As we head into an exciting season of spring rolls, here’s a recap of what happened this fall, team by team. Detailed MiniRaceday stats can be found in our report here.
The honor of the first roll of the 2016-2017 season went to Transistor, a product of the Robobuggy program in Robotics club. They’re not quite at autonomous rolls yet, but they made a few assisted rolls during the fall and look encouraging.
Atlas has been experimenting with the former CIA buggy Quasar. They debuted a controllable version at design competition 2016, but it has yet to be seen on the course.
Apex debuted two new drivers on the first day of fall rolls, and therefore slowly progressed to bag-free rolling over the course of the season. They also generously shared their follow car with CIA, in the spirit of buggy camaraderie. The only incident was a loss of the rear hatch on the first day of rolls, but otherwise they rolled cleanly throughout the fall. Surprisingly, despite their surfeit of drivers, they only rolled Phoenix during the fall season, and Ember remained unseen.
CIA continues to demonstrate their significant manpower, rolling five buggies on the first day of fall rolls, with three new drivers. This is an encouraging sign from an organization that a decade ago barely had enough people to keep the buggies on the course. They were efficient and showed off their competitive mentality by heating Equinox’s wheels on the second weekend of fall rolls. Their only weakness so far appears to be a lack of a follow car, which they remedied by rolling with Apex and thus requiring only one car for the two teams. They were routinely competing with SDC for fastest team on the course.
Fringe got off to a rocky start on the first day of rolls, when Bissa grazed the curb near the Panther Hollow Bridge transition at low speed. Reportedly, the incident may have been caused by a steering issue. Otherwise, they rolled quickly and efficiently, with multi-window rollouts by the end of the first day. The rolls reports for the fall season in general describe them as “smooth, quiet, and quick around the course.” They slightly trailed CIA and SDC in observed speed, but otherwise look like a threat come Raceday.
PhiDelt was unseen on the course this fall, but instead have been focusing on a new build for spring.
After a year competing as the independent Fishing Club, PiKA returned to the course as a Greek team this fall. By their second roll around the course, they removed the bags and piled on the speed, losing Raptor’s hatch in the process. By the second weekend of rolls, there was some fishtailing seen in the Chute, as well as creative flagging positions. Their drivers continued to take some “experimental” Chute turns through the fall, which seemed to reduce PiKA’s overall pace.
SAE was a minimal presence at fall rolls (only one weekend out with Lucy), with their most noteworthy event pairing with SigEp in order to produce sufficient manpower at rolls.
SDC started off in expected style, smooth, quick, quiet and efficient, removing all of their bags by the first day of rolls, and already starting on some impressive rollouts. They returned several veteran drivers, making the first day of rolls relatively easy. The second weekend produced a bit more excitement, as a new driver in Vice missed the transition flag and headed up the path to Phipps. She eventually stopped on the grass, and was (interestingly) allowed back on the road to continue her roll. Otherwise, SDC was one of the fastest teams on the course throughout the fall.
SigEp had a fairly uneventful fall, with their only reported incident the loss of a GoPro on one roll (subsequent rolls with the GoPro had a lot more gaffer tape). Due to reduced manpower, SigEp and SAE rolled together one weekend, and were thus dubbed the “Sigma Squad”.
It was MiniRaceday by the time SigNu (rolling only Krait) made an appearance, and it was a dramatic one. An accidental stop flag caused Krait to come to a full, spinning stop, but all was ok and the driver finished her lap without other incident.
Spirit gave themselves a gradual but smooth start into the year. All three buggies were heavily bagged for the first two days of rolls, and there was initially some trouble clearing the chute. However, they soon sped up and were passing each other on the backhills. They have not yet achieved the amazing speed we expect from them come spring, though.
We’re looking forward to seeing everyone on the course this spring!
— Summary by Aileen Dinin