Teams took advantage of two full days of brisk but dry weather to close out the “regular season” of freerolls. Most teams got all of their drivers qualified and are ready for truck weekend which is coming up fast. Thanks this week to Ben Matzke and Shafeeq for the notes on rolls as I was out of town again. If you’ve got pictures or additional observations (especially from Saturday), don’t be shy, share!
|AEPi||Kamikaze||Kamikaze, Zephyrus (6 rolls + PT)|
|Apex||Insite||Insite||Insite (1 roll + PT)|
|CIA||Orca, Ascension, Freyja, Firebird, Quasar||Orca, Ascension, Freyja, Firebird, Quasar||Orca, Ascension, Freyja, Firebird (2 drivers), Quasar|
|Fringe||Bissa, Bonsai, Borealis, Bedlam||Bissa, Bonsai, Borealis, Bedlam||Bissa, Bonsai, Borealis, Bedlam|
|PiKA||Raptor, Chimera, Zeus||Raptor, Chimera, Zeus|
|SAE||Rubicon||Rubicon (3 rolls + PT)|
|SDC||Bane, Avarice, Malice, Rage||Bane, Avarice, Malice, Rage||Bane, Avarice, Malice, Rage|
|SigEp||Mamba, Peregrine, Pandora||Mamba, Peregrine, Barracuda||Barracuda, Mamba, Peregrine (1 roll), Pandora (2 rolls)|
|Spirit||Zuke, Seraph, Haraka||Zuke||Zuke, Seraph, Haraka|
- Saturday was a pretty average day with 10 teams and ~4 rounds through the roll order, but with only 8 teams rolling on Easter Sunday, and everyone was pushing to get faster and faster, there were at least 4 or so cycles before 8am. Some cycles were as short as 10 minutes or so. Teams got so many rolls that many of them scratched early leaving the remaining teams with more opportunities for rolls than they knew what to do with. As some idea, the end of the morning had Fringe rolling and on deck at the same time. Teams got so many rolls in today that roads were opened 10 minutes early because the pushers didn’t have the energy to do more roll-arounds.
- With only 10 days left between now and the beginning of Carnival, I think we can safely assume that the two new buggies we’ve met thus far will be the only members of the buggy class of 2012. According to our (imperfect) history of buggy builds, this is an unusually small class, happening only in 1995 and 2005 in recent history.
- Fringe has named their new buggy Bissa and gotten it right up to speed although it’s not yet in its fully finished form. Bissa apparently refers to the Italian snake that eats children, not the west-African ethnicity or Ikea shoe cabinet which are both more prominent in search results. They’ve gotten it up to speed, and at least visually it’s already one of the fastest buggies on the course. It will be interesting to see whether it or Bonsai is featured on their Men’s A lineups during Truck.
- CIA is a big operation, and they’re running it damn smoothly. They had 5 buggies in constant use this weekend and now have 6 drivers qualified for raceday. They tallied 52 rolls as an org just this weekend (the next highest being SDC and Fringe barely breaking 30). One would think that with all that depth we’d see CIA moving up the leaderboard a bit and perhaps challenging Spirit or SigEp. So far though, Orca hasn’t gone even as fast as Ascension, so closing an 8+ second gap to catch Spirit is a lot to ask.
- Apex had the only incident of the weekend (unless we missed any that happened Saturday) when their loaner buggy Insite ended up in the outside bales. They had been going faster, but one observer described their chute line as something like “get 90% of the turn done, straigten out to make sure to use up all the road, then start turning again to stay out of the haybales.” The incident came while Apex was rolling with with CIA’s Freyja for a pass test. The Apex driver completed a flawless pass but seemed to get disoriented after passing and ended up in the bales at a shallow angle. We’ve seen fully-enclosed buggies merely bounce off and still manage a rollout, but Insite burrowed under the first haybale only to find the narrow end of the next haybale in line, which stood its ground and dislocated the hatch, bringing the now un-streamlined buggy to an abrupt near-stop, pushing the useless hatch in front of it. The driver appeared to be fine. Meanwhile, a stop flag was thrown for Freyja who was just hitting the chute flag. The sudden stop caused her to do a 180 before coming to a halt.
- After last week’s highly speculative conversation about the steering geometry on SAE’s Rubicon re-build, Safety Chair Mike Mackin was nice enough to post (with SAE’s permission) a much better picture to inform the debate. Turns out that SAE has things under control (haha, pun!), but we got a great picture of the new design out of it, so I’m glad we bothered to debate it.
- AEPi had familiar looking neon-green wheels on Kamikaze, but that still didn’t help them catch a bagged SN during a pass test. They eventually got the pass in as SN’s driver was stuck waiting on hill 3 for someone to push him, but I don’t think that counts. A sticker on the back confirmed that Kamikaze was sporting a new investment from Zero Error. Hopefully they get the kinks worked out and get their money’s worth out of them.
- SDC joined Spirit at the bottom of hill 1 where they were all doing full or near full Hill ones. SigNu got most of the way down a few times getting some experience on the hill. With SDC down at hill one, Apex jumped on the opportunity to stage a bit closer and moved into the small courtyard space normally covered with a few tarps.
- Spirit is getting ready to repaint all their buggies making differentiation difficult for even the experienced spectator. Can’t wait to see the new scheme.
We’ve got our first times of the semester to help put some precision to our pre-raceday analysis. What we’ve got here are summarized and rounded since the effort in collecting them was put in by a single org. Times were taken from the crosswalk to window 0, and what we have here are ranked by the single fastest roll of the weekend by each org. Fringe is still in the pole position they claimed last spring when Bonsai debuted. SDC’s ~1 second deficit is about what they were working with last year as well which make sense since they’re working with the same hardware. PiKA and SN were neck and neck a bit back which has got to be very encouraging for SN. They haven’t been a regular presence this year, so it’s great that they’ve still got the speed to be in the second chunk of the top tier. They looked solid in the chute too which is reassuring after last year’s crash took them out of it. It’s worth noting how consistent these top teams are; together, they put down more than 40 rolls this weekend that were faster than anything the other 7 orgs could muster. Apex’s presence in the middle of the peleton with SigEp and CIA and ahead of AEPi illustrates how helpful it is to get a loaner buggy. With some half-decent recruiting, they could be far from the bottom in their first year out.
Rank Org Seconds behind fastest 1 Fringe 2 SDC +1 3 PiKA +5 4 SN +5 5 Spirit +9 6 SigEp +12 7 CIA +12 8 Apex +13 9 AEPi +16 10 DeltaForce +17 11 SAE +31
I don’t know about you, but raceday has snuck up on me like crazy this year. This is our last full rolls report of the year, as the next 10 days will be full of special activity and raceday prep. Keep you eyes peeled for the annual unveiling of last year’s raceday videos added to our video archive, our annual lead truck auction, and tons more. A week from today is also when we send out our in-depth Raceday Preview to our supporting members. You can check out past year’s Raceday Previews to confirm that it’s something you don’t want to miss out on. Become a supporting member today by making a gift of any amount (really! any amount, all we need to know is that you care).