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Passing - Buggy Alumni Association

Passing

shafeeq
Posts: 238
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Passing

Postby shafeeq » Mon Apr 19, 2010 11:52 am

Having been part of a team that was on both the winning and losing ends of several passing incidents, I've always wished that there was clear advice I could give to our drivers to help them make the split-second decision to pass or not. Given the way the rules are written and have been enforced over the last decade, it's a roll of the dice as to what the "right" choice is.

A faster driver always has the choice between attempting a pass and braking to stay behind. If you pull off the pass, then great. If you don't, the resulting collision is clearly your fault & you're done. If you choose to slow down, it's clearly not the fault of the driver in front for going slower so there's no grounds for interference. You are allowed a reroll if you stop because you need to in order to avoid an accident.
But in this case, the only accident you're avoiding is the one you yourself cause by making a bad pass. So the conclusion is: if you attempt to pass, you control your own destiny, but if you play it safe and don't pass, it's up to the judges to determine if you've screwed over your team or not.

Close heats are exciting, but the race is about setting the best time overall, not about "winning" your heat. So any time you have to worry about the other buggies in your heat only slows you down. Finals are seeded out so that any interaction is rare, but prelims somehow always end up with at least one heat with two teams fighting for a finals spot.

The history I can think of:
2000 Women's CIA A vs Spirit A: driver pulls of a banzai pass in the chute. Everyone's happy except the Spirit driver who had a buggy appear in front of her.
2001 Women's CIA A vs Spirit A: exact same situation repeats, only this time the (different) driver decides she's not that insane and brakes to stay behind. We didn't think to protest in time, unclear if a reroll would have been granted.
2002 Men's CIA A vs Spirit A: went over hill 2 together, CIA driver took the long way around (she knew Spirit was next to her because of the lane stagger and we had a signal flag). We didn't get to take a reroll because Saturday rained out.

ipmcc
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Real Name: Ian McCullough

Re: Passing

Postby ipmcc » Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:02 pm

Braking to stay behind isn't really an option for everyone. Think, for instance, of anyone using drag brakes.

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DeVos
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Location: CT

Re: Passing

Postby DeVos » Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:45 pm

I may not be understanding you but what's the point of brakes if they can't be used to slow you down?

To sort out terminology, by drag brakes do you mean a brake that lowers a chunk of rubber onto the road and is completely separate from the wheels(I've always heard of them as drop brakes)? (This is what I surmise SigNu is still using as well as the older CIA buggies).

There may be certain design differences but I can assure you that they can be used to slow you down and aid in passing.

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hvincent
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Re: Passing

Postby hvincent » Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:42 pm

As a driver who has tapped drop brakes to slow down due to interference on the course (aka squirrels humping in my line during freerolls), I can assure you that it is possible to use those brakes to trim your speed. I'm not sure how it's possible that they wouldn't, unless you had a brake design that was either on or off with nothing in between and no way to disengage until the buggy is at a complete stop (is that even plausible?) Hitting the brakes at all during a race is going to throw your time anyway, so if you had to slow down to avoid collision it wouldn't be much worse if you ended up stopping altogether.

With that said, it is extremely difficult to judge whether or not you can make a pass or whether or not you should just suck it up and ride your brakes (which, if you are the second buggy in a three-buggy heat, isn't optimal, either; who knows how close the buggy behind you is, and if the driver is going to be able to react to a sudden decrease in your speed). The pass tests that get conducted usually do not happen with both buggies at full raceday speeds, and very rarely get conducted with the buggy/driver/heat combinations that will happen on raceday. I might know how to pass Conquest when driving Mirage if Conquest gets a walking bump over hill 2 and I get a full-out shove and I know the Conquest driver's line because we've been coursewalking together for two years, but that doesn't do much to simulate the speeds and trajectories of what happens on raceday.

The other thing about the pass tests that bothered me is that the valid passing zone defined for the pass test does not cover the entire freeroll. If you are only allowed to pass between the first transition and the monument for the test, then presumably that means you should not be allowed to attempt an earlier or later pass on raceday. I can certainly understand not encouraging people to bash their buggies together in the chute during rolls, but if you're not even going to acknowledge chute passes for the pass test, then you shouldn't allow them on raceday, either. Passes can happen anywhere. If there was an explicitly defined 'passing zone' for raceday, meaning if you pass outside of that zone on the freeroll you are DQ'd for reckless driving, then it would be much easier for drivers to make that judgement call.
Vincent Zeng


shafeeq
Posts: 238
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Organization: CIA
Graduation Year: 2000
Real Name: Shafeeq S

Re: Passing

Postby shafeeq » Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:56 pm

If you happen to have a pneumatically actuated brake that can only be fully on or fully off and has a limited number of applications, then yeah, your options for speed control are indeed limited.

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hvincent
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Re: Passing

Postby hvincent » Mon Apr 19, 2010 3:03 pm

Isn't there a rule saying you have to be able to engage and disengage at least three times without having to reset? Though I guess if you brake twice on the course and blow your pneums, you'll fail drops later.
Vincent Zeng


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SigNuSi
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Real Name: Brett Zakeosian

Re: Passing

Postby SigNuSi » Mon Apr 19, 2010 4:08 pm

Yeah, so if you apply a drop brake on the freeroll the buggy will stop with a controlled spin. It happens, I've seen it happen multiple times - you can't shed speed using it, its there for emergencies.

As for the passing rule, I can definitely talk to that after the last couple of years where my drivers out-wiled and passed a number of other orgs. They will gamble on the chute, no questions asked. The real question is to define what the line means and how a deviation of the line can be accepted as a failed pass. The sweepstakes by-laws on passing are weak and provide the drivers with no training as to how to deal with the chute pass, instead only letting them pass before the transition, which has happened less in the last couple of years than chute passing (SDC W's B vs. SigNu W's A, wheel-to-wheel through the chute in '09). Maybe letting the drivers look at old footage of correct and incorrect passing at a driver's meeting would help, but honestly everyone is gambling the pass on raceday if they have to, and Sweepstakes should define the pass-zone better if they don't want people passing in the chute. My honest opinion is that the drivers should be given more education on passing and let the kids go wheel to wheel if they want to through the chute, at least it's lined with protection.
"...you're telling me that there is literally shit flowing down the back hills?"

Carleton
Posts: 151
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Real Name: Drew Carleton
Location: Maryland

Re: Passing

Postby Carleton » Mon Apr 19, 2010 4:35 pm

Last year when SigNu's Women's A impacted SDC Women's B in the chute, they weren't dq'ed, and even got a reroll. How does that incident jive with SDC Men's C this year completing a clean, no-contact pass on Pika Men's A, and then getting dq'ed for "aggressive passing"? I was serious in the other thread... can somebody point me that rule?

shafeeq
Posts: 238
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:40 pm
Organization: CIA
Graduation Year: 2000
Real Name: Shafeeq S

Re: Passing

Postby shafeeq » Mon Apr 19, 2010 5:02 pm

Pass tests seem to me an exercise in negative training. Unless the buggy ahead is malfunctioning, the speed differential in a raceday pass will be much lower than in a pass test. And I haven't noticed our drivers having much trouble figuring out how to pass on pass tests - it's the pushers getting the timing right that was the hard part, so I doubt that there would be any more carnage if the first time a driver attempted a pass was on raceday. For that matter, we've had a couple of drivers with more raceday passes than pass test passes - it was a lot easier in the days when half the field was on Ukai's.

I'm all for letting the drivers go wheel-to-wheel, but you have to reach the finish to actually set a time.

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DeVos
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Re: Passing

Postby DeVos » Mon Apr 19, 2010 5:09 pm



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