2017 Races

buggypusher
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2017 Races

Postby buggypusher » Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:27 pm

Oddly quiet around here after a very successful and eventful Raceday...

My thoughts on how raceday went:
- Weather (rain) was spotty and hard to predict both days. Very happy that Sweepstakes was willing to hold on until the last second instead of prematurely cancelling
- No extended delays from buggy related safety incidents, longest delay resulted from a small boy falling off of his father's shoulders. Fortunately, word is that he is doing alright
- Only 1 spin!!!
- Other DQs included 3 drop test failures, not making it to the start line, and 5 second violation.
- No (or minimal maybe??) buggy to buggy contact in the freeroll or chute (or hills for that matter)
- A few buggies either braked to a complete stop in the freeroll or braked to slow down to avoid potential future contact in a passing situation, all were granted rerolls.

About the last point, it is getting to the point where if you have a fast buggy but slow front hills, instead of just having to suck it up and either try to pass or stay behind, you can basically brake and be rewarded a freeroll. I'm not sure how I feel about this yet. On one hand, no attempted chute passes definitely reduces the chute carnage potential. On the other hand we are moving farther and farther away from the idea of racing within a heat and more towards simply time trials (which I know some alums are all for). Also this does reduce some of the incentive/reward for being able to get the buggy up and over the front hills. In the past people would say that being behind another buggy in the freeroll means that you have to either safely pass or suck it up and stay behind, now apparently you can just request a reroll. Also, one could sort of skirt around the rules (and the spirit of the rules) and brake if trailing in the freeroll if they just messed something else up and want a reroll (not enough time to prep wheels properly, hill 1 pusher slipped, etc.), so there is that too. Lastly, I do wonder if CIA A men's in 2015 would have won (and swept Raceday) now if instead of having to try and pass Spirit A, they could've simply braked and asked for a reroll.


My thoughts on the results and teams:
- SDC shattered their women's record from 2009, also inched the men's record a little closer to sub 2:02. Obviously a great raceday for them in almost all regards
- Pike with their best effort and Raceday since 2008. Their women's time was good enough to win in a few of the recent years. Their men's (prelim) time is the fastest non-SDC time since 2012 when Fringe put up a 2:07.13. Hopefully we can see them continue in this direction.
- SigEp recovered nicely from their disastrous Raceday last year to take two trophies and a return to sub 2:10 form. Their only real hitch was Barracuda failing drops.
- CIA seems to have plateaued (or slightly regressed) in the last two years. Their slower times almost definitely a result of generally slower pushers. It seems as though their freeroll speeds and rollouts can't quite match the top teams when the roads are in good condition (but their chute traction in the god awful 2015 was amazing)
- Spirit with their first sub 2:10 time in a long long time. Looks like they've figured out the mojo to get their freeroll speeds up, but not quite to retain energy through the turn.
- Fringe's times are about where they were last year, women's a decent chunk slower. A bit sad to see a team with so much potential not have the pusher talent to compete. Still two trophies for them though (not including design comp or other awards).
- The smaller teams (Apex and the smaller Greeks) not having particularly great racedays. Apex and PhiDelt snuck into the women's finals heats (which were expanded from top 8 teams to top 10 teams this year) with some help of the SDC B and SDC C timing SNAFU being deemed a reroll.


The SDC domination this year has started to make me wonder, much like it did in 2014 (>10 second gap from 1st to 2nd on men's on pretty terrible road conditions), if they are starting to hurt overall competitiveness of buggy. I know some of the orgs I am still in contact with do feel like SDC is currently dominating to such an extent that it doesn't even feel like they can possibly compete for 1st anymore. I am not sure we've seen anything quite like this in the past. SDC in 2008-2012 at least had Pike and Fringe as close competition, only winning 2 of 5 years (although I am sure the SDC alums will tell you to discount 2010 for fire safety DQ). Since 2013, other than 2015 which now seems like a case of SDC having an odd bad luck year or something, nobody has been anywhere close, >5 second winning margins on the men's side every single one of those years. Women's has been a little closer, but if they didn't have a pushbar DQ last year on a 2:26 time we'd be singing the same tune.

In an ideal world, teams would see how successful SDC is, and try their damnedest to catch up. However, buggy overall certainly does not seem as competitive as it has in the past, so instead of SDC inspiring others to push themselves, they could be discouraging others by just highlighting the chasm that currently separates them.

But hell, who knows, SigEp, Pike, and Spirit just put up sub 2:10 times. Pike just rolled a 2:32 on women's and 2:07 on men's, which are both among the fastest non-SDC times in recent years. So at least things might be trending up.

My thoughts (or rant) are over, what are yours?

shafeeq
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Re: 2017 Races

Postby shafeeq » Mon Apr 24, 2017 3:46 pm

Recovering from the Sunday hangover gets longer and longer every year, but quick thoughts:

The good:
- Holy crap, SDC's push teams.
- PiKA is back to being PiKA. They may be the only hope to keep pressure on SDC.
- Spirit has come long way towards being their 90's self.
- SigEp. Now if only they find the wheels they had in 2013.
- More speed across the field than I can remember - all the men's trophies could've been under 2:10, and 2-6 in any order.
- Same for the women - even with expanding the number of trophies it'd have taken a sub 2:40 to get one (if Spirit finished).
- All of those would've been decent times in the past, but SDC makes everybody look slow.
- Multiple non-buggy people who happend to walk by during the CIA A-PiKA B final thought it was the most exciting thing they'd seen. That's the fastest continuously close (and clean) heat I've ever seen. Just didn't go the way I wanted.

The mixed:
- The rerolls (CIA A men, SDC B & C women). Going by the book, none of them should've been granted. Going by "you had to deal with something your competitors didn't", they all should've been granted, so at least the judges were consistent. I like the idea of avoiding the carnage caused by a desperation pass gone wrong (SDC-Spirit in 2015? and likely Spirit C-CIA A in prelims if Spirit didn't accidentally use the curb as brake) and the pass-test is a joke compared to when both buggies are at race-speed. But I also agree it is too open to being abused when the team behind simply doesn't like how they finished. It seemed like SDC D may have tapped the brakes in their heat too, so maybe they should've complained too.
- I like the tradition of final heats being inflexible. But I don't like the idea that who you get paired with has a bigger influence on which trophy you get than how good your buggy, driver, or back hills are. If we want head-to-head racing, make it all head-to-head, not this weird hybrid where some teams go head-to-head and some by themselves.
- Stack the front hills and you risk sacrificing your overall time. Pick the overall fastest lineup and you risk getting screwed.
- From the prelims & women's races it seems like Cliona regressed from Truck Weekend, and not that there was any strategery on PiKA B's part. If it had rolled not like a turd, it'd have been an equally exciting race that would've got them a trophy. CIA might've held on to 3rd in a clean race, but PiKA A was safe.
- I do agree that CIA seems to have plateaued, but so does almost everybody once they get to 2:10ish because every incremental improvement gets harder. They've pretty much graduated all the students who were around for the way up and with Spirit also coming back, they face a harder recruiting challenge. That their B teams keep getting quicker says they keep gaining decently fast people, but in each of the last 3 years, their A teams have had one weak link that keeps moving around. That worked in 2015 when nobody was perfect, but won't cut it against the machines.

The bad:
- PiKA's women would've been under 2:30 and 2nd if they had Banshee.
- Spirit's women spinning out while at a very competitive pace. She'd done well enough in practice that I didn't expect that from them.
- Fringe seems to have forgotten how to roll out. That was Bonsai's signature but I suppose the competition has gotten better since then too.
- A number of pushers act like their foot isn't allowed to enter the next hill after pushing off.
- The start area looks sadly empty of trucks (due to few teams and the ones directly behind the start line being relocated elsewhere).
- 3 teams fail at the basic task of showing up to their race. Just because someone else got an extra 10 seconds doesn't mean you should count on getting it too. The year I was the starter, I recall several teams sending someone over to find out the exact time remaining before their heat.
- 3 teams fail at the basic task of having working brakes.
- General failure at keeping bikes & people off the road during heats. At least 2 buggies had to take some avoiding action.
- Learning just how badly I lost the game of sneaking things past the safety chair.

buggypusher
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Re: 2017 Races

Postby buggypusher » Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:33 pm

shafeeq wrote:- More speed across the field than I can remember - all the men's trophies could've been under 2:10, and 2-6 in any order.
- Same for the women - even with expanding the number of trophies it'd have taken a sub 2:40 to get one (if Spirit finished).
- All of those would've been decent times in the past, but SDC makes everybody look slow.


Agreed, was great to see teams back up to speed again. Off the top of my head this is the most teams I've seen sub 2:10 for men's and sub 2:40 for women's in one Raceday.
- Stack the front hills and you risk sacrificing your overall time. Pick the overall fastest lineup and you risk getting screwed.


In my experience hill 1 is arguably the most important hill in the race since it's pretty long, pretty steep, and has a shoveoff that is one of the main determinants of a hill 2 pusher's time over the hill. So one of the org's best pushers (if not the best pusher) should be on hill 1 in my opinion. Part of that does include the advantages historically granted to getting out into the freeroll in front though.

The bad:
- PiKA's women would've been under 2:30 and 2nd if they had Banshee.

PikA women did push Banshee:
Image

shafeeq
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Re: 2017 Races

Postby shafeeq » Mon Apr 24, 2017 5:27 pm

buggypusher wrote:
shafeeq wrote:The bad:
- PiKA's women would've been under 2:30 and 2nd if they had Banshee.

PikA women did push Banshee:


Oops. That's even weirder. Their freeroll was 2 seconds slower than nearby SDC B & CIA A. Yet in its men's race, Banshee keeps up with Malice. So either I had a thumb malfunction or PiKA saved all the good wheels for Men's A. So still the case that PiKA's women are faster than their finishing time shows.

mkaplan
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Re: 2017 Races

Postby mkaplan » Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:32 pm

So either I had a thumb malfunction or PiKA saved all the good wheels for Men's A


Don't forget PiKA men's B -- I doubt that roll lacked the good stuff

Pope on a Rope
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Re: 2017 Races

Postby Pope on a Rope » Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:09 pm

A few thoughts:

Great races. The cameras mounted on the buggies during free-rolls are clearly paying off with goodly driving and few spins. The trench did less to impact the race that I would have thought.

Speed. There was a lot of it. Although the road was new last year, I suspect it was smoother this year (despite the trench in the chute turn). Traffic and weather both tend to smooth out the roughness. The sweet spot may be year 2 after paving, after than it gets rougher again due to cracks and potholes. Road temp is almost meaningless in this race. Records have been smashed on cold roads. Pushers seem to deal with the cool weather just fine, probably related to them being mostly mammals. A hot road may help keep a wheel hot longer but it may be softer (it definitely is at the derby track) and may not be as smooth as it would be if cooler (thermal expansion and whatnot).

WTF is up with people not running wheel covers, especially in un-faired wheels? Buggy speed is about the sum of a lot of tiny improvements. I saw multiple orgs moving in the wrong direction on this element. Most of the sigs (epp and nu) and a few others as well.

I am not sure what part of "come to a stop" the judges saw in the CIA A finals heat that led to them getting a re-roll.

I really liked having Ben Brown's speed trap data. In the mens finals, it was not perfect (missing SDC B and C in the mens finals) but it gave some insight. It shows that Spirit A, SDC A and PKA A all were flying at the trap. IT also showed Sig Epp may have hurt themselves running without wheel covers. It also showed that the men's buggy trap speeds are about 1 mph quicker than the women's buggy trap times. I suspect smaller humans generate less of an initial velocity for the freeroll. This is closer than I would have guessed based on historical free roll times.

I am sorry my hill 2 shove trap was overly confused by the lead truck to generate similar. I will keep trying. Progress was made. On saturday the telemetry, which had been the weak point, was working fine, and we got the lasers set up without much fuss. Now it is just a matter of sorting out the laser triggering. Developing this from thousands of miles away is hard. Ben M gets points for trying to deploy a system built by a madman.

shafeeq
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Re: 2017 Races

Postby shafeeq » Tue Apr 25, 2017 1:45 am

mkaplan wrote:
So either I had a thumb malfunction or PiKA saved all the good wheels for Men's A


Don't forget PiKA men's B -- I doubt that roll lacked the good stuff


That roll was a 54.6, slowest of all finals other than CIA following them.
CIA was <53 in prelims & reroll, with pushers no better than PiKA B, and PiKA A <52.

Pope on a Rope
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Re: 2017 Races

Postby Pope on a Rope » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:02 am

Ben Browns speed trap data from the men's finals. The SDC B and C buggies were not captured. We can see that CIA A must have pumped the brakes prior to his trap and had the slowest trap speed of the finals. On their re-roll, they moved up to mid pack, just ahead of PKA B and just behind Fringe A Note CIA B appears to be quicker then CIA A. The top 3 are tightly grouped and have a little more than 1 mph on the rest of the group.

MPH ft/sec rank

Spirit A 36.74 53.88 ft/sec 1
PKA A 36.72 53.86 ft/sec 2
SDC A 36.59 53.67 ft/sec 3
CIA B 35.73 52.41 ft/sec 4
Fringe A 35.6 52.21 ft/sec 5
CIA reroll 35.54 52.13 ft/sec 6
Pika B 35.09 51.46 ft/sec 7
SigEp A 34.92 51.21 ft/sec 8
CIA A 32.98 48.37 ft/sec 9

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Elmo Zoneball
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Re: 2017 Races

Postby Elmo Zoneball » Tue Apr 25, 2017 11:52 am

Pope on a Rope wrote:Ben Browns speed trap data from the men's finals. The SDC B and C buggies were not captured. We can see that CIA A must have pumped the brakes prior to his trap and had the slowest trap speed of the finals. On their re-roll, they moved up to mid pack, just ahead of PKA B and just behind Fringe A Note CIA B appears to be quicker then CIA A. The top 3 are tightly grouped and have a little more than 1 mph on the rest of the group.

MPH ft/sec rank

Spirit A 36.74 53.88 ft/sec 1
PKA A 36.72 53.86 ft/sec 2
SDC A 36.59 53.67 ft/sec 3
CIA B 35.73 52.41 ft/sec 4
Fringe A 35.6 52.21 ft/sec 5
CIA reroll 35.54 52.13 ft/sec 6
Pika B 35.09 51.46 ft/sec 7
SigEp A 34.92 51.21 ft/sec 8
CIA A 32.98 48.37 ft/sec 9


Can somebody explain exactly where this speed trap was located?

On a map would be even better ("in the chute" is not specific enough.)

Thanx.
"I love the smell of solvents in the morning -- they smell like... victory."

DAConley
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Re: 2017 Races

Postby DAConley » Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:39 pm

Elmo - trap was set up @ downhill edge of the monument 'wall', so not quite, but close to Vmax location @ or around most organizations typical 'chute' flag location. Ben is senior Pike so references the original 'chute' name for the straight speed section of the course, ahead of 'the turn' which has adopted the chute name.


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