Final Race Day Report
The third and final race day started uneventfully, our strategy was back on track after yesterday's incident and the team settled in for another day of racing. The race crew worked to further refine their pit stops, eventually performing a full tire and driver change in 2 min 50 seconds.
Trevre Andrews holds the 2003 Ironman title which rewards the fastest time to mount and unmount a tire on a solar car rim. This year, Will Blee, a new team member challenged him and took the title for 2004. The competitors from left to right are Trevre, Will, and a Kansas State crew member. If this looks easy, it takes most people the better part of an hour their first time to do what they do in 10 seconds.
Tom was back in the car and on his first lap, unbelievably, as he rounded the final turn onto the front straightaway lost the entire top shell of the car. The shell driven by wind gusts was picked up and tossed over the car backwards, landing upside down on the solar array.
Tom was absolutely fine, but for his disbelief at having an accident happen twice in two days. The cause of the problem was traced to the shell latches not having been engaged on the previous pit stop. The top shell and delicate array modules weathered the impact surprisingly well. The right rear corner module was destroyed (matching the left rear from yesterday) and the crest of the shell suffered considerable damage along with the modules in that area.
Borealis II was again brought into the pits for repairs, this time suffering both mechanical and electrical problems due to the rapid and unexpected disconnection of the array from the rest of the car's electronics. Miraculously all the power trackers which regulate the power from the array, were working properly and the array was still outputting a substantial amount of power.
The team, once again, rallied to make repairs smoothly and efficiently, putting the car back out on track in just over 50 minutes.
Ironically, race leader Missouri-Rolla pulled into pit about 45 minutes before the end of the race with what appeared to be a supspension/brake issue. Although they attempted to repair the problem, they were unable to restore Solar Miner IV to running condition before the end of the race. Borealis II, meanwhile, freshly repaired continued to run hot laps rapidly closing the gap with Rolla, unfortunately the time ran out and BII crossed the finish line 10 laps behind Rolla.
May 22, 2004
Final Race Results
Sorry about the lack of updates . . . Friday was a very busy and interesting race day. Look for more details later tonight. In the mean time, the final race results have Minnesota 10 laps shy of race leader Missouri-Rolla, so Borealis II finished a very strong second. The Minnesota team was also awarded the Sportsmanship Award for their positive attitude, composure under duress, and overall team dynamic.
May 22, 2004
The Minnesota team showed it has a lot of poise when faced with temporary adversity. Your strong finish in this race was impressive. All we at UMR could do was watch you and hope the clock would run out on you - which it did - before you could catch up to our lap total. We are looking forward another close race with Minnesota in both the Formula Sun Grand Prix 2005 and the 2005 American Solar Challenge. You are definitely among the current top North American competitors.
Ellis Smith (a Solar Miner IV individual sponsor)
Posted by: Ellis Smith | May 23, 2004 at 11:55 AM
Thanks a lot.
As a member of the 2003 team it was a lot of fun racing you guys across the country last summer. Though I wasnt on this race, i know that the 'new' team is all ready to make a great 2005 car.
U Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project, 2001-2004
Posted by: Adam Delwiche | May 26, 2004 at 07:58 PM