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Friday, 16 November, 2001, 14:51 GMT
Scrutineering the Mad Dog
Mad Dog, South Bank Uni
Mad Dog gets inspected by race officials
Martine Follain, who is with Britain's Mad Dog team competing in the 2001 World Solar Challenge in Australia, describes preparations for the trans-Australian race which starts on Sunday.

There was a huge sigh of relief when Mad Dog cleared through the scrutineering process after nearly three hours of close inspection - the equivalent of a very rigorous MOT.

Preparations for the race had been building up over the last couple of months, and the last week in the Darwin workshop had been particularly intense.

Conditions were hard with heat and humidity wearing the team down. And the temperature didn't let up at night, as the students discovered when they continued working on the car until the small hours.

Mad Dog had been taken for a test run the previous day, and two new drivers were trained in preparation for the long race. Along the way, one of the accompanying vehicles ran into problems when its radiator ran dry, but of course, the problem was quickly identified and solved by the experts.

Mad Dog, South Bank Uni
Everything look OK under here
Mad Dog, however, was in its element and ran smoothly, reaching a top speed of 90 km/h.

The next and final hurdle is the official test run in Hidden Valley on Saturday, when the car has to pass stability and brake tests, and also undergo a speed trial to obtain its grid position.

The team will put the final touches to the car on Friday night, and then relax in true Aussie style with a barbecue.

Martine Follain is a communications officer with South Bank University's Mad Dog team. BBC News Online will be following the progress of Mad Dog throughout the World Solar Challenge.

Map, BBC
BBC News Online will be following the progress of Mad Dog and its team, the staff and students of South Bank University in London.
See also:

25 Aug 99 | Sci/Tech
Mad dog heads for the Sun
25 Oct 99 | Sci/Tech
Aussies win solar prize
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