Every Sasol Solar Challenge starts with the same simple question, how do we get from point A, our start line, to Point B, the finish line and where are these two points located?
Traditionally the challenge finishes in Cape Town, or at least nearby. The iconic city is a drawcard for our international guests as it provides them with a springboard of travel opportunities after the challenge is concluded.
Once this is determined, the organising team then starts to work on how we will get to our endpoint. This is a complex and highly intricate task that takes days and weeks of work, with several route inspections. The selection of towns and the route between them must follow a criterion, which includes aspects such as, road conditions, venues, educational opportunities, and finally the distance between each. We also look at aspects that sometimes can’t be measured. Have we been to this town before, is there something special or unique in the region, and finally, how does this stop add to the overall experience?
The route of the Sasol Solar Challenges must achieve the following criteria:
- The route must be challenging but achievable. Through the combination of geography, distance and stops, the route should be a challenge for the best but be achievable for all.
- The route must be memorable and must provide a cross-section of the beauty South Africa holds. Teams should experience as much of our beautiful country as possible.
- The route must provide opportunities for social engagement and education. Using Solar Cars, the Sasol Solar Challenge seeks to ignite the imagination of young minds across South Africa. This key deliverable is the foundation of a successful route.
- Finally, the route must have new and exciting elements, such as half-blind and full-blind stages as well as other exciting innovations.
At all times the safety of our participants and their vehicles is of paramount importance, so no matter how great a road or route may be, if it doesn’t allow our participants to compete safely then it won’t make the final cut.
Once all the above is done and every aspect is considered, the final route is strung together, taking our teams on an exciting cross-country journey from South Africa’s commercial hub in Gauteng to one of the world’s top tourism destinations. Along the way, teams will cross mountain ranges and deserts, traverse the agricultural heartland and coastal Eden of South Africa.
Driving vehicles that are only powered by the sun, the participants will become one with the route of the Sasol Solar Challenge and the people of this colourful, magical country.