The carnival weather was out already for the last weekend of rolls before truck weekend. Temperatures were in the low 60s on Saturday and low 50s on Sunday to greet the 14 orgs ramping up to raceday. The list of incidents is long compared to the details about who is doing well, but don’t let that fool you, it’s just easier to note the mishaps. Many of the mid-tier teams are making serious charges towards competing for trophies, and the regulars are quietly perfecting their skills and building their teams. Every roll is being timed and reviewed. Every transition matters to pushers old and new. It’s almost raceday.
In attendance (spring 2010 buggies, qualified w/ at least 1 driver)
|AEPi||Kamikaze, Aether, Zephyrus||Kamikaze, Aether|
|CIA||Conquest, Firebird, Quasar, Renaissance||Conquest, Firebird, Quasar, Freyja|
|Fringe||Banyan, Blizzard, Bantam, Borealis||Banyan, Blizzard, Bantam, Borealis|
|KKG / ZBT||Volos||Volos|
|PhiKap||Schadenfreude, Svengali, Celerity||Schadenfreude, Svengali, Celerity|
|PiKA||Chimera, Nemesis, Zeus, Knightfall||Chimera, Nemesis, Zeus|
|SDC||Malice, Psychosis, Rage, Avarice, Envy||Malice, Psychosis, Rage, Avarice, Envy|
|SigEp||Barracuda, Pandora, Peregrin||Barracuda, Pandora, Peregrin|
|SigNu||Skua, Bungarus Krait||Skua, Bungarus Krait|
|Spirit||Haraka, Fuko, Kingpin||Haraka, Fuko|
- If there was an intrade.com market for predicting whether DTD would make it to raceday, shares would be dropping like a rock every time they came out on the course. They did get credit for two rolls with Bethany on the weekend, but the patented “spaghetti steering” failed again, causing her to smack the curb after hill 2 with unfortunate force. It was serious enough that EMS came this time, although they decided that the driver was fine. It has definitely come to the point where the buggy – and thus the org – are likely to be deemed unfit to roll.
- AEPi’s Kamikaze and their new buggy were both carried back up the hill on the same roll on Saturday. Kamikaze fell victim to the epidemic of poorly attached wheels, which brought out the brake flags for the trailing new buggy. It stopped successfully, but was then unable to roll again when they were permitted. Brake … Release … Release. Kamikaze also spun on Sunday, but the problem was communication based, not mechanical. AEPi was being passed by Beta which meant there were multiple flags at transition. During the year, the only times there are multiple flags are for emergency stops, so she hit the brakes and spun. Good thing to get used to before raceday.
- AEPi’s new buggy (can we get a name guys? Aether) was out in a new black paint job. I hope that the men of AEPi haven’t fallen into the all black buggy club. It makes it so much harder on us spectators. The unnamed monochromatic buggy did qualify though, by way of getting 6 rolls on Saturday while sweepstakes got through the roll order 2.5 times. Impressive.
- After a weekend out of the chute-incident headlines, Spirit came back strong with Seraph struggling twice on Saturday and then failing drops and staying in the tent on Sunday. The first problem was an impact-free spin in the chute after she came in wobbling and then tried to save it but swung around 180 degrees. The next roll she was going much faster for a pass test and couldn’t hold the line in tight enough and ended up in the outer bales. The driver was fine, but the near-raceday speeds seemed to be too much too soon which is a problem this time of year.
- PiKA’s Nemesis grazed the outer bales again today putting some uncertainty into their raceday lineup. Nemesis has probably been the most consistently fast buggy of their fleet, but with a couple of close calls recently and the fact that that driver ended up in the bales for PiKA B last year it doesn’t seem like an easy decision. Melissa Lee, their 3-time A team driver was out in the fall, but hasn’t rolled this spring.
- PiKA is having some fun with the wheel testing drama this spring. Keep in mind, this is a team that is traditionally so secretive about their wheel and tire development that grown men scramble for scraps of their rubber left behind in the chute. This weekend, Zeus was rolling with Zero Error wheels (Zero Error being a soap-box wheel company) with clear wheel covers and the ZE logo sticker clearly displayed. Wheel secrets are so 2000′s.
- After Nemesis scraped the bales, the Radio Club guy at Scaife jumped to action after hearing “stop in the chute,” but was paying more attention to his radio than to Nemesis, which had kept cruising at a quick pace. He nearly got slammed and had to do a hop and dance to miss her.
- Beta took Easter Sunday off. Problem Child isn’t qualified yet, but it’s close enough (and does have its pass test) that they won’t have any trouble.
- SAE didn’t get credit for any rolls on Sunday because they had another pneumatic blow out on their first roll. SAE is reportedly running low very low on their 12” pneumatics which are hard to come by. Losing one or two more could leave them without a front tire on raceday meaning they have to find more, or be very careful about rolling between now and then. Definitely an unfortunate compromise. Those big rims are styling, but apparently too tempting to over-inflate, and hard to come by. Anyone have a p-neu connection?
- PhiKap’s Svengali had an axle failure similar to one it had a couple of weeks ago. Apparently this was just an oversight though, and the buggy is back together and ready to roll again.
- SigEp’s Peregrine (still in naked carbon), which has been downhill challenged since its debut stopped at the pond this weekend. That suggests a different and more acute problem than the general foot dragging we’ve seen the last couple of weeekends. It did pick up 5 rolls on the weekend though, so it will probably qualify for the races. Let’s just hope it gets over the hill first so we can see a dramatic pass. SigEp is apparently the most recent to join the list of frats in trouble with the school. I’m pretty sure that crosses the last house that the school implicitly approved of off the list.
- Fringe’s Blizzard had some sort of mechanical problem in the chute, but it wasn’t enough to stop the buggy as it continued up the back hills making a racket. Borealis is coming along towards completion with some progress even apparently being made on the fairings between days of rolls. On Saturday, there was a humorously labeled “This part is not temporary” cardboard fairing piece that was replaced with a more permanent version on Sunday.
- KKG/ZBT tried to pass Fringe’s Borealis, and got so close that she almost hit Borealis several times. Fringe’s driver apparently moved over to try and let her by, but Volos still didn’t have enough speed to make it happen. Sweepstakes obviously advises that things not come so close, but the broadcast team is probably considering paying her to try something similar when the cameras are rolling on raceday.
- In actual racing news … SDC, SigEp, and Spirit doing full Hill 1s on multiple buggies. Ah yes, Hill 1, rated as the second most important hill in the race, and yet most teams don’t do it outside of push practice until truck weekend. Really though, SigEp and Spirit load at the bottom of 1 anyway, so they might as well run it up the hill.
- SDC and Fringe led the field in terms of consistently good rollouts, but PiKA and Sigma Nu had their moments.
Make sure you subscribe to the news section one way or another, or check back frequently because we’ll probably have near-daily updates with all of the stuff going on in the next 10 days. That raceday feeling is all around already.