WMU News

Sunseeker crosses Texas, moves up in race standings

July 20, 2001

Sunseeker Web site

AMARILLO, Texas -- Amarillo, Texas, was the stopping point for the Sunseeker 295 team at the end of Day Five (July 19) of the American Solar Challenge.

ASC official standings at the end of the day put the WMU team in 23rd place. Race conditions for the race remained extremely hot and sunny, although a heavy cloud cover was reported over Amarillo late in the day.

Driver Kurt Hayden was at the wheel for a nearly 100 mile stint from El Reno Okla. To Sayre, Okla. During his three and one-half hours in the vehicle, with temperatures soaring past 100 degrees Fahrenheit, nterior temperatures under the canopy reached 115 degrees.

With the days, official checkpoints and road names beginning to blur, Hayden says losing track of time and a grasshopper in the driver's cockpit were among the minor problems he encountered. But a more critical problem was his inability to communicate with other members of the team while he was driving.

"Our biggest problem is communication--not being to stay in touch with the lead and chase vehicles because of problems with our two-way radio system," Hayden says, but notes the team was able to correct that problem late in Day Five.

After recharging batteries in Sayre, the team opted to trailer the car to Amarillo and are set to take to the road again for the start of Day Six.

In Amarillo, members of the race team planned an overnight parts replacement to correct a bearing problem in the drive train that has plagued the vehicle since the race began. A replacement part was
installed during an all-night session in Elkhart, Ill., and a new part caught up with the team today, just as the bearing issue arose again.

Driver Marissa Melchior is scheduled to start the race on Day Six (July 20), with Hayden slated to serve as backup.

For daily updates during the race, go to the Web sites for WMU News, WMU Sunseeker or the American Solar Challenge.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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