Today was filled with hope and challenges. We set out bright and early, determined to make it all the way to Coober Pedy. However, Mother Nature had other plans for us. Just as we neared the South Australian border with a distance along the route of 1749 km, the cloudy skies and relentless headwinds teamed up, sapping our car’s energy faster than we had anticipated. The headwinds felt like invisible hands pushing against us, while the clouds acted like a shade, blocking our solar panels from soaking up the sun. 

In an unforeseen twist, we had to load our car into the trailer and transport it to Coober Pedy control stop due to running out of battery charge – we are officially out of the competition! But every cloud has a silver lining, and for us, it was the opportunity to gather at the South Australian border and capture the team’s spirit with a memorable photo. 

Josh shared his feelings at the dinner in Coober Pedy when we gathered with other teams, “I’m cold, but my heart is warm with pride. Given the constraints we had, our team’s effort is commendable.” George added a touch of wisdom, suggesting that with more preparation, we could’ve evaded some of the day’s challenges. Yet, for a first-timer in this competition, our journey is a success story in its own right. 

Today, the unpredictable headwinds left not only us but also the entire CSIRO Cruiser Class struggling. None of the teams could reach the NRMA Control stop at Coober Pedy by the 5 pm cutoff. This meant all cruiser class teams faced a setback. 

But the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge fellowship was alive and well as we dined together, playing cricket to lighten the mood. VTC’s team faced their own set of hurdles, with SOPHIE – she did her best. Their car, SOPHIE barely made it past the starting line, but Tim from VTC took it in stride, stating, “Considering our last-minute arrival due to shipment delays, just being here is a miracle.” Their team’s challenges were compounded by the pandemic, leading to a shortage of experienced members. 

Solaride, another team, mirrored our journey almost bizarrely. We found comfort in each other’s company, sharing our setbacks and cheering each other on through social media. 

In conclusion, today was a testament to the unpredictability of challenges and the indomitable spirit of all teams. While the day was marked by setbacks, it was also filled with moments of unity, resilience, and a shared drive to keep pushing forward, no matter the obstacles.