Englishmen use sun to go out in Mad Dog

November 8, 1996

A TEAM of five from London's South Bank University this week completed an arduous 3,000 kilometre journey across the Australian outback in a solar-powered car, writes Alan Thomson.

The university's vehicle, named Mad Dog, crossed the finishing line of the World Solar Challenge in Adelaide on Tuesday.

The race had begun ten days earlier in Darwin. Mad Dog came in 32nd out of a starting field of some 46 weird and wonderful solar-powered vehicles.

South Bank was the only United Kingdom higher education institution to enter this year.

The sleek, six-metre-long vehicle was built by staff and students in the university's school of engineering systems and design at a cost of Pounds 20,000.

The team comprised lecturers Mike Duke and Nigel Burgess, student Andy Danylewycz and recent graduates Ashley Trowe and Phil King.

The vehicle performed well considering it was one of the cheapest in the field but, at one point, torrential downpours led to the car filling up with water. This affected the car's electrics and time was lost as the team stopped to drill drainage holes in the vehicle floor.

Honda, the Japanese car manufacturer, won the race in their vehicle Honda Dream which is thought to have cost the best part of Pounds 1 million to build. Their journey took them four days.

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