WMU News

Sunseeker moves up to sixth place

July 15, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University's Sunseeker solar racecar has completed 436 miles of the 2,300-mile American Solar Challenge and is in sixth place after the second day of racing that concluded in Rolla, Mo., July 14.

With Holland, Mich., senior Dan Geerlings at the wheel, Sunseeker went through the St. Louis checkpoint at just about 10:15 a.m. (CDT) moving into sixth place at that point. The team continued on to Rolla and arrived shortly after 1 p.m., still in sixth place despite losing half an hour to repair a flat tire along the way. The team from the University of Waterloo is in first place, followed by the University of Minnesota.

"We've been driving at the speed limit all the way," says Sunseeker co-captain Roger Anthony, a senior from Waterford, Mich., who notes the team is two hours behind the leader because of lost time for the flat tire and other minor repairs. "If we get a cloudy day, we might be able to gain a little more ground because we have a more powerful car that can handle bad weather better than some of the other cars."

Co-captain Troy Smits, a senior from Springlake, agrees and says the Sunseeker is extremely fast and the only real problems so far have involved having too much energy in the battery packs.

"That may change tomorrow," he says. "There may be clouds and rain, so we may have to conserve energy." Since Rolla is one of the three mandatory stops along the race route, which runs from Chicago to Claremont, Calif., all competitors will finish the second day of racing there, spend the night and begin as a group at 9 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Former WMU President Elson S. Floyd, who is now the University of Missouri system president, was in Rolla for the arrival of the ASC competitors and stopped to visit the WMU team and wish them well in the race.

To follow the July 13-23 race as it unfolds, go to the ASC Web site at <www.formulasun.org/asc>. The site includes a map of the route with information about stops and the location of the race leader. A daily update link carries information about the last know location of each team and discloses current standings, miles completed and time elapsed. Daily photos and a photo library are available on the site as well.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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