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Intellibike breaks 100 kilometre per hour barrier

The Intellibike went over the speed limit in South Australia Keystone

The Swiss Intellibike pursued its race across Australia on Thursday, hitting at times speeds of over 100 kilometres per hour.

This content was published on November 22, 2001 - 15:42

Despite instructions to stay below 80 kilometres per hour, the riders of the Biel-designed Intellibike decided on the fifth day of the World Solar Challenge to throw restraint overboard and to push the sun-powered bicycle to its limits.

"I told them not to ride too fast, otherwise it wears out the batteries," said Andrea Vezzini, one of the team coordinators. "But you can't stop them from enjoying themselves."

Nearing finish line

The prototype uses a small electric motor to multiply the riders' muscular input. On Thursday, they were able to maintain an average of 70 kilometres per hour.

The " Spirit of Bike" team is now just 210 kilometres from the finish line in Adelaide, which they should reach early Friday afternoon local time at a more leisurely pace. The Intellibike covered 1300 kilometres over the last two days.

The first solar cars have already made their way to the South Australian capital. The team from the Universities of Amsterdam and Delft won the race with their vehicle dubbed "Nuna", which covered the distance in just under 33 hours.

The Swiss engineers will find some joy in this Dutch victory. The engine that motored Nuna into the winner's circle was developed in Biel in 1993.

by Stephane Hiscock

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