If you’re a member you should have found our legendary Members-only Raceday Preview in your inbox by now.  Enjoy it.  If you didn’t get a copy, you should know that it’s not too late.  Join up, forward us the gift receipt to join@cmubuggy, and we’ll hook you up pronto.  If you thought you were a member, maybe we don’t have your email or have it wrong or something, let us know.  Lots of people plan on joining while they’re on campus, but we’ve  got some serious ground to cover to match last year’s membership total, so don’t be shy.

 Lead Truck Auction

Can you believe this is our 4th time putting on the lead truck auction?  It seems like just the other day that we announced the first iteration of our biggest fundraiser of the year.  It continues to be a fan favorite, so we’re back at it again.  If you haven’t ridden in the lead truck before, you should definitely get in the mix and snap up a heat you like the looks of.  If you’re a veteran, you know that it’s a great way to mix up your raceday experience.   Bidding starts tomorrow morning at 9am and will run for 36 hours until 9pm Wednesday.  Full description of the rules can be found on the auction page.  We’ve got a new version of our home-grown auction software this year.  We hope you like it! (and that it doesn’t break!).

Truck weekend

Truck weekend was a fun one.  Two days in the books, with a valiant effort on Sunday to reject the notion that buggies are scared of a little rain.  All 11 orgs were in attendance, so we’ll skip that part and hit some highlights from the weekend.

  • Fringe’s new buggy Bissa was looking closer to finished with a coat of primer on, but must have missed something more basic in the prep because something caused the buggy to stop steering just after the chute flag.  She ended up rejecting the chute turn entirely and passed between the end of the bales and the barricades that block off the bridge.  There was no impact at all, but spy shots posted on cmubuggy revealed a wheel sans tire on the left side.  Bissa was back out on Sunday rolling well, so damage was either minor or quickly repaired.
  • When I first saw the roads at 7am on Sunday, I didn’t think there was any way rolls would happen.  The rain passed early in the evening, but the air was humid and things weren’t drying too quickly.  Sweepstakes kept the faith and the teams enthusiastically backed the committee up entertaining themselves at hill 1 and sending crews to the chute with saw dust, brooms, leaf blowers, and moxy.  Around 8, the pavement was definitely still not dry, but it was deemed dry enough.  Spirit and SDC were the first two rolls and as standard tryke teams always getting attention for their close-to-spinning style, I thought for sure we were moments from some real fireworks.  Drivers got a real feel for their steering as they slid through the turn, often making 2 or three corrections, but for the most part they kicked ass.  SN got credit for the only spin of the day and it was a well controlled affair coming to a clean 180 right in the middle of the road.  Afterwards, Mike the driver got out and helped put his own buggy in the trunk.
  • I tried to keep an eye on which buggies teams were giving to their A teams while we tested the timing system on Saturday.  Fringe seems to be sticking with Bonsai, and PiKA was running Raptor as A-team with its new tiny wheels.  SDC might be making a switch, rolling Bane (2011) with their biggest looking dudes after Malice (2009) was A team last year.
  • I think that there are way fewer cases of borderline qualification this year compared to recent years.  As far as I know, AEPi’s second buggy, Zephyrus, is the only buggy attempting to qualify that came up short, and only by a couple of rolls.  Everyone got their pass tests in and the weather held when it needed to.
  • PiKA wasn’t being shy about checking the temperature of their new small wheels on Raptor with an infrared thermometer before and after their rolls.  Nothing wrong with a little heat on the wheels, that’s for sure, and I’m always a fan of good data collection.
  • SAE’s reverse-tryke-ification of Rubicon is definitely a conversational favorite around the course, but it seems to be a fun buggy to operate too.  The driver and mechanics treat it like a invincible big brother, loading in in the 1-2 transition moments before the roll, riding on top of the buggy back down the hill, anything goes!  So far it’s been slower than I expected for a reasonable looking design with solid implementation on xootrs, but they’ll figure that out in due time.

Heat Selection

Heats were selected on Sunday night and Raceday 2012 starts with a 16 heat schedule featuring 11 orgs and  48 teams (27 mens, 21 womens) which is a remarkably stable number considering how much turmoil there has been in the ranks.  Last year we had  49 (29 mens, 20 womens), and 10 years ago we had 47.  With six D teams this year (including a first ever two for the women) we are seeing a bit of a trend towards more teams from fewer orgs, but nothing too dramatic.

Other pre-raceday thrills

Compubookie came out this morning in the Tartan as tradition requires.  Check it out here if you’re into buggy commentary by someone who can only be bothered to fill you in once a year :).

cmuTV published a raceday promo video that went pretty viral on facebook over the weekend, racking up over 1,100 views in less than 2 days.  If you haven’t caught it yet, now’s your chance to get psyched and watch buggy with a dramatic soundtrack.

26 thoughts on “Truck weekend mini-report and Raceday hype”

  • From what I hear, AEPi’s Zephyrus was actually several rolls short of qualifying, with 5 or 6 rolls TOTAL with the raceday driver in that buggy all year. For a buggy that made an appearance two mornings in the entire year, that isn’t very surprising. What does surprise me a lot is that the sweepstakes committee let it come to discussion to grant an exemption for Zephyrus from the qualification requirements (apparently the safety chair prefaced the discussion with ‘I don’t consider this a safety issue’ as well, and naturally the exemption was granted).

    If this is going to happen right after the big incident last year, why exactly are there qualification requirements? It’s not like they were rained out and just missed making the cutoff, or it was an ancient buggy who couldn’t make a pass test after multiple tries – the buggy was rarely out in two years, and barely garnered half of the required rolls. Assuming the sweepstakes roll count is right, she garnered exactly half of the required rolls. So what is the cutoff? Can a new driver qualify with 4 rolls? 3? Maybe it is time for a rulebook that separates exactly which rules and punishments are enforced and which aren’t, because the precedent recently is that all written rules are subject to change after the fact, if the chairmen collectively feel like it, and it’s going to cause an issue if down the road a rule IS followed.

    The argument made at the meeting, by the way, was ‘Come on, Zephyrus is slow, and half my pushers will be sad if they can’t push’.

    • Just to start a nice pre-raceday debate: they were only 3 rolls short of properly qualifying, and had done a pass test. Yes some of those qualifying rolls happened in another buggy, but the rules/official qualification status spreadsheet says that this IS ALLOWED. Saying she only had “half of the required rolls” makes it sound like she was far away from properly qualifying, when I’m fairly certain that wasn’t actually the case. If you were questioning the actual ruling that allows some qualifying rolls to include rolls in a non-raceday buggy, maybe this isn’t the place for it (or picking on AEPi isn’t the best way to go about that).

      As a driver, I feel like the pass test is the most important part of qualifying, outside of general making sure every driver is comfortable with their buggy and the coures. My understanding is that their driver did both. Additionally, weather may not have been what kept Zephyrus from showing up more that it did, but the driver got sick. That happens. Penalizing a whole team that made a good effort and isn’t likely to cause any safety issues for themselves OR other people just because a driver was sick on day of rolls seems mean. Not to mention, no one else actually spoke up as having any issue with this. If someone had a problem, they should have said something at the meeting–if you were there and didn’t that’s *your* problem, and if you’ve just heard it through people in your org, then you should talk to *them* about bringing up those concerns.

      I’m assuming you mean well for buggy overall, and truly do have everyone’s safety at heart with your comment, but it just comes off as unnecessarily sarcastic and mean. I trust the safety chair and mechanics who have built/seen the actual workings of the buggy in question to be able to judge if it is in fact safe enough to roll it with a slightly-less-than-technically-qualified driver. I probably sound meaner than I need to here, and I’m sorry for that. I just feel that someone has to make the point, and I’m bad at writing in such a way to both argue a point and do it nicely. Sorry about that.

      • I said it only slightly wrong – according to what I understand the situation to be… she got about half the rolls she needs in that particular buggy, not total. Half counts the five taken off from time spent in other buggies. And yes, getting sick on truck weekend is pretty lame, but having one appearance for the entire rest of the year is what torpedoed that effort, not a missed day late in the year.

        And as much as I enjoy picking on my old team, no, I would be arguing this for any team after last year. It is a bad rule to exclude. Apparently all the buggy people agree that qualification requirements are good, and valid in proving experience; what exactly makes that not the case recently? And the question is valid – exactly how few is still acceptable? If five rolls is enough for a buggy driver combo, make it five then. If it’s ten, leave it as ten. Close enough shouldn’t count for practical experience any more than it does for teams that fail drops on raceday. As it stands, if a competitive team comes closer and misses qualifying up the road, denying their exemption against this habit would say that the rules just don’t matter as much if you aren’t a finalist contender.

      • In Zatchmo’s defense on this point (and I’m sure he will come to his own defense if he so chooses), he has seen (and rebuilt?) the inner workings of Zephyrus. Considering the mechanical problems that Zephyrus has had throughout its career, I’m not sure how comfortable I feel with a driver with very limited experience in it. Kamikaze is a much better, easier buggy to drive, and even years of experience in Zephyrus often causes unnecessary “excitement” to a buggy chair (or, in my case, a past buggy chair).

        As AEPi is my organization, I am obviously happy that we will be rolling a second team on raceday (though my disappointment in that second buggy being Zephyrus, as opposed to a modified and stable Aether, should be noted). But as a broader fan of Sweepstakes, I’m a little concerned by this decision. While some of the rolls were from Kamikaze, and they certainly count, they only count towards the 15 total rolls required for new drivers. The rules still require 10 rolls in the buggy/driver combo. I heard that she got 2 on Sunday, and I’m not sure how many rolls Sam missed on April Fools Day by sleeping through his alarm, but he couldn’t have missed too many, so I will guess that she got 4 in on April 1. That makes 6 of the 10 (though if you say it was 7 of the 10, I’ll believe you).

        My problem with this, and my slight embarrassment as an AEPi alum who cares way too much about AEPi buggy, is that there were 9 days of rolls this semester. Zephyrus was out for 2 of them. Yes, she might have been sick on Saturday, but what about April 8? What about March 25? And better yet, what about February 18, March 3, March 4, or April 7, which were days when AEPi chose not to roll? The facts that, going into truck weekend, Zephyrus still needed 6 rolls is disconcerting, because even with both days full of rolls, 6 is on the upper end of what a team can expect. My concern is similar to Zatchmo’s – Where is the line? Can an org wait until truck weekend to make their first appearance of the Spring, get 7 rolls in, and qualify (with 8 carried over from the Fall)?

        The argument that Zephyrus is slow is admittedly one I have used before, to get Camo qualified. But I would like to think that exception worked because Camo had enough rolls but couldn’t get a pass test completed, after we tried 4 times (bags were not allowed on the buggy being passed). But beyond that, I made sure to specify that we would be willing to hold Camo back, and take a 10 second “penalty” at the beginning of the race, to ensure that Camo did not interfere with any other buggy in the heat. So the argument that was that Camo would never need to pass anyone anyway. Of course, that year was the year that Camo was up against Envy, and Envy’s brakes activated pre-chute, causing it to come to a complete stop in the middle of the chute. The end result was that had Camo been about 3 seconds faster, it would have needed to pass the stopped buggy.

        I guess what I’m trying to say is that while I’m happy that AEPi will have a B team this year, I am concerned about the overall impact of this decision on buggy in the future.

        Also, I would like to see AEPi out at rolls more often. And for god sakes, bring a tent!

        • 1) Apologies for the length. It was longer than I thought.

          2) I rewatched the Camo-Envy race from 2008. We could have passed if we were 1 second faster, not 3. Also, I love the video section to cmubuggy! I’ve been watching videos all day to get myself psyched for this weekend.

          Also, “And AEPi has caught up!” (from that race) is my second favorite race call ever, bested only by the 2007 AEPi Men’s A race where, at the Hill 2 push-off, the announcer said “And AEPi is ACTUALLY in 2nd place!” A close third is the AEPi 2009 Men’s A, where the announcer explains that there is a technology gap between PiKA and AEPi, and 30 seconds later PiKA ends up in the bales as AEPi zooms past. Though the pit crew commentary that year was also very good.

          In other words…More mentioning of AEPi in the race calls!

          • I wasn’t there, and I am biased, but I feel that just about anyone would enjoy the 2009 heat when CIA Men’s C passed Beta A in the free roll and finished only 13 seconds behind the frat, all while wearing suits.

    • Chances of spin or impact are slightly higher than a spontaneous propane tank leak. Spirit of buggy doesn’t actually come up in the rules for a pretty decent reason.

    • Good. We look forward to seeing you guys next raceday too, with a fancy new buggy of your own design/build.

    • I thought the same thing when I read that, and I was confused. But as I thought more about it, I figured maybe Compubookie means 1 raceday this year, as opposed to 2 (in other words, that you won’t make second raceday). I think Compubookie is well-informed enough to know that you guys are building (or at least have plans to start building soon), and it would be unlikely that a team would build with the ultimate goal of never racing again.

      Regardless, you should ignore Compubookie. Go Apex!

  • Gotta say, I’m with Zatch on this one. Previous exemptions have been granted because it was an issue for many orgs not just one. Also the issue was that the orgs were missing one or two rolls, not half. AEPi had plenty of chances to bring out Zephyrus this year and didn’t.

    In this situation, the fact that she is slow is irrelevant since they did not put in any effort to get her qualified until the last minute. What I see is that they clearly aren’t taking the qualification requirements seriously. And if their pushers would be so sad, have them push an exhibition, that’s what they’re there for.

    I would be much more forgiving if they showed ANY effort earlier in the year to get her qualified.

    • I don’t know my compubookie history, but maybe they/someone else will post here anonymously to fix that? Spirit needs its one liner.

      • compubookie relies on old information, has a rather lousy win/loss ratio and generally tries to rile everyone by being a jerk. Famous for not picking Pika (incentivizing?), denegrating SN and ignoring KDR.

        Spirit: Cheering for making it through the chute is so 2011

  • Was the required number of rolls increased at some point in time? These numbers sound high compared to what I recall from my day. There were a lot more teams / buggies blowing stuff off and just getting in under the wire then. If I had to call it I think it was 6 rolls in buggy with one being a pass test.

    I’m not calling for a free-for-all but to me the number of rolls coupled with the increasingly draconian penalties for not doing duties is one reason there are many fewer teams. IIRC in the mid-80’s there were 17 full men’s heats.

    • The requires now are 10 for a returning driver (but 5 can carry over from the fall, so only 5 are needed in the Spring), and 15 for a new driver (with up to 8 carrying over). There is also a 10 rolls for the buggy/driver combo requirement, though the rules do not specify a fall/spring breakdown.

      This is Rule 10.5.1.

    • I semi-agree. It seems like the current safety benefit of these rules is that is stops fast teams from shooting themselves in the foot by bringing out a new buggy on truck weekend with pressure to go fast before shaking down mechanical issues.
      If qualification requirements were lower, we might see more teams like, say, Beta, show up late, with push teams fast enough to get their inexperienced driver ahead of a more experienced B team, and then take out both of them in a crash.

  • There is no magic safe/unsafe number.
    A crash hurts the same, whether you do it on raceday or in a practice. Not all crashes are caused by the driver. So if your driver has mastered her slow buggy, how does giving her 3 more chances for something to go wrong improve her safety?

    • Have to agree with Shafeeq, 3 more rolls isnt really going to do more in a buggy that’s moving as slow as Zephyrus is going to be moving. Spirit of buggy says let em roll as long as they don’t pose a danger to other buggies in the heat. AEPi has a solid mechanics core that will make sure that buggy is safe to roll.

      Also have to thank Connor for the vote of confidence in SigNu’s rolling prowess, best of luck to Apex on raceday.

  • Sweepstakes has never and is not consistent in its rulings. Half of the safety rules are subject to the safety chair’s discretion. This is not to attack the safety chair but to argue that this leaves room for variation from year to year.

    Make the rule book clear and stand by the decisions based on the rules. In this case, if we constantly change the rules why don’t we just change the rulebook to match the rulings?

    And I hate pity votes regarding rules. If AEPi did not make the cut for rolls, they didn’t make it. Change the rules if you want it another way. In fact, I think rules should be changed so teams are more willing to particpate in buggy but not at the sacrifice of picking and choosing which rules to follow.

    • You seem a bit sour. Also I count 7 org’s featured.

      CIA (All 5 rolling buggies)
      Sig Ep (Peregrine, Barracuda)
      SDC (Bane, Malice, Rage)
      PiKA (Raptor)
      AEPi (Kamikaze)
      Fringe (Bonsai, Borealis, Bedlam)
      Spirit (One of the Quantum Leap copies)

      Missing: APEX, Delts, SAE, Sig Nu
      (All teams missing are only rolling a single buggy)
      (Hell Apex’s driver’s interview was featured. I feel included.)

      2/3’s of all rolling buggies were featured in this 3min preview. I for one am impressed.

      I also feel obligated to defend cmuTV who dedicates a ton of resources and manpower to helping us each year, nobody asked them to make a preview video.

  • my predictions
    lack of truck week data and push times makes this a wild guess but here goes.

    spirit b vs pka a is the heat to watch. Spirit will know their A team results already and may be able to open things up a bit with their B roll. Should be fun. The auction has become too rich for me on that one.

    sig ep A vs fringe b could also be fun. Fringe looks to have 2 capable buggies this year and thus the b team gets a boost. However, If the real sig ep shows up and rolls like the bosses they were in 2009, then their pushers will be enough to keep them ahead after a close race to driveway.

    I do not know enough about push teams to pick a winner between SDC and FRINGE. If both are mistake free then everyone else if fighting for 4th or higher. SDC’s depth gives them the edge methinks but it will be close.

    PKA recovers from 2 years of disaster, dead heat vs. sig ep for fraternal glory

    Spirit: masters the chute but gives up too much time in the roll, B team may beat A team but not because of any tricks with the push teams.

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