back to article El Reg follows World Solar Challenge

At almost 3000km in length, the Stuart Highway is the world's longest road. The highway traverses the middle "strip" of Australia, connecting Darwin in the north with Adelaide in the south, and cuts through hostile terrain, mostly desert and mostly flat. Also it's bloody hot - with day-time temperatures hitting 38C in the …


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  1. Darryl

    "World's longest"?

    Trans Canada Highway is over twice as long - 7821 Km

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Shall we say world's longest straight road then?

      1. Yag

        Or even...

        world's longest sunny road ?

  2. Knoydart
    Black Helicopters

    A transport challenge sponsored by Veolia? You must be joking. Maybe they could attempt to set a positive example and get the trains run in the first instance.

    Black helicopters ´cause they are quicker than a Veolia run transport system...

  3. Doug Burbidge

    > Northern Territory imposes a distinctly unchallenging top speed of 110km/h.

    As of 2009, the NT limit was 130 km/h: still fast enough to be challenging for even the fastest cars (though you do have to slow for towns, including the 40 km/h school zone in Tennant Creek). South Australia, OTOH, is indeed 110 km/h (less in towns).

    > There are towns and road stops every 100km-200km.

    South of Alice Springs this may be... optimistic. Get a copy of the route notes. Each team will be given one at the meeting one or two days before the start; keep an eye on the notice board at Foskey Pavilion. Or they may join the 21st century and publish the route notes online.

    Best phone coverage is via Telstra's Next G network, which is 3G on a lower frequency (850 MHz) so the cells reach further. It's proprietary to Australia, but you might be able to pick up a phone and/or wireless internet dongle for it at a reasonable price.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Thanks for the catch - speed limit info changed from NT to South Australia.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Thanks for info.

    3. Neoc

      Erm no.

      "Best phone coverage is via Telstra's Next G network, which is 3G on a lower frequency (850 MHz) so the cells reach further. It's proprietary to Australia, ..."

      No, it isn't. Most phone sold around the world (expect, of course, for the USA's swag of CDMA-only phones) are capable of doing 850MHz.

  4. Retroject

    Northern Territory Error

    Just a quick correction to the above article,

    Actually, Northern Territory never used to have a speed limit (specificly during the first eight world solar challenges), but have recently taken on one of 130km/h.

    It's South Australia where the cars will be limited to 110km/h.

  5. Denarius Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    NT speed limit ?

    AFAIRC, the NT is unusually high for Oz, the land of timid nitwits. NT was 130 Km/h max limit. Elsewhere max limit is 110 Km/H. The old days with no limit was not as much fun as one might think. Going past a road train at 140 really stressed the car, windscreen and driver[s], especially if loose stones were floating in the breeze.

    Also the cost of fuel made an economical speed very wallet appealing. I rarely went above 120Km/h for that reason.

    The cattle moving onto the road around 16:00 hours each day also tended to slow one down.

  6. Chazmon

    and there was me hoping the spb would be travelling across Aus in the traditional way; in an old bus with a giant sparkly shoe attached to the roof...

    1. Mike Richards Silver badge

      You may be on to something

      Remember this traumatic photo of Lester's son???

      Spangly tops, Australian location - I sense PARIS: The Musical is in the offing.

  7. Jolyon

    Definitely don't need a 4wd

    Just get a proper Aussie car.

    Drove the length of the Stuart Highway in 2001 in a first generation Holden Commodore that I bought for AUS$1100 (less than £400 at the time) and which must have been 20 years old by then.

  8. Jim Hague

    Stopping at 5pm sounds sensible

    The bloody roos gather by the roadside in the twilight, and when approached by a car with lights on manage to make pheasants looks like keen students of the Green Cross Code.

    And it is bitumen all the way, and you definitely don't need a 4WD.

    If you can, take a diversion into the town centre of Woomera as you go past. The park is festooned with bits of tasty old range hardware - a Gloster Meteor, bits of Black Knight, all kinds of old missiles and rocketry. And if you ask the right person at the hotel, the local astronomy club may give you a run on their telescope.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stopping at 5pm sounds sensible

      We had Woomera pencilled for a possible launch pad for LOHAN. And we will definitely be doing a recce.

  9. oceanhippie

    Road Trains

    As a recent traveller down the Stewart and and a good way back up it, yeah I reckon passing a road train going the other way doing 130 in a carbon fibre paper airplane with wheels will qualify as "interesting".

    The Stewart is metalled but bumpy in places. The stop at 5pm should reduce the chance of hitting a roo, but cows... saw a lot of dead cows by the road. Wouldn't even slow a road train down but a carbon fibre pedle car covered in solar panels?

    As a pom resident in Darwin, will be checking it out, met the Dutch team in their highly modified hire car support vehicle 2 weeks back, stayed mast on roof rack. Inverters, 12v ciggy sockets gaffer tape and cable tiles everywhere. Propper job! They talked us through the support car with its gps and monitors ending with:

    "and that's a webcam so we can see the sky with all the screens in the back its tricky to see out of the windows"

    With no air con in the cars how the hell do they keep their beer cold?

    1. Yag


      Being able to withstand the gust generated by those road trains is actually a prerequisite for the competition :)

    2. Ragarath

      Is it not POME? Prisoner Of Mother England?

      Okay, just looked it up and it seems POM can mean Prisoner Of the Motherland. You learn something every day.

      1. Neoc

        I always though it stood for "Prisoner Of her Majesty".

  10. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Is Lester on a jolly?

    Who's manning mission control and feeding the donkeys then?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is Lester on a jolly?

      He has staff.

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