On the road with Sunsetters
American Solar Challenge 2001
The Big Finish
Wednesday, July 25

by Jim Karg and Eric Bradley

As we crossed the finish line this morning, we realized that Route 66 had been a formiddable opponent. We left Barstow starting 21st at 9:20 am winding through the hills and traffic to pull into Claremont in 16th place three hours later. This was the best day of raycing for us as we passed 5 teams on the road and kept up with highway and city traffic. We received a very warm welcome as we pulled across the finish line on Yale Avenue in Claremont

Our rayce experience was a resounding success. Sunsetters' primary goal as an organization was to build a road-worthy solar-powered vehicle and compete in the American Solar Challenge. Not only did we accomplish this goal, we also did it with no major breakdowns, failures, safety compromises, or major injuries. We only stopped along the route to change flat tires, fix minor problems, and recharge the batteries. As we traveled from Chicago, we also learned considerably about solar raycing strategy and the car itself which was proven since we drove the last 800 miles without trailering. With all trailering penalties considered we finished fourth out of nine in the stock class and were the number one rookie team overall.

We finished behind University of Arizona, Stanford, and Minnesota State University-Mankato. In the open class University of Michigan, University of Missouri-Rolla, and University of Waterloo placed first, second, and third, respectively. Our friends up north at the University of North Dakota finished eighth in the stock class despite a very unfortunate incident with a cattle grate. Our mentor team, the University of Minnesota finished sixth in the open class out of 19 teams.

NOTE: For additional pictures please visit www.ekarg.com