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06-21-1999

Weather Clouds Outcome In Sunrayce Day Two

It's more like the Grateful Dead's "Touch of Grey."

Once again, dreary skies denied the 29 teams a chance to run their cars by solar power, forcing them to gamble with whatever battery power remained from day one.

Clarkson's Solar Knights was one of 27 teams who did not make it across the finish line at the N.C. Solar Center on the North Carolina State campus in Raleigh. The 198-mile stage from Charlottesville was too far a distance to go on so little power.

With only 54 miles left in the race, the decision was made to load Hyperion into the team trailer and drive the rest of the way. Like the other teams who did not finish, Clarkson's completion time was listed at eight hours, the full time allotted each team to complete the stage. In addition, all teams were assessed a 90-second penalty for every mile uncompleted.

As for the other teams, they're all in the same boat, Clarkson included. (At this hour final official results for today's race for the other 27 cars were unknown.)

Even though our goal is to never have to trailer, under these conditions there wasn't much of an option, said Jason L. Camps, who drove the first half of today's second stage. "There were a lot of cars that had to trailer before us. We saw trailers traveling on the road while we were still going."

The Solar Knights must have thought it was déjà vu all over again early on when Hyperion pulled over due to what was perceived as motor controller problems. By the time it was determined that nothing was wrong, the team lost 15 minutes of time.

Averaging about 35 m.p.h. through most of the race, Hyperion regrouped and passed all but seven cars, but the team had to stop at the Virginia-North Carolina border to charge their batteries. Even with the charge, however, Hyperion still struggled along. At the 144-mile mark in Roxboro, N.C., project administrator Craig Evans made the call to trailer Hyperion and drive it into Raleigh. When asked later how much battery power was left in the car, Evans fashioned a zero using his thumb and forefinger. "The sun just never came out to help us," he said.

But this much is known: "We're all going to be here tomorrow morning charging," said team adviser Eric P. Thacher.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT TODAY'S RACE IS AT http://www.sunrayce.com/sunrayce/mobile/june21/ind ex.html

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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