It may have been April 1st, but there’re no pranks here, rolls happened on Sunday, they were fun, and we’ve got the details for you. Saturday was rained out, but in one day we got more headline material than the last couple of weeks put together. One new buggy, one radical renovation, one new team on the course, one new animal-theme paint job, and a spin for good measure. Lots of alumni in the chute and following along with our live streaming broadcast was just icing on the cake.
|CIA||Orca, Ascension, Firebird, Quasar|
|Fringe||NBXII, Bonsai, Borealis, Bedlam|
|PiKA||Raptor, Chimera, Zeus|
|SDC||Bane, Avarice, Malice, Rage|
|SigEp||Mamba, Peregrine, Barracuda, Pandora|
Observations (Sunday Gallery)
- Usually new buggies get the #1 bullet point, but SAE’s effort with Rubicon takes the cake this week. For starters, I had completely written them off already for the year. I heard that they had been showing up to chairman’s meetings and maybe working on something with their 13 year old buggy, but since we hadn’t seen them by late March I gave up. Big credit to the guys at SAE for proving me wrong. Not only did they make it out, they pulled off a couple of impressive upgrades on their ride. Rubicon has rolled for more than a decade on 14 inch pneumatics in a standard tryke format. It came around the course today as a reverse tryke with 7″ Xootrs. The wide, symmetric track makes it look a bit like KDR’s PiRho, but the shell shape was definitely still recognizable as Rubicon. It looked to be rolling pretty well too, so count SAE in. We’re glad to see them back.
- Fringe introduced the second new buggy of 2012, and even though they have’t announced a B- name yet, you could tell at a glance that it’s part of the Fringe fleet. Reverse tryke, fully-faired wheels, slender composite pushbar, long nose with a shallow slope … what am I going on for, look at the pictures. The primer had a fun selection of last minute scribbles to entertain us spectators including the label, “BANYAN” (a reference to the mis-direct from a couple of weeks ago) which actually had some people thinking Banyan was getting a new paint job. It rolled really well for a day 1, definitely very quiet. The top teams will be eyeing it closely to see how it compares to last year’s standard bearer, Bonsai.
- There’s a school of thought in buggy that you have to take yourself very seriously to go fast. Some focus on that more than others, but few are brave enough to blow off the whole concept. CIA is getting bigger, going faster, and building better buggies. They also just painted their new buggy like a killer whale and named it Orca. Awesome.
- Saturday’s rolls were cancelled at 9:30pm on Friday on account of a storm front moving through at the time. We BAA folks certainly don’t want to make Sweepstakes’ job any harder by second-guessing them, and making weather calls is one of the hardest parts of the job for sure, but I think it is worth discussing what the system is for deciding when to call things off. In this case, some people thought the call was premature, and it did seem like rolls could have happened. The rain stopped by about midnight and the roads looked pretty darn dry at 7:30 when I got up. So, what’s the right balance between A) holding out, hoping for the weather to work out and B) having mercy, calling it, and letting everyone get some sleep? I feel like the balance changes from the fall to the spring, and definitely after a 2 week spring break, but it’s also not my call or my rolls on the line. I’m just some guy who writes a buggy blog.
- PiKA had Chimera back on the course after it went into the bales last week, meaning they’ve had a different combo of 2 buggies each weekend this semester. I wonder if they’ll have 3 men’s teams together on raceday. Raptor was back on the ~4inch wheels spotted last week that were identified as a design from last year’s Ultimate Soap Box Derby (probably).
- AEPi just got out to spring rolls last weekend, and this weekend they added a second buggy for the first time this year. Good to see them going the direction of bigger after a year or so of getting smaller.
- SDC’s Avarice spun in the chute after being passed by Rage. She didn’t make contact with anything and it wasn’t very unusual. In fact it looked very much like Avarice’s spin from last week, it just happened a bit further on in the chute. Compare for yourself: last week, this week. Spirit has been spin-free all semester, maybe they passed the bad juju to SDC.
- Apex was rolling well on their second weekend with Insite; Delta Force continues to roll like a veteran team with Perun. I really love this new trend of loaning high-functioning buggies to new teams. I hope they both make it through raceday and enjoy themselves and get a solid team committed for next year because that will be the really interesting test. How well does a buggy loaner program work as a springboard to operating independently?
- SDC and SigEp are the only two orgs still in the new buggy discussion, but after this weekend it’s getting pretty unlikely either will bring one out. The rumors around SigEp are that they built something, but that it won’t be making it out this year. As for SDC, they do a good job maintaining an air of mystery.
- We had as many as 15 people watching our live streaming coverage of rolls on ustream which made for a pretty huge crowd when combined with the 8-12 gathered in the chute. Leave a comment if you have suggestions for other fun ways to cover things. You can watch the full recording on youtube. The quality is crappy because Ustream wants us to upgrade to their pro-level, but at least when its on youtube, there are no ads.
We don’t have a single data point yet this year to help speculate on how fast everyone is going. With only two weeks of rolls (including truck) before the big day, we better get working on that if we want to make any substantive predictions. As always, let us know if you want to get involved with anything BAA here in the home stretch.