SDC at the finishWe’ve only got 2 more days of rolls and truck weekend for teams to get their act together before raceday.  If any of that gets rained out, we could be in for some real slapstick come raceday.  Last weekend’s assortment of chute incidents actually looked mild compared to the number of ways teams found to interrupt their freerolls this weekend.  That said, there was plenty of action in the new buggies / wheel testing / going fast domain to keep the high-brow fans entertained.

In attendance (spring 2010 buggies, qualified w/ at least 1 driver)

Org Saturday Sunday
AEPi Kamikaze, Zephyrus, AEPi2010 Kamikaze, Zephyrus, AEPi2010
Beta Problem Child
CIA Firebird, Renaissance, Freyja Firebird, Renaissance, Freyja, Quasar
DTD Bethany Bethany
Fringe Banyan, Blizzard, Borealis Banyan, Blizzard, Borealis
PhiKap Schandenfreude Schandenfreude, Celerity
Pioneers Chaos Chaos
PiKA Chimera, Nemesis, Knightfall, Zeus Chimera, Nemesis, Knightfall, Zeus
SAE Rubicon
SDC Malice, Envy, Avarice, Psychosis Malice, Envy, Avarice, Rage
SigEp Barracuda, Pandora Barracuda, Pandora, Peregrine
SigNu Skua, Bungarus Krait Skua, Bungarus Krait
Spirit Haraka, Fuko Haraka, Fuko, Kingpin

Observations (Saturday gallery, Sunday gallery)

  • Fringe debuted a new buggy named Borealis on Saturday that joined the ranks of the 2010 class of buggies.  The most remarkable feature was the wildly over-the-top multicolor trashbag and tape job.  Unlike SDC and CIA’s new rides, this new buggy definitely still needs some work before raceday.  Besides needing a paintjob, the new buggy was rolling with temporary cardboard fairings on the front wheels.  It’s tough to judge the design too much with the current highly distracting exterior, but it doesn’t seem to be a big deviation from the rest of the recent fleet.  Interestingly, it looks like Fringe’s 2009 buggy, Bedlam won’t be out for raceday this year since it hasn’t been rolling.
  • Fringe was also rolling on a bunch of different wheels over the weekend.  It wasn’t hard to notice orange, green, and white flavors and that might not have been all of them.  As buggy spectators, we’ve got to be thankful for the move from natural rubbers to polyurethanes that come in different colors; it makes following along with everyone’s progress so much easier!
  • PiKA may also still be mulling over the decision of what wheels to use this raceday.  Both Knightfall and Zeus took a turn on a white PU compound that seems likely to be the same one that SDC generally rolls with and that we’ve seen Fringe on.
  • SigEp’s new buggy Peregrine has still evaded capture by our cameras somehow.  It didn’t come out on Saturday after some trouble working out the kinks of the new build last week.  On the first roll Sunday it once again needed to be pushed down the hill repeatedly, and they kept it in the tent after that.  It was still too dark for decent pictures on that roll, so a verbal description will have to do.  Peregrine looks like a near replica of last year’s successful Barracuda without the paint job, but they must have innovated on the internals because something isn’t working.  The question now is whether it will qualify for raceday
  • PiKA’s Nemera lost its rear hatch in the chute twice this weekend, once each day.  On Saturday, the rear was a standard pneumatic, but on Sunday it seemed to be a smaller hard rubber wheel.  From what I’ve noticed that would be unusual and another sign of wheel testing in these last weeks.
  • Spirit briefly set off the new buggy alarms among the alumni in the chute on Sunday when it rolled a buggy covered in trashbags and with new looking fairings on the rear wheels.  It turns out it was just the return of Kingpin which hadn’t seen the course in a couple of years.  Perhaps Kingpin is more stable than the spin-prone Seraph, but again qualification will be tight.
  • Spirit mistimed a pass test on Saturday and sent their buggies colliding into one another right after hill 2.  I know the mechanics probably felt bad about that (because I know I did when I made that same mistake) but I bet the drivers secretly enjoy bumping each other out of the way for once.
  • DTD is having a rough time with the mechanical aspects of buggy.  They really won us over with their great attitudes this fall, but apparently that’s not enough to keep a buggy going.  Bethany (the buggy) was 0 for 2 1 for 3 this weekend, failing catastrophically on its first second roll Saturday and again on Sunday.  Saturday the steering failed just after hill 2 and she ended up against the curb 150 yards into the freeroll.  Sunday the steering failed again and the buggy ground to a halt just after the chute flag.  They should have splurged for the extended warranty from Pioneers.  The problem seems to be flimsy cables in the steering system and a design that allows the kingpins to spin freely causing the wheels to flop up and the pan to hit the road whenever one linkage fails.  It’s time to stop messing around with little fixes of specific failures.  Let’s hope they can get that together to make it to their first raceday.
  • KKG/ZBT, Beta, DTD are all going to be cutting it close on qualification.  KKG/ZBT didn’t come out this weekend, and Beta took Saturday off.  DTD just can’t seem to accumulate any rolls despite making the effort every day.  They should all be able get their one buggy qualified without special permission assuming the weather is good and they don’t miss more opportunities to get down the hill, but betting on Pittsburgh weather in April is definitely a gamble.
  • PhiKap had a handful of eventful rolls this weekend, the highlight of which was when Celerity lost its front hatch after the transition flag.  The driver pushed the hatch out of her way and then proceeded to steer towards the monument.  That got everyone’s attention, but it appeared she was just pulling out of the way to let Schandenfreude by so she could continue her roll.  How considerate.  Also, the BAA will be holding a seminar on hatch attachments other than duct tape each fall starting next year.
  • Firebird crashed into the inside bales on CIA’s first roll on Sunday.  The driver was shaken up and injured her hand on the steering, but after a couple of minutes and some help from EMS she was in good spirits and CIA rolled its other three buggies on its next turn.  Apparently Firebird caught a pothole or the grate which threw it off line enough to nick the inside bales.  Nicking the bales threw the buggy into an overcorrection and then back into the inside bales at a moderate speed.  Definitely an unlucky break for a team that goes above and beyond for safety.
  • After writing all of that, it seemed strange that I didn’t have anything on SDC.  The thing is this is mostly about screw-ups, they didn’t screw up.  SDC had two solid days of rolls going fast with four buggies and a solid push team.  It was noteworthy that their crowd of pushers look like they should be in a different weight class than most of the other crowds of guys at the top of the hill.  For the last couple of years the common refrain has been that SDC may be fastest down the hill and have a hell of a push team but that they’re rolling the dice in the chute.  We really haven’t seen any evidence that that criticism is valid this year as they’ve been among the most consistent down there.
  • SDC, Fringe, and Pika were all going fast and in that order.  SigNu, CIA and SigEp were probably the next group with the rest of the teams still well below raceday speeds.
  • There were probably 4 to 8 other minor incidents over the weekend that didn’t make the cut of being remembered by this sleepy alum.  I don’t think the dusty course was to blame this week, just a lot of orgs pushing their limits trying to get from 0 to raceday in 4 weeks.
  • This has its own post, but in case you hadn’t noticed it, we successfully tested the new timing system on Saturday, so we will definitely be using the system on raceday.  The next test will be Saturday of truck weekend.

Corrections and additions welcome in the comments as always.  Just two more days of normal rolls and then truck weekend left on the schedule.  Hope everyone has their plane tickets and hotel rooms for carnival.

3 thoughts on “Rolls Report – March 27 & 28”

  • Sam. Thanks for the update. Good work.

    Notice Kingpin also is the only Spirit buggy running a small solid in front. Both Haraka and Fuko use a Pneumatic in front.

    Count me in on Hatchology 101.

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