It Takes a Village
10 Oct 2019
With over 45 Teams, each with their very own custom built solar vehicle – built to specific regulations – traveling 3,000kms through the centre of Australia, there's quite a few people involved in making the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge a reality.
Apart from the teams, and the staff and officials of the event, there’s an incredible group of volunteers who give up their time to come from all around the World to help make the BWSC happen.
With around 200 volunteers coming from every corner of the globe, it truly takes a village, and the volunteers of the BWSC are an integral part to making the event happen and facilitating this great adventure for the teams.
We spoke to Sally Hunt – one of this year’s Volunteers, who is an Aussie living in Chile – about her experience. Sally is also part of the Carrera Solar Atacama; a 2,500km Solar Challenge staged in Chile.
What’s your role at the BWSC?
I have been assisting at Static Scrutineering – managing the time slots for each team, directing vehicles, and tracking each team’s progress throughout the day.
Tell us about the Volunteer experience at the BWSC?
The volunteer experience has been fantastic.
It’s the biggest event of its kind in the world, so it’s great to be able to meet so many people with similar interests and similar passions. They’re all cool people as well, so its great to make new friends, and I’m learning so much that I’m really looking forward to going back home and applying what I’ve learnt.
What’s it like living in Chile?
Living in Chile is awesome. It’s very different to Australia in many ways, and there are also a lot of similarities.
The country itself is spectacular; like Australia it’s got so much variety in terms of landscape. It’ the adventure capital of the world really, it’s an adventure to go there.
What do you do with the Carrera Solar Atacama?
At the Carrera Solar Atacama I do a little bit of everything really. I do most of the communication with the international teams – just with the English factor… I also help out with the regulations. There’s a lot of translation that needs to happen, so I take care of that. That means I also stumble into the media area as well. I’m sort of involved a little bit in the technical side, and a bit of the planning.
How does the BWSC differ from the Carrera Solar Atacama?
We try as much as possible to keep the regulations similar as possible to the BWSC, so we can facilitate the movement between teams and events. We want to reduce costs as much as possible for the teams that want to participate in various events, so the BWSC has been supportive of us in that sense.
The regulations themselves are the same, the format is pretty similar as well... But the biggest difference is the geography. Chile has a totally different geography to Australia. The roads here are very long and very flat. In Chile they’re up and down, up and down… There’s one day when teams go from sea level up to over 3,400km in a day, so it’s very challenging in terms of landscape, which is definitely the biggest point of difference.
What do you love about the Solar Challenge community?
Last year at the Carrera Solar Atacama, we had a lot of the Australians come out to Chile for the adventure. I got to meet Chris Selwood, we had Paul Gwan and Peter Pudney come along to our event, so it’s been awesome to come back here and jus see everybody from our adventure last year.
You’ve been seeing teams at the end of their Static Scrutineering – what’s the moment like when they get the final tick from you?
It’s fantastic… It’s really cool because you just know how much work goes into this – 2 years working so hard on a project, and I think it’s just a huge relief for teams to get over the line. Obviously there’s still Dynamic Scrutineering to go, but I think the really tedious scrutineering is quite a challenge for the teams, and quite a nervous moment, so it’s really great to be part of that, give them a high-5 and send them on their way.
If you’d like to be a Volunteer with the BWSC, stay tuned, and we’ll release more information on how to register your interest in 2020.
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