Dr. Jeff Zabudsky reports from Calgary that the Red River College Raycer crossed the NASC 2008 finish line at around 3:40 local time. RRC finished in 9th spot overall, a huge leap forward from our 16th place finish in 2005. Congratulations team!
Wow, that Michigan crew is almost as fast with the results as they are with the car. According to their most recent blog post, the Raycer is now sitting in 9th place overall as of today’s Medicine Hat stage stop, nipping at Iowa State’s heels. At any rate, it looks like we’re poised for a big improvement from our 16th overall finishing spot in the 2005 NASC. Impressive results from the only community college entered in the competition.
Meanwhile, unless Michigan accidentally detours to Edmonton, it looks like they have this year’s race sewn up. One final push to Calgary tomorrow, where a huge crowd is expected to greet the cars.
In addition to the official stage stop held in Winnipeg on Saturday, RRC also hosted a dinner on Friday night to thank all the individual donors and corporate sponsors of this year’s Raycer project. While the team obviously couldn’t be there, they were kind enough to film a short message for the dinner crowd that we also wanted to share here:
The clip was actually shot using a Blackberry Pearl smartphone from MTS Allstream, our major telecommunications sponsor. The company was kind enough to provide Blackberries and coverage time for the team, which proved essential in communicating between the various support vehicles while on the road and providing updates to those of us following along back in Winnipeg. You’ll notice the team holding their phones in the air at the end of the video in a small salute to the folks from MTS Allstream.
The unofficial standings update after the Winnipeg stage stop, courtesy of the University of Michigan solar team blog:
FH Bochum: 40:59:51
Missouri S&T: 53:19:54
Red River: 59:19:39
Iowa State: 63:52:37
Northwestern: 69:51:30 * trailering penalty not added yet
Oregon State: 83:03:21
Unfortunately, the weather in the Dakotas wasn’t too kind to our solar racers. Only five teams (Michigan, Principia, Bochum, Waterloo, Minnesota) managed to make it to Winnipeg on their own power, while the rest of the pack (including RRC) were forced to load their cars in trailers due to low battery power and even lower cloud cover. Several left on trailers again this morning, waiting to unload their cars until the clouds parted in Brandon. For those who are wondering, yes trailering is allowed, but it comes with a significant time penalty.
Our team was a bit disappointed it wasn’t able to drive the Raycer in to the cheers of the hometown crowd, but they received a warm welcome nonetheless, and the good news is that it looks like we held our position in the overall Solar Challenge. With a little luck, and consistent performance from both the vehicle and our ace driving crew, we might still catch up to Missouri or Calgary before reaching the finish line on Tuesday.
For tonight (Sunday), it looks like the team has stopped in Grenfell, SK (pop. 1,067). We’ll keep you apprised of any reports of solar-powered cow tipping emerging from the greater metropolitan Grenfell area.
For those of you in and around Winnipeg, don’t forget the Open House that will be held at RRC’s Notre Dame Campus between noon and 3:00 5:00 pm on Saturday. The cars will be sunning themselves on the south lawn (fronting on Notre Dame), and the teams will be available to answer questions. Admission is completely free, food will be available and some related displays about engineering technology will also there.
We anticipate that several of the lead cars in race will be making their way into campus between 10:00 a.m. and noon, with the rest of the pack streaming in throughout the afternoon.
Speaking of the leaders, the NASC website has updated the official standings as of the Sioux Falls stage stop. RRC is currently in eighth spot overall.
And finally, the Winnipeg Free Press website features a nice update on the Raycer, including an interview with team leader James Doell.
UPDATED: In case you’re checking, the RRC team is expected to arrive on campus around 4:30 pm.
The Raycer pulled into the Sioux Falls, SD stage stop a little after noon today. While a few dark and swirly clouds had the team momentarily fearing the car might be headed for Oz, they successfully managed to avoid most of the wicked weather that was in the area.
A well-deserved rest break this afternoon will be followed up by some official NASC activities later in the day. Tomorrow morning, all the teams will leave Sioux Falls headed for the next stage stop in Winnipeg.