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Thursday, 22 November, 2001, 13:48 GMT
Mad Dog presses on
Mad Dog, South Bank University
Mad Dog runs on - sorry about the squashed bug
Martine Follain, who is with Britain's Mad Dog team competing in the 2001 World Solar Challenge in Australia, reports on the fifth day of the famous trans-Australian race.

The weather forecast we picked up on Wednesday announced cloud and isolated rainstorms for Thursday - and, unfortunately, it turned out to be accurate.

Mad Dog, South Bank University
Red sky in morning, shepherd's warning
We drove under cloudy skies for half the day and through a couple of light rainstorms. We nevertheless managed to keep going at an average speed of 71 kilometres per hour (44 miles per hour) and actually clocked a total of 597 km (370 miles)- remarkable considering the conditions.

We even overtook two Japanese cars, as well as some solar cycles, which were racing from Alice Springs to Adelaide.

However, we drained the batteries and the last hour was spent trying to work out how much we could push them. Just before 5pm, we had to stop because there was only 10% energy left in the batteries and a heavy rainstorm made it too dangerous to continue.

Mad Dog, South Bank University
A good day in the circumstances
Once Mad Dog had been covered, a rather forlorn group sheltered in the vans watching the dark skies, the pouring rain and winds.

Our camp for the night is on the side of the road, just north of Port Augusta. We thought yesterday's night in the outback was the real thing but tonight's experience was surely going to be even more of a challenge!

We are approximately 300 km (186 miles) from the finishing line and are hoping good weather will enable us to complete the race tomorrow.

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.


Nuna, the Dutch solar car entry, was officially declared the winner of the race on Thursday when it crossed the ceremonial finish line at Torrens Parade Grounds in Adelaide.

Nuna's time for the 3,000-kilometre-course (1,860 miles) from Darwin of 32 hours and 39 minutes is a race record.

Second-placed Aurora crossed the timed finish line early on Thursday before also moving on into the city centre. Its overall average speed of 89.97 km/h (55.90 mph) was only slightly slower than Nuna's 91.81 km/h (57.04 mph).

M-Pulse, the pre-race favourite from the University of Michigan, US, was officially classified third.

See also:

21 Nov 01 | Sci/Tech
Dutch win solar car race
19 Nov 01 | Sci/Tech
Dog's disastrous day
25 Aug 99 | Sci/Tech
Mad dog heads for the Sun
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