Midsemester Break – No Rolls, New Rules?

With many students using the break to visit home and see their family, there were no rolls this weekend. The students that stayed on campus got the chance to sleep in, relax, and work more on buggy than they otherwise would.

Since there were no rolls this weekend, it seems like the perfect chance to talk about the other side of Sweepstakes. And while rumors are flying of new buggies being built, that can maybe be better served for when we actually start seeing them on the course. Instead, lets talk about the rules and what’s going on with them.

Next Rules Committee Meeting:

This Wednesday 10/24

From 9pm to 10pm

Location TBD

Starting a few years ago, the rules were brought under some scrutiny as teams complained that strict rules were preventing new teams from joining or putting down teams that did well. Many alumni cringe at the thought of revisiting the rules, but it seems fair to say that the rules are in need of some updates.

Josh Hixon has continued the rules committee meetings that began two years ago under Chris Shellhamer. While little progress was made when the committee began, good conversations were had and the students weren’t light on the potential consequences of minor tweaks. Many changes that were proposed dealt with how weekends and raceday were organized as the old rules were designed around the old systems. Aside from those small changes many of the safety rules were discussed, but no action was taken before the end of the year.

This year, there has already been one meeting with the second coming up this week. All local alumni are invited to join this Wednesday at CMU from 9pm to 10pm. The location is currently TBD but will be sent out as soon as it is known. So far there have been many topics discussed, but I don’t know what they are (since I wasn’t able to attend the first one). From hearsay I understand that a few safety issues were discussed, particularly the helmet rules v. teams compliance to them, and a few other safety tests that were discussed from the original meetings.

I ask that those that were at the meeting to help out and fill us in on the current status of these Rules Meetings.

4 thoughts on “Midsemester Break – No Rolls, New Rules?”

  • Josh here to speak directly to what was discussed last meeting. Since last meeting was the first meeting, it was mainly about what we want to accomplish with what would be the first major revision to the bylaws since 2009. Essentially, we are pursuing two main goals First, we want to go through the administrative processes and the procedures for practices and raceday to make sure what is stated in the bylaws is an accurate representation of how, through precedents set by previous Sweepstakes committees, those things are actually done, especially without so much reliance on the “up to the Sweepstakes Chairman/Safety Chair’s discretion” clause. Secondly, we want to add clarity to buggy specification sections and change the language to better reflect current buggy construction, specifically the use of the term “protective cage”. We just want the bylaws to become a more functional document then they currently are, something easier to use and easier to enforce.

    As far as helmets go, the conversation was basically that the standards listed for approved helmets are out-dated.

    Tentatively, this weeks meeting will be in UC McKenna, that’s what I reserved, still waiting for confirmation

  • While the protective cage rule has issues and may seem oddly written, It was clear enough to be applied to composite buggies of that era. They were not all that different from the ones built today. http://cmubuggy.org/gallery/1980s/bachi_001

    If one thinks “shell” in place of cage, the rest of it works as well (or not) as it ever did. The rules are a shot at trying to say: the driver should have some structure that provides protection during an accident with stationary (cars, trees, parking meters…) and non stationary objects (other buggies, cows, bikes). This idea is hard to put into rule form and thus, the rules that were written. One would have trouble imagining a car’s bumper or a tree or another buggy (3 things commonly available on the course) from getting to the driver if built to the cage’s requirements.

    The point was, the following real world buggy examples from pre-1987 were bad ideas:

    a buggy that ended at the rear axle with the drivers feet sticking out the back (ex spirit’s elan rolled this way for most of a year)
    a buggy where the driver’s head extended beyond/above the front structure. http://cmubuggy.org/gallery/1980s/29701_1120025498594_1765742974_229773_2661414_n
    a buggy that was built on a pan with minimal side structure. http://cmubuggy.org/gallery/1980s/whitelightning
    a buggy with no shell http://cmubuggy.org/gallery/1970s/leroy_chute
    a naked bike http://cmubuggy.org/gallery/1970s/Arnold-1972

    I believe you can meet all of the cage rules if you take care in how you cut your hatches in a modern design ( and keep the driver’s hands low) . There are some who believe that the front hatch can count as part of the cage. I disagree, given the evidence of hatches coming loose or not being properly attached. Clarifying that in the rules might be a good place to start.


  • Monday is not the same without the rolls report. Curse this weather! (Although looking at the east coast, we could be having a lot worse right now)

    To provide a tidbit of buggy information, snapshots of the Apex buggy in progressing stages of construction keep appearing on Facebook. We may see them out in the fall after all.

  • Unfortunate news: Apex will not be rolling this weekend. We had a supplier that was backed up because of Sandy and could not get us what we needed to install the push bar. We could not come up with an alternative solution that we felt comfortable with, so we have decided to put our return to the course off for one more week. We will be rolling next weekend though so long as the weather holds!

Comments are closed.