Josh's Blog: GGC Day Six Update

Published: 29 October 2009
Day Six of the 2009 Global Green Challenge.
Josh's Blog: GGC Day Six Update

Pictured: Day Six of the 2009 Global Green Challenge.

Port Augusta to Adelaide.

Phew! That’s all we could say as we rolled into Adelaide today (Thursday 29 October), completely exhausted.

After six days and 3000km it actually feels a bit claustrophobic to be back in a big city.

We were lucky to see a single traffic light on most of the journey (Alice Springs and Port Augusta were about it). So imagine how frustrating it felt for us as we encountered dozens of traffic lights to make it to today’s finish line in the centre of Adelaide.

With 306km to cover, today was a short leg but it was one of the most challenging.

We had to travel at a higher average speed in less time than in days before because we had to factor in the traffic going into town.

So instead of cruising along at 75km/h or so, we stayed closer to the speed limit, sitting on between 90 and 100km/h in 110km/h zones.

The route also had a gradual climb in it at the start, so we were really focusing on our consumption just as we had been the whole week.

As luck would have it, however, after a week of strong headwinds, a tailwind picked up off the coast mid morning and we were able to build up a good time buffer and come into town with some minutes up our sleeve.

It was lucky we did because, apart from almost getting lost, we hit a 1km section of roadworks that had a 25km/h limit, about 26km north of Adelaide. It nearly cost some of the other teams penalty points.

As it turned out, we arrived to today’s finish line about 10 minutes early. The higher average speed cost us a fraction more fuel but it was worth it so we didn’t get stressed rolling into town.

Both Gerry Bechet and I haven’t been to Adelaide for ages, and are unfamiliar with the roads and traffic conditions.

I can tell you we breathed a big sigh of relief when we made the timing marker.

The battle isn’t over yet, however.

The toughest test is still to come: the city cycle.

The HSV V8 has been doing us proud for the past week, so tomorrow will be the time to test how efficiently we can drive the Maloo in commuter traffic.

Tomorrow (Friday 30 October) is three hours of city driving, and then the cars are filled to the brim to check final fuel consumption numbers. After that, we will know the winner.

We also get a police escort into the main street of town for an official greeting by the local big wigs. If you’re a HSV supporter, be in town between 2pm and 4pm to watch the convoy.

In the meantime, most teams are checking the final route tonight in their support cars because this week has shown that the directions can be ambiguous at times. Wish us luck!

Gerry and I are just excited to be getting into a car with air-conditioning. The LPG Senator never looked so good.

Inside the HSV Maloo

Gerry and I have again found new ways to dispense with flies in an efficient and pain free manner. I favour the rolled up folder technique but Gerry swears blind a quick flick with the chamois works best. The only problem with his theory is that you then end up with a fly on your detailing cloth.

Gerry was out polishing the Maloo again this morning. He was so proud he was convinced that was why the Maloo was running so well today (higher speed, not much higher consumption). Then I helpfully pointed out that we had a tailwind. Ahem.

We passed the Falcon XR6 Turbo within 25 minutes today (much earlier than previous days) because we wanted to build a time buffer in case we got lost in Adelaide.

As it turned out, our friends in the blue car made it with 30 seconds spare. It was a close contest.

When we arrived we emptied all our food and drink supplies from the Maloo because we hopefully won’t need them in the city stage tomorrow.

Gerry and I also walked back to the hotel in Adelaide. Our support crew, HSV engineers Rob Davis and Leigh Russell thought we were mad for walking in the Adelaide heat.

But you know what? After six days straight in a hot car, it was good to stretch the legs. Funnily enough, with all the traffic, we almost beat them to the hotel. Not that we’re competitive or anything…

If Gerry and I are feeling really energetic we might even walk to the cars in parc ferme in the morning.

Pace notes and other observations

Most of the tensions and sledging have eased now that the group has made it to the big smoke.

The organisers put on a fancy dinner last night, and everyone seemed to be in a good mood.

We shared the table with the Holden team, who have done an amazing job in the Commodore Omega V6 SIDI car, averaging about 6.1L/100km according to their provisional figures.

They’ve been really supportive of us through the event. We also both realized that we would likely have the most efficient support crew.

While other teams have fleets of cars following their entrants, the HSV Maloo has been followed by the LPG Senator, while the Omega wagon has been followed all week by a diesel-powered Cruze sedan.

Maybe next time there should be competition for support vehicles, too.

-- Joshua Dowling

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