Freeroll Practice 2/28/09

After holding off on the semester of rolls for two weeks because of lower-than-desired temperatures, sweepstakes gave it a try on Saturday at 27 degrees and things worked out just fine.  Sunday was forecast to be colder so they canceled again, although it turned out to be dry and 29 degrees at 7am.

In attendance
PiKA – Zeus, Knightfall, Chimera
Pioneers – Chaos
KDR – Powder, Perun
SigEp – Pandora
PhiKap – Svengali
SDC – Rage, Addiction, Psychosis, and Raceday09
Fringe – Brazen, Blizzard, Banyan, and NewBuggy09
CIA – Mirage, Firebird
Spirit – Haraka, Seraph

Observations

  • PiKA got off to a rough start on a cold day being too slow to get out of the tent and being scratched by sweepstakes.  They didn’t bring out a new buggy, but Chimera returned to the course looking as good as new after a significant collision with the curb at the end of last semester.  It seemed like that memory was still a bit fresh as most of PiKA’s rolls were among the slowest on the course which is not a common sight.  There was speculation that Chimera’s repairs may have precluded a build this year, but PiKA has been known to wait a week or two to debut new buggies, so don’t assume there’s nothing coming.
  • Pioneers seems to be hanging on pretty well with their dedicated bare-bones squad.  Saving sweepstakes some bookkeeping by adding a peice of duct tape to the pushbar for each roll.
  • KDR started the semester with bags on the pushbar, but also with a full speed hill 2 and shove.  If the bags are voluntary, it seems like things are confused.  If they are on there by rule at the beginning of the semester (I forget), it doesn’t seem like the rule is working.  On a later roll, they had an unwelcome de ja vu moment when Perun’s front hatch bobbled off as she entered the chute.  The driver got the hatch out of her face, but couldn’t save the turn as she did on raceday last year and ended up in the bales at fairly low speed.  Apparently the cold weather rendered the duct tape useless and there was no backup plan for hatch attachment.
  • SDC was out with its new buggy looking completely done for the first day of rolls.  A black standard tryke with a mirrored windsheild, it will give amateur observers a challenge differentiating it from last year’s A team entry, Psychosis.  The key external design difference (besides being 2 shades darker) is a shell shape that fades up from the bottom towards the rear axle.  This is noteworthy because it suggests a move away from pan + shell construction towards a single 3 dimensional shape, a move that PiKA just made last year with Chimera.  The offseason also brought refinements from the ever fascinating flip-video filmaking department in SDC buggy.
  • Fringe was also out with 4 buggies, including their newest (also unnamed) entrant.  Covered in fabric and sporting crudely aerodynamic front wheel fairings, Fringe looks to have a bit more work to do, but the design makes for a bit more conversation than SDC’s new buggy.  The wheel layout seems to be more similar to Fringe’s standard-bearer Banyan than last year’s Bristol, presumably reflecting a decision to take a step back  from experimentation and towards optimization.  The signature external design feature is a long shallow sloping windscreen that extends perhaps 6 inches beyond the driver’s hands.  Once the fairings are complete it will be easier to get an idea of the rest of the shape.

6 thoughts on “Freeroll Practice 2/28/09”

  • Yeah, if I remember my history someone at PiKA built a wicked-fast buggy out of wood screws to which we had no answer (though we lost to Phi Kap as well… doh). So we had to retool for an entirely new non-fading shell design. And get more pushers out. And make sure the fastest ones are pushing on the correct team. And make sure the buggy can make it around the course. And invest in more ‘Hate’ hats. Once we addressed those issues it was smooth sailing.

  • Doh, that should of course read ‘entirely new fading shell design’. The 1994 Spirit t-shirts are definitely my fave though (and our failure at ‘winning’ is what prompted us to return to ugly-ass t-shirts, the fluorescent green w/ metallic silver graphics shirts from ’98 being a perfect example).

  • Well, at least the KDR driver had a mouthguard to protect her from a haybale to the face.

    The Hill 2 with bags makes a strange sort of sense if you want to give your pusher practice and still keep freeroll speeds down.

    Of course, the rules require the windshield to be screwed to whatever it’s attached to, but say nothing of how well that part should be attached to the rest of the buggy:) Aside from a desire not to DQ for loss of mass.

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