Sharing the road with a road train, Kenworth C509 Takes to the Track with Solar Cars
A sparkling, much loved Kenworth C509 road train with its experienced driver and National Road Transport Hall of Famer, Jeff Fulwood, behind the wheel, hit the Hidden Valley racetrack recently with three equally sparkling and-much loved solar cars, ATN Solar Team’s Priscilla, Western Sydney University’s Unlimited 3.0 and Hong Kong team IVE’s Sophie 6 , in a road safety demonstration with a difference.
It takes driving skill and common sense to pass a road train at any time on the open road in a conventional motor vehicle. These rigs are big! Passing in a solar car, especially a streamlined, aerodynamic, lightweight Challenger solar car, is just one of the challenges drivers in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge face.
A fact Andy Samsons, Driver Trainer and Crew Chief to new kids on the block, ATN solar car Cruiser Class team, the first five state, five university national team, was only too aware of, having competed in the BWSC many times himself under the successful Aurora team banner.
‘Well before our drivers went anywhere near our real solar car, we had them performing countless hours of testing in a specially constructed test rig at the PACCAR Australia proving ground, Kenworth Headquarters,’ Andy said.
‘Knowing how important road safety is to the BWSC and professional drivers, we got together with the Event, fellow teams, local Kenworth dealer, Simon Cameron from CID Equipment and Malcolm Bishop from Nighthawk Transport to organise a ‘first-hand’ demonstration,’ he said.
BW SC Event Director Chris Selwood AM said road safety is an absolute priority for the Event which covers 3,000 kilometres between Darwin and Adelaide along the Stuart Highway.
‘We work very closely with the governments of both the Northern Territory and South Australia to ensure our competitors are clearly briefed on road safety and the conditions they might encounter,’ Mr Selwood said.
During the demonstration, which covered practical tips on being overtaken and overtaking a road train, including the importance of line of sight, maintaining consistent speeds, communication and signalling, Driver Jeff Fulwood took the opportunity to impress upon teams the size and weight of these rigs and the extra distances they need to stop safely.
‘I’ve been in the road transport industry since I was seventeen, If there’s one message I’d like to share today, it’s the value of patience,’ Jeff said.
‘Be patient, wait for the right time to pass, don’t cut in front of a road train and don’t overtake a turning road train – you need to give them space and time,’ he said.
For information on driving safely with road trains go to https://nt.gov.au/driving/safety/driving-with-road-trains