The Outback - AdelaideOctober 18, 2019 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C
For the race purposes we're still on Darwin time which is an hour behind so we're up to see the sun rise across the Outback and for breakfast at 05.30 again, after a cold night with not much sleep for me.
The car is already loaded and charged so we're able to set of for the Port Augusta control stop before 07.30. We trailer after the stop for the next couple of hundred kilometres, where the plan is to unload and run the car the final 70km into Adelaide.
It's been a busy week. I've been in the scout car the entire time which entails either driving or sitting with the route notes on my lap ticking off features and looking out for potential hazards to the solar car. We've also been scouting ahead for suitable stopping points etc.
The car's unloaded for the final time. Callum's at the wheel and pulls out onto the main road for a phenomally easy run on dual carriageway. Andrew realises that his next choice of driver changeover is on the other side of the dual carriageway and may not be suitable so asks Rob and I to check out out. It's apparent that's it's going to be a nightmare getting the convoy safely across so we start looking for somewhere else that may be suitable as a closer alternative to the next servo on the left which is another 20km on from this point. We find a long gravel not-quite-layby which would be ok. The only problem is that it is straight onto the fast road. They decide to stop for the driver change. It's not the best with the fast traffic but they are underway within minutes so the car is now on its final run into the city.
Suddenly we hit the Friday afternoon Adelaide traffic. It's really heavy and slow with lots of traffic lights. We crawl along slightly ahead of the convoy. I'm glad to be in a heavy duty off-road 4x4, it can't have been much fun in the solar car. The route instructions aren't great with too much unnecessary info about lane changes. And then it happens. A voice over our cb radio says to move into the right-hand two lanes and the rest of the convoy moves right. We're ahead, already in the left lanes. I frantically go through my notes to see if I've missed a crucial instruction. I haven't. They have and the whole rest of convoy heads off in heavy traffic in the the wrong direction... There's nothing we can do but carry on as planned and hope it isn't too long before they can get back on route.
We get to Victoria Park and park up. We're fiddle around for quite a bit thinking we should get into town. Suddenly the truck and the trailer appear. They got back on route fairly quickly and the car is now where it should be. We hop on the next free bus to Victoria Square as the lead car drives up. They'll have to get the next one. Andrew then phones me as the chase car has been told to go to Victoria Park but they're lost with no instructions. Lance manages to get an official to stop our car before it leaves the holding area so that Andrew and his car can make it. Which they do eventually.Read more