Thursday, September 20, 2007

Progress in Adelaide

Today marks the finish of our first week here in Adelaide. After a few long days of work on Continuum, our shop at Prince Alfred College became a home away from home for the whole crew. Continuum occupies the majority of our floor space, its bottom and top halves sitting side by side. A line of desks and computers sit on the far side of the shop immediately facing Continuum’s solar array. The rest of our space is littered with tool boxes, work benches, crates of equipment, and piles of fleet vehicle hardware. The metal and woodshops at PAC have been put to good use by our members and the limited parking space near our building has been filled with Holden vehicles.

Days start at about 7am and last until 11pm with short breaks for lunch and dinner. We’re fortunate to have a strong operations division to keep everyone well fed & rested while still outfitting fleet vehicles with inverters, light bars, radios, computers, and storage fixtures. The engineering division spends their time working on Continuum’s solar array, completing spare parts, and maintaining a handful of the countless systems on the lower surface. The majority of the strategy division spends their days in front of computers (7 so far) working on their strategy software

The race crew has been welcomed by a handful of familiar faces from past visits to Australia. Bob Allan has returned for his 6th World Solar Challenge with Michigan (which is every time we’ve visited Oz since 1990). In addition to his decades of experience with weather prediction and communications hardware, Bob has brought his son, Tim, to join the 2007 race caravan as well. Roscoe Shelton welcomed a hungry race crew into his house for an amazing barbeque and will be providing us with the tents we’ll call home while in the Outback. Phil McLaughlin and Paul Balestrin have ensured that we’re well taken care of here at PAC. While Trevor Philbey gets ready a week of driving our semi during testing, Ann Philbey is working with operations to arrange meals for our time in the Outback. Chito Garcia, our long time advisor and mentor, has developed many of these Australian relationships over his 15 years of racing with the Team. Despite living in Saline, MI and working for the University as a machinist for 20 years, you would swear that he’s a local to Adelaide. Everyone seems to know him here. I’m not even kidding, as he even had coffee with the mayor—a personal friend—just this last weekend.

Boxes are arriving, wires are being soldered, generators are running, glue is drying, programs are running, and schedules are compressing. A few critical components stand between us and a race ready vehicle and we’ll be spending the next few days clearing these last hurdles. This is definitely an exciting time for the Continuum Team.



Blogger Furqan Nazeeri said...

Hearing all these stories brings back grea memories! It's great to see that Chito hasn't lost his mojo (it seemed like everyone knew him when he joined us on his first race back in 1993). That was also back when Mike "The Mayor" Harbisson was the UM team's Aussie guide.

Go Blue!

September 20, 2007 at 8:58 AM  
Anonymous T C Lambert said...

Is the concentrator working? Looked at Team Nuon's website. They have a sweet-looking car, two wheels in front, one in the rear, driver's cockpit surprisingly far back, right over the rear wheel, and no solar concentrator. Michigan might be the only one trying it.

Go Blue!
-TC Lambert (Doug's dad)

September 20, 2007 at 5:16 PM  
Anonymous tclambert said...

Looks like Australia's Aurora Vehicle Association has entries in both the Adventure and Challenge classes. Team Nuon (Netherlands) has the Nuna4 in the Challenge class. Japan's Ashiya University (their Sky Ace TIGA came in 4th in 2005) only has an entry in the Adventure class. (Michigan's Continuum is in the Challenge class.)

Aurora's website looks like it hasn't been updated for 2007 yet. Could anyone nag them to update it? I'd like to see a photo of their new car.

-TC Lambert (Doug's dad)

September 21, 2007 at 4:34 PM  
Blogger E Relson said...

@Mr. Lambert, I'd hazard to guess that the Japanese team doesn't have a new car. The 2005 car seems to have been their third in 15 years. (A great looking car though :D)

-E Relson

September 21, 2007 at 6:35 PM  

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