Practicality Judging & Awards
After the long hot trek across the outback we arrived safely in our destination. It had been a bit of a whirlwind since our arrival Adelaide on Friday. Most of the team fell asleep early after having long showers to clean off the red dirt from the Australian outback. The other half of our team running on pure adrenalin hit the town with the other arrivals!
Saturday morning we were up bright and early to repack our container and clean out our motorhome. All of our items from Canada had to be accounted for (to make sure nothing went on a walkabout in the outback) and our new purchases had to be logged. The team’s effort thoroughly impressed everyone as we started at 10 am and were able to finish by 1 pm. To give some context, when we packed the car up to come to Australia, it was a whole weekend ordeal and there was vey little sleep. It’s great to see that we are streamlining processes already.
We headed out to practicality judging at 2 pm, so after we were done packing we had to run over to where the cars were being held to show Delta off. Delta placed 3rd in practicality! I think one of the reasons was our electrical manager Ian Haigh’s smooth back-up skills. While most of the teams had to push their cars to the end of the line Ian navigated his way in reverse via the help of our back-up cameras. The judges were also impressed with our design and the ease in which we are able to switch the car from left hand driver to right, the fact that our car accommodates drivers of all sizes: it was built for someone who is 6′ 9″, the seats adjust like a normal car, our cargo space which held all of the judge’s bags and then some, and of course the ease in which we parallel parked the car.
After practicality judging, we hung around for a media event where all the cruisers were featured on the Adelaide weather channel. It was a long wait but well worth it because we got to mingle with other teams and really get to know the ins and outs of their cars. There was some shirt trading that took place as well; a priceless moment was when Mechanical Manager Matthew Johnson traded his XL shirt with a student from Goko who also had an XL shirt. It was quickly discovered not all XL’s are created equal!
Our team was lucky enough to make friends with some of the lads from Tafe (a University in Adelaide). One of the boys was kind enough to host a BBQ for us on the Saturday night. We had delicious homemade burgers, chicken and hot dogs, we were well fed!
Sunday we again had to be up bright and early to finalize Delta’s return voyage and sort out all accounting details! Kudos to Race Logistics Manager Brenda Nguyen for organizing Delta’s journey home. Delta, driver Nizar Walji and passenger Connie Tran were paraded around the streets of Adelaide. The city was very excited to see all of the cars. After the parade, we packed Delta into the crate and said our final goodbyes as she began her trip back home. We then rushed back to our hotel to get ready for the awards ceremony.
The awards ceremony was fantastic! We saw a live performance from an indigenous Australian tribe. The digeridoo was played and they did some traditional dances. It was very neat to be a part of. Our team won the prestigious safety award which was such an honour. We have been working really hard to keep our safety top notch. We spent countless hours in Calgary prior to the event making sure our safety documents were clear and thought out and that we had ample safety supplies for our trip.
— World SolarChallenge (@WorldSolarChlg) October 13, 2013
Once we had arrived in our pit in Darwin, we spent some time organizing it so it was clean and so that items such as first aid and fire extinguishers were readily available. We also took 5 minutes every morning to do a quick safety clean. On the road every day Safety Officer Josh Chow went through our vehicles and made sure that all of our safety gear was readily available. Thanks to our practice on SDAT all of our emergency stops were flawless and smooth! We also followed some of the safety advice given to us by Safety Pete, like making sure to communicate with the road trains behind us to make sure they knew when it was clear to pass and to pull our chase vehicle up closer to Delta when a road train passed to reduce the affect from the cross-winds; a big thanks to Safety Pete and Andrew for the advice, it helped heaps on the race! What really set our safety apart was when we were at a control stop in Coober Pedy and fellow team Apollo needed some extra gear. WSC officials were impressed by the fact that all of our vehicles traveling with Delta had all of the emergency gear, and were also impressed with what type of gear we had and how we had it packed! In the end we were able to lend Apollo a spare chemical disposal kit and they were able to continue participating!
The whole team is pretty stoked to have won this award! Everyone worked really hard to abide by the documents we had in place.
After the awards there was the long anticipated after party, where shirt trading, story swapping and congratulations all took place. A big congrats to all of the Dutch teams, what a solar nation, every Dutch team made the podium. I think the Canadian teams will be working even harder together so next time we all make the podium. A big thank you and congrats to Bochum as well for their 2nd place and for inspiring the cruiser class!
This has been an amazing experience! The race team is now taking some time to travel and enjoy Australia while our team back home keeps the ship sailing. We learned many valuable lessons this trip, and although we didn’t podium we had wins in a lot of other areas such as teamwork and safety. As team manager, I couldn’t be more proud of the group of students I work with. We were handed the worst case scenario in terms of car performance and we were able to work together under these circumstances to solve problems and keep ourselves safe. Kudos to everyone on the team whether in Australia or Canada you should all be very proud of yourselves.
We now move forward to reflect on what we have learned and implement changes. We have a busy year ahead, keep following us to learn about what we are up to. Thank you for your encouragement and support, it meant a lot to us throughout this entire journey.
Business Manager/Race Team Manager