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Tasmanian Model Solar Challenge

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Tasmanian Model Solar Challenge

Date: December, TBC
Venue: TBC

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Australian-International Model Solar Challenge

Date: 25th & 26th November
Venue: Hamilton College, SA

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2005 Australian-International Model Solar Challenge


Tasmania win Austrlian-International Model Solar Car Challenge

Over the weekend 26-27 November teams of school students from all states in Australia went to Melbourne for the 2005 running of the Australian International Model Solar Car Challenge. The competition has been run every year since 1990 and requires the students to design and build a solar powered model racing car to a set of very strict regulations and then to race them over a 100 metre long figure of eight track. Each state runs its own competition to select 4 teams to go to the National event. This year Tasmania sent two teams from Hobart College, one team from New Town High and one team from Queechy High. There is also a race for solar powered boats and Tasmania sent Taroona High and Punch Bowl Primary.

Each car competed against cars from other states on the Saturday to determine seedings for the main event on Sunday. The main event is a knockout competition and the 16 eliminated then competed in a second division Plate event. Queechy High took a very creditable second place in this event.

The big news was the absolute maximum possible result by Hobart College. The competition specifically prevents one school taking first and second places so the two Hobart cars were intentionally raced against each other in the semi-finals. This meant the worst result would have been second and fourth.

For even more excitement the semis and finals are run over two laps of the track and have the extra complication of requiring the cars to crash into a weighted block of foam at the end of each race while still travelling at over 20kph! Each car has to carry a fresh egg in a cabin at the front of the car so if the egg is damaged the car is out. One car easily won the best of three race for third place, and then the other car won three races in a row in the best of five grand final, one race by the margin of only 0.01 second.

As if first and third weren't enough, there is also a point score competition which also takes into account a poster describing the design of the car and a probing interview by a team of engineers and science teachers to determine the extent of understanding of the science involved, and they won this as well! So they had to bring three plaques and two huge trophies home on the plane with them.

I feel they should receive some recognition as this competition has been dominated for many years by teams from WA with huge budgets and resources.

John Jeffery