Tasmanian Model Solar Challenge

Important Dates in 2017

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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2007 Australian-International Model Solar Challenge

27-28 October 2007, Victoria Square, Adelaide

The last weekend in October saw several hundred primary and secondary students, teachers and parents, from all over Australia converge on Adelaide for the purpose of racing solar powered model cars and boats.

The cars and boats had been designed and built by the students to comply with the National rules and had already competed in their various State competitions.

Tasmania was again well represented following our wins in the car competition in 2005 and 2006. A total of six car teams from Rose Bay High, New Town High and Queechy high, and boat teams from Rose Bay High and Lauderdale Primary took part.

On the Saturday all cars were scrutineered to ensure full compliance with the very strict rules, before racing on the track to determine seeding for the main elimination races. Conditions were bad, to say the least, with very low light levels and strong winds. This created some strange anomalies in the seeding and did not produce a draw which truly reflected the performance of most of the cars.

Saturday night saw all the competitors taken to the Snow Dome for ice skating which resulted in lots of cuts and scratches, one student requiring six stitches in his forehead and a parent taken to hospital in an ambulance with neck injuries!

Sunday dawned clear but soon the clouds rolled in and conditions varied from brilliant sunshine to torrential downpour, all accompanied by blustery winds. A bit like Tasmanian weather at itís very worst.

The mysterious draw saw the two top Tasmanian cars race each other in the first round, resulting in Queechy being eliminated. The Rose Bay and New Town cars all made it through to the next round but the draw continued to have fast cars eliminate each other while slower cars raced other slow cars and went through. Despite that, it was obvious to anyone that all the Tasmanian cars were very quick, and given the correct race draw, things would have been very different.

Despite all that, Tim Nissink from Rose Bay took out fourth place against some spirited competition from St Paulís College NSW, first, Evil Chicken Racing, private entry, Vic, second and Box Hill High, Vic, third. Congratulations and well done, Tim. Tim has already made plans to join forces with fellow students from Rose Bay and New Town when they all attend Rosny College in 2008. We look forward to what the union will produce, it can only be good.

It should also be noted that the winning car was subjected to close scrutiny on several occasions for its obvious superior performance in the bad conditions. Each time the car was found to fully comply with the 2007 regulations.

A great deal of time has since been spent researching the combination of low light, the weighting formula and low performance panels. As a result the 2008 regulations have been altered to better take into account low light conditions and to reduce any potential advantage of such panels. A full official explanation of the phenomena will be made available well in advance of the 2008 competition.

On one of the very rare occasion that the sun did emerge, a new entry from Winthrop Baptist College, WA, turned in a 16.30 second lap! What the results may have been with a bit of sun is only conjecture. A lot of the cars came to serious grief at any reasonable speed, I have never seen so many broken eggs (drivers).

If the cars had it tough, things were no better for the boats which were run in the fountain. Not only did they have to contend with the strong winds and the rain, the location was adjacent the finish line of the Darwin to Adelaide Solar Challenge, and it seemed compulsory for the teams to throw the driver in the fountain. This resulted in tsunamis attacking the course!

Our boats are yet to reach the standard of our cars but Ambrose Smith from Lauderdale Primary received an award for Design and Engineering, well done, Ambrose.

I forgot to mention, Rose Bay also picked up an award for the best crash when their car got well and truly tangled up with an all girl entry from Victoria. Hey, guys, thereís an easier way to meet girls, you could have just asked for an introduction.

I would like to congratulate all the members of the Tasmanian contingent for their performance and their behaviour while in Adelaide despite some very trying times.

The good news is that the National finals in 2008 are to be held in Hobart for the first time in the eventís 16 odd year history. Details of the location have not yet been finalised but it will be held towards the end of November. Anyone wanting to help will be more than welcome.

John Jeffery