WMU News

WMU team prepares for final day of Solar Challenge

July 24, 2001

Sunseeker Web site

BARSTOW, Calif. -- WMU's Sunseeker 295 team arrived in Barstow, Calif., just before 5 p.m. (PDT) Monday, July 23, and will remain there with the rest of the American Solar Challenge competitors until the final day of the race, Wednesday, July 25.

Official ASC standings were last posted at 2:30 p.m. Monday, showing the WMU team had moved into 22nd place overall. The postings also reflect a third place position for Sunseeker among the nine vehicles entered in the stock class. Stock class vehicles are those using lead-acid batteries. The race's other 21 vehicles were registered in the open class, which places no restriction on the type of battery technology used.

The team began Day Nine (Monday) in Needles, Calif., just west of the Arizona-California state line. As the team was charging the solar array and preparing for the day's run, a camera crew from National Geographic filmed them at work and interviewed team members. The same crew caught up with the Sunseeker team on the road later in the day and did some additional filming that will reportedly air on DirecTV (satellite television) Tuesday evening.

Drivers on Monday were Kurt Hayden, Marissa Melchior and Roger Anthony. The three switched off in the intense heat of the Mojave Desert, with temperatures reaching 117 degrees Fahrenheit.

Two flat tires that occurred at the same time on rough roads forced the team to stop once. A second stop resulted when the car overheated, but the problem was quickly brought under control by ducting air through a Styrofoam box filled with dry ice and back into the car. Team members had brought the dry ice along for just such desert emergencies.

Tuesday, July 24, will be spent in Barstow replacing some broken solar cells, charging the array and going over all of Sunseeker's electrical connections to make sure everything is tight and ready for the final day of racing Wednesday. That day, competitors will travel the final 110 miles of the race to the finish line in Claremont, Calif.

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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