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Volunteer Stories

Volunteer Stories

To illustrate just how fantastic volunteering for the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge is we have collated a few volunteer profiles with some of their memorable moments collected along the way:

Terry Poustie28_terry_poustie_cropped

Terry, a teacher and volunteer, is a long standing volunteer for the World Solar Challenge has participated in thirteen events from 1987 through to 2015.

There are many reasons that Terry continually returns to volunteer for the World Solar Challenge. He lists a few of them here:

  • To share the knowledge, ingenuity and companionship of the officials and observers and assist the conquests of the many participants who challenge the 3000km in an effort to achieve what many would believe to not be possible.
  • Reuniting with the immense number of friends I have made as a result of this unique event over 25 years.
  • Enjoying the natural life of sleeping in the rough along the edge of the Stuart Highway. I event still enjoy the stones and dust as the road trains pass by.
  • Sharing the event frustrations with fellow volunteers and participants. You can imagine how frustrating it can be for everyone after long periods of preparation and often immense cost when something relatively simple prevents proceeding further toward Adelaide or the Alice or even Tenant Creek.
  • Experiencing the considerable temperature changes from 44 degrees celsius at night in Tenant Creek to minus -2 degrees celsius! I remember one night out of Adelaide we were trying to sleep as the Malaysian team ran their car motors all night to try and stay warm!
  • Sharing the variance of special customs, traditions, meals and company of the incredible entries from an ever increasing number of countries.
  • Meeting the teams! To experience the Dutch team with members of 203cm, with one lady in the team of  193 cm to my mere 173cm! But such wonderful people who experienced winning the event in 2001, 2003 , 2005, 2007 and continue to be a friendly and event supportive competition. Re-meeting Tokai University after I observed them in 1996 and I was able to be with them at the finish line as the winners in 2009, and lucky to congratulate them for their win in 2011.

I simply hope you can understand my considerable experience and enjoyment from the initial event with Hans Tholstrup, Jim Buchanan, Dr Bill Boyd, David Rand, John Ward, and Prof. John Stoney even though he was part of Dick Smith’s Australian Geographic team in 1987.

Likewise I would encourage you and perhaps your friends to share this incredible experience as we and inerrable others have since this initial journey.

James Buchanan29_dr_david_rand_terry_poustie_and_james_buchanan

James, who is almost retired, has also been a long standing volunteer with thirteen events under his belt.

Again this is a hard question to ask our volunteers, but James has selected a few reasons as to why he continually returns to the World Solar Challenge:

  • The camaraderie over the years with so many volunteers and competitors returning to participate.
  • The journey up the Stuart Highway transporting official cars, and camping out in our great outback right through to the enjoyment of observing and mixing with team members on the way down to Adelaide.
  • Meeting and mixing with so many very smart and intelligent young and old people from all around the world.
  • The feeling you get from encouraging others to join in on the volunteering experience! I asked one volunteer that I encouraged to join from Tasmania (who had volunteered for Targa Tasmania for many years) how he enjoyed the event upon returning to Adelaide....... the answer was” I hated it” with a grin on his face “Better than Targa”. And one of his reasons for this was that the way you are able to meet and mix with the team members.

There are so many highlights from so many events that it is hard to single any out. If I had to, I'd say the amount of friends that I have made; meeting and spending a few days with Dick and Pip Smith; the opportunity to experience the Outback and being able to participate in an event that has seen so many advances in technology.

As one of the only two original remaining observers and a handful of other volunteers who have participated in every event, I would say the main reason I keep returning is the chance to once again to meet up and relive this wonderful experience.