After almost two full weeks of ridiculously beautiful weather while the kids took two weekends off for spring break, Pittsburgh slapped the reality back into us with a cool down and enough rain to cancel Saturday’s rolls. Sunday was still overcast but dry, and 8 of our teams made it out the morning after greek sing for four cycles through the order. I was out of town on Sunday, so big thanks to Zatch and Vincent who supplied the bulk of the narrative and all of the multimedia. Read on for the details of a Fringe buggy out of retirement, some new PiKA wheels, and a couple of chute mishaps, but no new buggies!
|CIA||Ascension, Freyja, Firebird, Quasar|
|SDC||Bane, Avarice, Malice, Rage|
|No-Shows||Delta Force, SigNu|
Observations (Sunday Gallery)
- Apex made it back onto the course after giving up on Camo with a new and improved loaner buggy: Insite. Insite was Fringe’s 2003 model with a fully enclosed shape most would describe as “like SigNu.” It last rolled in the fall of 2005, but came out of storage looking pretty sharp, and Apex had big smiles to match. While the new security measures they agreed to take to protect Fringe’s IP were a bit of a hassle for the always welcoming and friendly team, they had no complaints with the performance as she made it around the course several times without mechanical issues. Their drivers are having a bit more issue with the frequent ride changes, though; both drivers at various points took extremely wide lines that were taunting the bales, with one driver missing the chute entrance and reaching the bridge barricades. Luckily, she was heavily bagged and made a very sharp turn back onto the course. They will have their work cut out for them, and if they are looking to qualify two drivers in their one buggy as seems to be the plan, they best be making sacrifices to the weather gods or risk having no raceday at all. It is definitely good to see a good break come to the team that is working so hard, and they are still finding time to work on a build for next year despite the challenges.
- Other than Insite being a “new” buggy on the course, we still don’t have any new builds to announce. Even CIA kept their “#18” in the garage this weekend, reportedly to allow time for finishing touches. With only two weekends left before Truck, Fringe, SDC, and SigEp are surprising the armchair analysts. Rumors on the nature of the hold-ups are wide ranging and dubiously informed, but if you throw enough ideas out there, some of them are bound to be accurate. So, is Fringe having trouble with suppliers of exotic parts? Did SDC try something revolutionary and have trouble finishing the job? Did anyone build a buggy too small for their available drivers? We’ll probably never know. Since our bet on the new buggy count hasn’t been too exciting, how about this new one: what is the latest a buggy will get its first roll and still qualify for raceday this year?
- PiKA’s Raptor was out and flying through its rolls on Sunday. Chimera was out too, but on her first roll took the line wide and made a very sudden stop into the outer haybales. The driver came out with no issue and mechanic banter suggested there was no major damage, but she remained in the tent for the rest of the day. Interesting that Chimera returned to the lineup in place of Zeus in the line-up after giving the more veteran buggy two days last weekend.
- PiKA also was testing out a new wheel. They have been seen on a purple compound around a Xootr-sized rim already, but for at least one roll Raptor was sporting a pair of smaller rear wheels, perhaps four inches in diameter. They looked to be custom machined with a black tread of about the same thickness as their other wheels.
- SigEp had some trouble with their pass test timing, but got it right on the 3rd try. The trailing buggy couldn’t catch up the first time, and passed before the pond on try #2, but #3 was the Goldilocks attempt.
- Spirit had another solid day in the chute which means this semester is starting to look like it could be the one where they finally find their balance and get back to focusing on speed. The had their camera mounted just above the lexan canopy again so driver lines are still a focus, but there was also a report of a green tire compound which would suggest the mechanics are continuing to give their drivers more tools to solve the problem.
- SDC was present with Avarice, Bane, Malice, and Rage. They had a top mounted camera similar in style to Spirit’s camera attached. Avarice spun at the end of the day, but didn’t hit the bales. She came in pretty quick and got into a very abrupt over-steer slide through more than 90 degrees. Why can I describe it that well if I wasn’t even there? Vincent put together a nice chute-line montage for us. Check it out at the end of the post.
- CIA was also a member of the buggy film club this weekend, but their camera is tucked away inside the buggy and only noticeable because of the red recording light. They were dropping pushbars (feature only available on late model buggies) and also working on pass tests, with Freyja and Firebird.
- Fringe was out with only two buggies: Bonsai and Banyan. Bonsai returned to the top of the hill on her last roll missing a fairing cover, but this didn’t seem to be due to contact. Teams on the top of the hill enjoyed a better than normal view of their bright green wheels before mechanics realized the problem and wrapped her up.
- AEPi made it out for the first time this semester with Kamikaze, which is great to see, but they kept a low profile beyond that.
Don’t forget to ask your employer if they’d be interested in a sponsorship presence at raceday! About half of the placements have been claimed, but we’ve only got until April 6th to get them all filled up. While we’re talking business, you should check out our new 2012 BAA Tshirts and get yourself ready for raceday.