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!

In Attendance

Org Sunday
AEPi Kamikaze
Apex Insite
CIA Ascension, Freyja, Firebird, Quasar
Fringe Bonsai, Banyan
PiKA Raptor, Chimera
SDC Bane, Avarice, Malice, Rage
SigEp Mamba, Barracuda
Spirit Zuke, Seraph
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.

20 thoughts on “Rolls Report: March 25”

  • Thanks for the great report!

    Just a clarification though: Fringe had Banyan and Bonsai out. Neither Bedlam nor Borealis rolled this weekend (Bedlam is listed instead of Bonsai in the chart, Borealis is listed instead of Banyan in the paragraph). Also, I think it was the right side that lost a fairing cover, although I’m less sure about that detail.

    Also, the SigEp part seems to just cut off–I can’t tell if only a word was dropped, or more. “…the Goldilocks attempt. I’ve got sympathy for”

    • It was definitely the right side fairing on Bonsai. The mechanics did a funny shuffle-dance in front of it before someone took off a sweatshirt and they carried her away. Mackin’s comment: “Hey guys, you’re missing something… GUYS, you’re missing something!” –> *mechanics frantically try and cover it up*

      • TimingWench says:

        Unfortunately this is where cell phones fail if people don’t decide to answer them. Calls started going out to mechanics from the beginning of the freeroll…

  • Based on the swirling clouds of rumors I’ve been observing all month, I’ll go ahead and wager that we’ll only see two more new buggies hit the course this semester (odds: Fringe and SigEp?) with only one of them rolling on Raceday (odds: Fringe?). I look forward to being proven wrong ; )

    Also, it was great to see Apex out at rolls with Insite. Glad they could find a way to make it to Raceday.

  • I’m going to go ahead and guess that the “red recording light” CIA had inside the buggy is the signal light for the driver for the dropping bar, not a camera. If we’ve got cameras inside buggies, or cameras that have red lights, that’s news to me.

    • That makes more sense given that most cameras these days don’t have that red light and the limited space in Firebird next to the steering mechanism. That being said, a flipcam mounted right next to the front wheel on the steering mechanism would give a pretty cool perspective. It might also help mechanics understand what drivers mean when they say they can only tell people apart by their shoes.

      As for Sam’s new question: I would say that any new buggy that isn’t out by next Saturday (3/31) won’t be rolling A team. However, I would put the last day to make it out and still qualify as the Saturday before Truck weekend. Assuming that Pittsburgh will rain out one of the last four days, it’s cutting it very close but sweepstakes has been known qualify buggies with veteran drivers even without the requisite 10 rolls.

      • Well, if any mechanics want to look at the footage from Firebird from a couple years ago, it’s up here under videos (2010?). Really, it’s all about the shoes!

          • This is a sweet video.
            Two things are immediately apparent:
            HOLY CRAP i wish I could drive a buggy, that looks so fun.
            The back hills and chute are in TERRIBLE shape.

          • Q: How can you tell that the buggy in the video is one of CIA’s?

            A: After the buggy crosses the finish line, you can hear Paul in the background, cursing.

          • Every time I watch that video, all I can think is “Ah! can’t see the (chute) line! Ah the buggy is in the way Ah!!” that camera would have been a lot less nerve racking, but still informative, attached on the right side of the buggy.

            Also: yes, the back hills are TERRIBLE.

          • i’m glad that video includes being picked up and carried. i think that was one of my favorite parts of being in a buggy, outside the feeling of being plastered against the left side of the cage going through the chute. hoverbuggy!

          • I am glad people are still enjoying that footage – I think I still have a piece of that first CIA camera mount plastic still screwed in to the bottom of my FlipCam. I understand that lower-profile cameras are now available and possibly in use – I agree that a camera mounted directly to Firebird’s steering fork would be awesome. CIA, get on this sometime!

            Love the speculation over the bar indicator LED!

    • Oh cool, thanks for the correction. That’s actually even more interesting so I’m glad we had it wrong.

      • A bit of background on these wheels.

        Following a narrow loss to CSSN racing’s smaller wheels in the 2010 AA USC race, ZE showed up in 2011 with range of sizes and styles of “smaller” wheels at the June and July test days in Akron. ZE had made a significant investment in wheel technology. Much testing followed. The resulting speed difference between the designs/sizes is only known to ZE. One outside observation is that the 4 inch rubber versions suffered significant tire damage (more than is typical in a heavily juiced rubber wheel on the Akron track). Eventually the ~5 inch size (in rubber) was selected for the race and placed 3rd.

        The short run of 4-inch size at Derby is not an indicator on how well the wheel will work at CMU. I like that PKA is trying something new with the sub-xootr sized wheel experiments they have been running. Durability will be one question given the surface of the course. The smaller ZE hubs look very nice (mini versions of the ZE xootr sized hub) and would seem like a goodly place for a PU tire if the rubber was not up to the chute or the potholes.

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