The only one of its kind started in the town of Castel San Pietro Terme in the 1950s.
It was basically a race with karts pushed by humans completely without engines. At the beginning it was just a race among locals but it then became more competitive and serious.
The four axles with bicycle wheels were substituted by more advanced versions.
The famous “torpedo”, an unbeatable kart was made from an American airplane abandoned by after WW2. In order to overtake the torpedo, all sorts of aerodynamic prototypes in aluminium and fiberglass were created.
The competition did not stop there – the athletes trained hard, suspensions were put on, carbon was then used and they even carried out tests in wind tunnels. The same enthusiasm, the same ambition and the same desire (it must be said) come together to make up “Onda Solare”.
Emilia I was a high performing prototype created following two years of research in order to take part in the World Solar Cycling Challenge in 2005: an agonizing competition split into stages pedaling across 3,000 km of Australian desert.
During the race four excellent cyclists took it in turns to pedal. Their efforts were assisted by an electric engine powered by photovoltaic panels.
The strength and consistency of these athletes plus their team made them very successful: Emilia I got on the podium in third place. This success encouraged the team to have another go: create Emilia II and enter the 2011 World Solar Challenge.
A fantastic result means we are obliged to improve.
The 2011 WSC was a huge leap into the unknown for the whole team: the paperwork involved for transporting the car, the climate, bureaucracy, trials on various circuits, the arduous route, nerves etc.
The race was hit by several unexpected events: the idea of the desert being an open space where nothing ever happens was swept away by the memory of bush fires all along the Stuart Highway which meant the race was temporarily halted.
The WSC is an amazing event for those who have taken part, the days beforehand plus the 3000 km race make it an unforgettable experience.What happens afterwards?
A traditional dive into the “Three Rivers Fountain” in Adelaide and here I can guarantee that all tension built up previously in this intercontinental event just disappears.