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Thread: Carbon fiber to ashes, electronic to dust.

  1. #1
    Nuon Fangirl

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    Default Carbon fiber to ashes, electronic to dust.

    Some will know that the ThinkBike Marshals are very involved with the annual Sasol Solar Challenge solar car race which happens every two years in South Africa. Alternating years there is the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia which is currently on. The sad news is that one of the teams that we have come to know well, the Delft University team's Vattenfall (previously Nuon) Solar Team lost their car NunaX to fire today, on the last stretch to the finish line. NunaX, at the time in the lead, burnt to a pile of ashes. Fortunately the driver managed to get out unharmed. As ThinkBike Marshals we have seen Nuna 7s come 2nd, while Nuna8s and Nuna9s won in South Africa.

    Ironically, another Dutch team, University of Twente lost their car, RedE due to it being blown off the road by terrible wind after which it flipped yesterday. At that time, they were in the lead, abot 5 minutes ahead of NunaX.

  2. #2
    Hooligan Biker
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    I hope their insurance was on order :B

    That aside, how does this Australia leg compare to the south Africa leg. - how much more competitive is it, and is there more at stake Down Under compared to SA? We've really seen x2 top teams in the recent past in ZA.

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  3. #3
    Nuon Fangirl

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    The Aus and SA challenges cannot really be compared as they are very different.

    Australia is the World Solar Challenge and seen as the world championship. As many as 40 entrants. By this standard the Sasol Solar Challenge does not compare at all and we feel great if we draw 10 entrants.

    The South African Challenge is way more difficult as the Australian one is basically a straight line race from A to B (in the first 700 odd km, there is only one turn off from the road they are on). The distance is 3100km and that is that. They take about 3.5 - 4 days to complete. In SA they the current record is 4800km and it is ran over 7 or 8 days. Serious traffic to content with, mountain passes, etc.

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    Watched the news coming in and it was heartbreaking for them.

    Maybe some vehicle regulation changes as this seems to be similar to what we encounter with crosswinds on the SA event. Cars designed for aerodynamics and are very light with very narrow tyres. Great for what they are looking for but also creates the monster that is hard to handle in strong or gusty sidewind conditions.

    Time will tell what comes out as the rules are designed to "keep it real" for their vehicles the road.
    All my posts are my opinion and not those of TB or TB Marshals or any other sane human

  5. #5
    Nuon Fangirl

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    Quote Originally Posted by WBro View Post
    Watched the news coming in and it was heartbreaking for them.

    Maybe some vehicle regulation changes as this seems to be similar to what we encounter with crosswinds on the SA event. Cars designed for aerodynamics and are very light with very narrow tyres. Great for what they are looking for but also creates the monster that is hard to handle in strong or gusty sidewind conditions.

    Time will tell what comes out as the rules are designed to "keep it real" for their vehicles the road.
    I saw the video of where NunaX caught fire. I fear the team may have dropped the ball.

    NunaX came to a quick stop. Only 1 of the people in the chase car ran towards Nuna and helped the driver escape. At that stage there was no smoke yet. Nuna then rolled slowly down a hill and you start see smoke. Both driver and helper just stood there and watched. Considering that both Nuna and the chase vehicle have fire extinguishers available I was surprised at the lack of any attempt to get them and use them. Of course, easy for me to sit here and say that.

    Also, Nuna rolling forward after the driver escaped is strange. Why did he not apply the park brake? This is especially strange as they lost 5 minutes the previous day because Nuna rolled forward at the control stop and the team had to grab her before it hit another car.

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    Thanks AMZ. They are an amazingly organised team and have struck protocols and procedures as you are aware. As you saw the ball was dropped. Big potty as they are also a super fun group of extremely hard workers with passion.
    All my posts are my opinion and not those of TB or TB Marshals or any other sane human

  7. #7
    Nuon Fangirl

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    Quote Originally Posted by WBro View Post
    Thanks AMZ. They are an amazingly organised team and have struck protocols and procedures as you are aware. As you saw the ball was dropped. Big potty as they are also a super fun group of extremely hard workers with passion.
    This is why I was surprised at the roll forward at the control stop and even more so at the site of the fire. Not having the park brake on is a very basic error. Those of us who have marshaled the Sasol Solar Challenge have come to know this team as comparable to an F1 team when it comes to protocols and procedures and they just do not make mistakes.

    Regardless, it was terrible to see two of the very top competitors lose their cars from the lead of the race this year. While we have never seen team Twente with their red cars in SA, they came second to Nuna by less than 10 minutes in 2017 (Australia) and were leading them when their car was destroyed in the roll over. Our other friends, Tokai Challenger from Japan finished 2nd this year again.

    I do hope we see Nuna? and Tokai Challenger in SA next year. It seems Chilli is going all out to pull all the top teams to their challenge, which is the same time. I had a quick social media chat with Agoria from Belgum, who won the Australian challenge this year but they have decided to go to Chilli rather than SA, because they do not like the SA "staged" race. I hope Vatenfall (Nuna) and Tokai Challenger doesn't follow them there!

  8. #8
    Nuon Fangirl

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    Quote Originally Posted by WBro View Post
    Thanks AMZ. They are an amazingly organised team and have struck protocols and procedures as you are aware. As you saw the ball was dropped. Big potty as they are also a super fun group of extremely hard workers with passion.
    This is why I was surprised at the roll forward at the control stop and even more so at the site of the fire. Not having the park brake on is a very basic error. Those of us who have marshaled the Sasol Solar Challenge have come to know this team as comparable to an F1 team when it comes to protocols and procedures and they just do not make mistakes.

    Regardless, it was terrible to see two of the very top competitors lose their cars from the lead of the race this year. While we have never seen team Twente with their red cars in SA, they came second to Nuna by less than 10 minutes in 2017 (Australia) and were leading them when their car was destroyed in the roll over. Our other friends, Tokai Challenger from Japan finished 2nd this year again.

    I do hope we see Nuna? and Tokai Challenger in SA next year. It seems Chilli is going all out to pull all the top teams to their challenge, which is the same time. I had a quick social media chat with Agoria from Belgum, who won the Australian challenge this year but they have decided to go to Chilli rather than SA, because they do not like the SA "staged" race. I hope Vatenfall (Nuna) and Tokai Challenger doesn't follow them there!

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    Ouch could not have been fun for them
    Those who lead sometimes falls first.
    None of above comments against non Honda motor cycles is to be taken as serious
    I’m sure there is one or two other makes on the road that has a decent bike out there
    (Hell there might even be a good BMW out there somewhere)

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