes the retaining bolt from the array hanger.
Fran prepares to attach the rear rack frame.
There's one person to lift each corner of the array, while a fifth is required to manage the umbilical. The ruckus has woken Lannie who spent the night sleeping in "Lead".
Fran gathers up the umbilical while the array is held high.
The array is walked forward to enable the person holding the far corner to avoid the ramps ...
...then its walked back towards the trailer while Fran ensures no-one trips on the umbilical.
This entails a quick dive underneath the lofted array.
The array is carried level to minimize flexure.
We need to hoist the side nearest to the trailer.
As one side is lifted, the other must be lowered towards the ground in one smooth motion.
Of course, it should be allowed to actually TOUCH the ground either.
There's a couple of steel tubes set into the underside that make it easier to lift up, but they're really there to provide a means to hang the array.
You can see the end of one of the tubes protruding from the stiffening brace. Shay is guiding the rear end of the array into the hanger while Colin ensures the forward end remains in place.
Doug runs to check what sort of charge we're getting at the moment. Retaining bolts are being put in place so the top of the array cannot come adrift.
Bernd and Fran continue to hold the bottom of the array while our observer... wait for it... observes. Not that Fran is being careful not to shade the array.
Between the array and the trailer, Shay and Colin are attaching the bottom supports.
The array side is attached first, this ensures that we don't inadvertently punch a hole through any solar cells.
Then the trailer side is attached.
There are several numbered holes that allow us to vary the angle of the array so we can catch maximum sun whilst charging. Detlef Schmitz can be seen in the background as he breaks camp.
Colin checks that the array is secure while Bernd tidies the umbilical to minimize any trip hazard.
With the array now charging our batteries with whatever sun is available, Shay goes in search of a spare Internet connection.
Signs of life stir around the Sungroper Internet Cafe.
The kettle is on and the satellite dish is humming, what more could one need?
The internet cafe regulars turn up for the morning session while Lannie is grateful for a hot cuppa.
Detlef Schmitz checks on the weather under leaden skies at the Sungroper Internet Cafe.
Virtually the entire country is cloud-free, except for those of us at the tail end of the World Solar Challenge. Who invited Murphy?
The question prompts much discussion.
Detlef and Onno remain engrossed in the weather misfortunes.
But it seems we can still make light of the moment.
Onno hunches under a hastily erected tarpaulin during a brief rain shower.
Heliodet and Sungroper charging at the roadside.
Each night a mark is made on the roadside to show where the next day's start is to be.
Heliodet 6 is pushed to the roadside under overcast skies in preparation for start of racing at 0800.
Team Heliodet is counted down to the day's start by their observer as Lannie gives them the thumbs up.
The Heliodet convoy disappears along the road to Port Augusta. Detlef is still hopeful to complete the World Solar Challenge for the first time in spite of today's inclement weather.
We decide to trailer Sungroper in search of the sun.
Having found some clear sky we install Doug behind the wheel of Sungroper for the drive into Port Augusta.
Sungroper approaches the Port Augusta control point.
At Port Augusta we found the Southern Cross Catholic College car which suffered steering failure, necessitating a emergency dash to Adelaide for parts. Fortunately there were no injuries, though there were a few anxious moments for the driver and support crew.
Departing Port Augusta on the final leg. Unfortunately the weather did not hold out and we were forced to trailer a few kilometres further on.
Driving the last few kilometres to official end of timing at Angle Vale.
Sungroper at official end of timing.
Sungroper travelling through the outer 'burbs of Adelaide on the untimed section.
Sungroper is in sight of the finish. Marshalls hold the car on King William Street until the traffic is clear.
Sungroper proceeds carefully over the final few metres.
The daughter of one of the officials is especially delighted to wave the team with the internet cafe over the line.
Karen drives Sungroper across the finish line in Queen Victoria Square.
We prepare to let Karen out.
The excitement on her face is obvious.
As is the relief to be finally finished.
We put the lid back on...
And lock it down.
Celebrations at the finish line.
Posing for a group photo.
and a swig of champagne to toast our success.
You know it's Adelaide when you can see the Queen Victoria Fountain.
Sungroper towers over the other solar cars on display.
Sungroper displayed next to the winner Nuna II at Victoria Square. Does that mean we're placed second??
You just gotta love that grin!
Is this really Hotblack Desiato's stunt ship? MIT's third placed Tesseract looks oh-so-funky and very, very black.
The Houston team trailered in shortly after our arrival. That's Houston in Mississippi for those of you who are confused.
How do we get the car down? Well - watch those pieces of timber.
You simply slide them under the car...
Lift... walk back a little...
and set it down carefully.
Houston parades their car across the finish line.
then pose for their team photo.